2013 Winter Festival – NAIDOC Dunghutti

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Aboriginal art and culture was the centrepiece of the Saltwater Freshwater Festival 2013 NAIDOC program in Kempsey.

The cultural practices of weaving, language, dance and textile arts were showcased throughout the week by talented Mid North Coast region artists, performers and cultural workers. In collaboration with the Kempsey NAIDOC Committee, the Saltwater Freshwater Cultural Programs team assisted in developing and delivering the committee’s community-based NAIDOC program whilst running additional cultural elements throughout the week.

Throughout the week, Saltwater Freshwater partnered with ABC Mid North Coast to air ‘Language on the Radio’, a series of lessons in the Dunghutti language of the Macleay Valley region. The segment aired every morning during NAIDOC week with Aunty Esther Quinlin teaching simple phrases and words, creating greater awareness of the movement to revitalise Aboriginal languages, and inspiring local Aboriginal people to learn the language of their nation.

On the Wednesday of NAIDOC Week, the Saltwater Freshwater precinct at the Burrun Dalai Fun Day was a place for hands-on participation with Aboriginal arts and culture. Weaving workshops ran running throughout the day, offering the opportunity to learn a traditional cultural practice of our Mid North Coast region.

Also featured at the Fun Day in the Saltwater Freshwater precinct was Marruma Wutu Gila (Make Plenty Aunty), a new textile arts enterprise developed by Kempsey women who participated in stitching workshops run by Saltwater Freshwater in 2012. A range of works, including bags, cushions, aprons and other handicrafts were on display and available for sale.

SWFW NAIDOC sponsors were present at the event, each with their own branded table within the main SWFW tent. The SWFW tent was well attended throughout the day giving the Cultural programs team many opportunities to engage with the local community and promote the Saltwater Freshwater Festival.

There was dancing in the streets of Kempsey on the Thursday of NAIDOC Week, as 20 young Aboriginal dancers from the Mid North Coast performed flash mobs as part of the Saltwater Freshwater Festival NAIDOC program. The sound of clap-sticks, heralded the start of (Our) Flash Mob, a six minute performance blending traditional Aboriginal, contemporary and hip-hip dance moves. (Our) Flash Mob appeared at several high profile locations in Kempsey during NAIDOC Week, including: the Clyde Street Mall, the Kempsey Shire Council courtyard, the Kempsey Centrelink office and the Burrun Dalai Family Fun Day.

To crown a great week of art and culture, the NAIDOC Week Awards & Celebration Ball was held on the Saturday of NAIDOC Week. Building on the successful 2012 awards ceremony, in collaboration with the Kempsey NAIDOC committee, Saltwater Freshwater ran an evening of community awards, sit-down dinner and entertainment. The NAIDOC Ball saw performances by the Saltwater Freshwater Dancers and (Our) Flash Mob, as the heroes of the Kempsey Aboriginal community were recognised for their contribution in the last twelve months.


  • Delivered a range of cultural activities across NAIDOC week
  • Worked in collaboration with the Kempsey NAIDOC committee
  • 81% of people employed on the project were Aboriginal
  • 93% of the people employed on the project were local to the Mid North Coast
  • 6 (Our) Flash Mob performances at a range of locations around Kempsey
  • 14 Kempsey NAIODC Committee meetings attended
  • Project management templates provided to the Kempsey NAIDOC committee
  • 29 Aboriginal dancers involved throughout the week


  • Showcasing of Aboriginal cultural activities to the wider community
  • Created greater awareness of the movement to revitalise Aboriginal languages
  • Mentoring provided for local Aboriginal weaving workshop facilitator
  • Kempsey NAIDOC committee members mentored in project management skills
  • Built relationships with local Kempsey organisations
  • Documentation of cultural activities throughout NAIDOC week
  • Professional development opportunities for Aboriginal contractors
  • Opportunity for youth dancers to perform to a variety large audiences


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