Saltwater Freshwater

Festival

Australia Day 2019Coffs Harbour Botanical Gardens

The annual Saltwater Freshwater Festival, which falls on Australia Day, is a unique and much-loved event that attracts a broad spectrum of the Mid North Coast community – Aboriginal, non-Aboriginal, youngsters to Elders.

Giinagay and welcome

Showcasing arts & culture

The Festival’s mission is to celebrate and share authentic Aboriginal living culture with the wider community and commemorate Australia Day as a positive, inclusive family day for all communities to enjoy.

The only Aboriginal cultural festival of its kind in regional NSW, it is a true showcase of local culture, skills, music, dance, art, lifestyle and culinary talent. Guests include local Elders, and musicians including Troy Cassar-Daley.

Among its goals is to pass on Aboriginal cultural knowledge to the region’s youth. The Festival is also about creating a platform for Aboriginal performers, artists and businesses and unearths the rich, diverse and thriving Goori culture here on the Mid North Coast. The Festival has received strong support from the corporate, government and private sectors as well as the local community.

“When a festival like SWFW comes to Kempsey, it gives so much harmony to the community, and the community comes out in force.”

Uncle David Kelly

“It’s a great bridge-builder. It’s a great way for people to stop fearing things and start getting a little understanding of them. The more you understand something the less you fear it. Being acknowledged is one thing we all strive for, black or white – even just a hello, no matter what colour your skin is, is the first step towards reconciliation.”

Troy Cassar-Daley

“I’ve always dreamed of people getting along, I’ve written songs about it all my life. To see it in action is really really cool. When you get to SWFW it’s actually happening. Pride is the only word I can lay my tongue to.”

Troy Cassar-Daley

“It reassures us that we have a sense of community, that we’re all together and we should be supporting one another. It reminds us that we should do this more often.”

festival 2014 attendee

“It was an all-in – everyone felt like they were part of it. We had Indigenous and non-Indigenous people sitting next to each other enjoying the same thing, even though they’re different they all want and they need the same thing. I mean – we don’t need rhythm the way you guys do (thanks for getting the joke!)”

Festival attendee

Want to perform?

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Our Festival is a unique cultural gathering that requires partners to bring all of the community together on Australia Day

Stallholders

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The Festival's History

The first Festival, in Coffs Harbour in 2010, attracted 12,000 people. It continues to build its audience, with the overwhelming response to the day being one of appreciation for the opportunity to experience such an incredible day of cultural celebration and inclusiveness.

As one punter wrote, “Thank you for making Australia Day meaningful again.” Indigenous festivals make a significant impact on Aboriginal communities, positively affecting community well-being, resilience and capacity; developing local leadership; and stimulating cultural and economic initiatives.

Festival History

2011 Coffs Harbour

2012 Kempsey

2013 Port Macquarie

2014 Taree