A fresh approach to Australia Day across the MidCoast
In a first for the region and a coup for the local community, the MidCoast will come together as one to celebrate Australia Day 2020 as part of the renowned Saltwater Freshwater Festival.
MidCoast Council Mayor, David West today met with Saltwater Freshwater organisers to announce the exciting partnership, which will bring an all-inclusive showcase of the region’s Aboriginal culture to next year’s region-wide Australia Day celebration.
The nomadic festival, which is held in different NSW mid north coast locations each Australia Day, will celebrate its 10th anniversary when it takes place in Forster next year. Kicking off the event on 26 January, MidCoast Council will host both a Citizenship Ceremony and present the region’s 2020 Australia Day Awards.
“We’re excited to combine our annual Australia Day celebration with something much larger that the whole community can enjoy”, explained Mayor West. “The Saltwater Freshwater Festival is well-known across the entire mid north coast as a positive and inclusive celebration that shares authentic Aboriginal culture with the wider community”.
An exciting line-up of activities and entertainment will follow the official Australia Day program, including Elders storytelling, live music, bush tucker tours, and cultural workshops such as weaving, language and canoe-making.
Chris Spencer, Saltwater Freshwater general manager explained this is the first time the festival has been held on Worimi land.
“The MidCoast region enjoys a rich Aboriginal heritage, so we’re thrilled to be able to celebrate the traditional culture of the Worimi and neighbouring Biripi people”, Chris said. “Each year the festival has gone from strength to strength and we have a team of dedicated people already working hard to bring joy, inspiration and a meaningful event to the MidCoast”.
More information about the Forster event will be made available later in the year.
“In the meantime, we’ll soon be calling for Australia Day Awards nominations from across the entire region”, Mayor West added. “This is a great way to publicly acknowledge our local heroes, so now’s the time to start thinking about those people within our community whose contributions have made a real difference, or whose achievements deserve recognition”.
While official celebrations for Australia Day are being consolidated to recognise the MidCoast as a unified region, local community groups are encouraged, and supported by Council, to host their own local activities. Information relating to Awards nominations and activities being held across the region will be published on Council’s website as it becomes available.
Saltwater Freshwater Festival, an initiative of Saltwater Freshwater Arts Alliance (SWFW), has attracted in excess of 50,000 attendees since 2010 and has engaged the talents and skills of more than 300 volunteers, providing valuable opportunities to the community to be involved as festival workshop facilitators, artists, performers or volunteers.
The Festival is made possible through the generous support of its partners and volunteers. If your business or organisation is interested in partnering with next year’s Festival in Forster, please contact SWFW General Manager Chris Spencer on 0428 002 313.
For more information about SWFW, visit www.saltwaterfreshwater.com.au