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Saltwater Freshwater Festival 2018

Saltwater Freshwater Festival Media Release 2018

(Our) Flash Mob in the Koori Mail

Saltwater Freshwater Cultural Camp in the Koori Mail | August 2014

Saltwater Freshwater Cultural Camp 2014

The second Saltwater Freshwater Cultural Camp held on Worimi country on July 2, 3 and 4 has once again demonstrated the power of culture to inspire, connect and empower our young people. Twenty youth aged 15-18 from the Biripi and Worimi nations came together at Camp Elim in Forster NSW to spend three days to learn a new (Our) Flash Mob Dance and connect with local and regional cultural leaders, performers, artists and Elders.

These young people ranged from Karuah in the south, to Dungog in the west, and Taree in the north, but in their shared experience of culture, formed fast friendships. Three young peer mentors, Myah Peters, Kylie Ellis and Joel Stocks, who had attended the 2013 Cultural Camp, also came down from Dunghutti country to support the new camp participants in learning the dance. The focus of the camp was dance, as dance facilitators Jo Clancy, Steven Donovan, Wayne Paulson and Octivia Paulson (Munro) worked with the young participants and ran daily dance rehearsals across two days at the venue, as well as on the beach in the stunning Bootie Bootie National Park. These young dancers were challenged to not only explore dance, but take on leadership roles, develop personal discipline and work as a team.

Cultural workshops were also held throughout the camp including Gathang language around the campfire on the beach with Jay Davis; spear throwing and bush tucker walk with Aaron Taylor from Worimi Land Council; girls weaving with Worimi women Aunty Lynette Davis, Pauline Grothkopp and Denise York; boys didgeridoo with Steve Donovan; and painting with Lee Townsend.

The culmination of the camp was a performance for family, community and Elders, followed by a bush tucker lunch. Five young people were also selected to attend the NAISDA state camp in September this year. This camp can be a key step towards a dance career – Myah Peters was selected for the 2013 NAISDA camp, and was then offered a place at the college, to follow her dream of being a professional dancer.

One of the dancers selected was Charity-Faith-Hope Booker, from Taree. “It was the most amazing experience, meeting new people who taught us not just to respect our culture and our land, but also to respect ourselves as an individual.”

Following the camp, the youth participants came together during NAIDOC Week to form (Our) Flash Mob. Travelling together across two days, they surprised audiences with deadly dancing in Karuah; on the beach and at Stocklands Mall in Forster; and in Taree, in front of a huge community audience at the NAIDOC Fun Day, outside Radio Ngarralinyi on the main street and the Taree Central Shopping Centre.

This project was run by Saltwater Freshwater Arts Alliance, which works to position Aboriginal Art & Culture as the foundation for the long-term social, economic & environmental development of the Mid North Coast Aboriginal communities. It was made possible by the Australian Government’s Regional Arts Fund, which supports sustainable cultural development in regional, rural and remote Australia to give artists and communities better access to opportunities to practice and experience the arts.

Storylines Lifelines: A Bellingen Readers & Writers Festival event


Monday 9th June 2014 @ North Farm, North Bellingen


Guunumba ‘Bring to Life’

Time: 9:30am – 12:30pm 


Saltwater Freshwater Arts Alliance supported by Arts NSW created the Guunumba Project in 2013, bringing together local Aboriginal Elder, writer and poet, Aunty Bea Ballangarry with 3 emerging Aboriginal writers from the Mid North Coast of NSW to create contemporary Aboriginal stories.


Following great success at the recent Saltwater Freshwater Festival in Kempsey, Joan McDonald, Eden Davis and Lee Townsend will share their stories with you; stories embedded with cultural meaning.  They will have you smiling, laughing, crying and reflecting on our local, thriving and diverse Aboriginal culture.


‘As soon as I heard the stories I knew I was listening to legends in the making.’
Aunty Bea


With Aunty Bea Ballangarry, Aunty Joan McDonald, Eden Davis, Lee Townsend.


Country Speaks

Time: 2:00 pm – 5:00 pm
With Yolŋu authors Merrkiyawuy Ganambarr, Djawundil Maymuru, local Gumbaynggir elder Aunty Shaa Smith and Neeyan Smith, and human geographers Sarah Wright, Sandie Suchet-Pearson and Kate Lloyd.


In this special workshop, join two Yolŋu women from Arnhem Land, two Gumbaynggir women from Gumbaynggir Country, and three non-Indigenous women as they share stories from their lives and of their Countries.This group of women will lead a workshop that encourages participants to open their minds to the smells, textures, tastes, fears, joys, dreams, and sounds of Country. This workshop reconnects participants with the embodied, sensory experiences involved in writing and reading, in being and becoming.Drawing inspiration from the Aboriginal Yolŋu owners of northeast Arnhem Land and Gumbaynggir owners of Bellingen we immerse ourselves the sensory experiences of being-in-place and how these exceed the reading or writing of written words. We recognise how these experiences place people within a network of connections, connections which require our attention and care.


Bookings essential


Cost is $35 (full price) and $30 (concession) per session OR $60 (full price) and $50 (concession) for both sessions, this includes delicious morning/afternoon tea.

North Farm, 165 Hydes Creek Rd, Bellingen NSW


Guunumba: Bring to Life | Writers Retreat

Saltwater Freshwater Arts Alliance Aboriginal Corporation is calling for Expressions of Interest (EOI) from emerging Aboriginal writers on the Mid North Coast of NSW for our Storytelling to Design Project:

Guunumba: Bring to Life

“What kind of Ancestor do I want to be? I want to be an Ancestor who can pass on Legends; to be able to give emerging writers the way to see story in what they see so that they in turn can pass on Legends. In other words ‘bring to life’ a perpetual Legend lineage”

Aunty Bea Ballangarry

Aunty Bea Ballangarry, Gumbaynggirr Elder, writer and poet, will work with a group of emerging Aboriginal writers from the Mid North Coast of NSW to develop contemporary Aboriginal stories. Just like traditional stories, these stories will be embedded with cultural values and life lessons. Through a number of workshops the participants will build their capacity to continue writing Aboriginal cultural stories. An experienced writer will also be engaged to assist Aunty Bea and the emerging writers to develop their stories and assist with the editing process.

The successful participants will need to be available for 2 x 3 day workshops at North Farm in Bellingen on the following dates: 18 – 20 October 2013 and 15 – 17 November 2013.

This professional development opportunity is free of charge to the successful applicants.

The new stories will form the basis for the Saltwater Freshwater Arts Alliance program development over the coming years, with the stories being interpreted in different artistic mediums such as dance, music, theatre, digital media and design.

Please include the following:

  • CV with current address, phone number and email address
  • 2 samples of your writing ie; poetry, prose or a short story
  • A one page letter outlining your reasons for wanting to participate in this project. You can include:
  • Your passion for writing and how you started writing
  • How you see this opportunity accelerating your writing career
  • Your future goals for writing
  • An indication of what kind of themes you would like to see explored
  • Confirmation of your Aboriginality (community of origin etc.)
  • Confirmation of your availability for the specified dates for the 2 writing retreats

This will be a competitive process and only (up to) 4 applicants will be selected for the program

Please email your submission to [email protected] or post to attention to Jane Tavener; Saltwater Freshwater Arts Alliance, PO Box 703, Coffs Harbour NSW 2450

Applications close Monday 16 September 2013 5pm

Download this as a PDF

Saltwater Freshwater Dance Project in Coffs Coast Advocate

Saltwater Freshwater Newsletter – October 2012

Birpai Canoe Revival in Camden Haven Courier

Kempsey Canoe Project in the Brunei Times

Kempsey Canoe Project in Macleay Argus

Kempsey Canoe Project in Koori Mail

Koori mail - Kempsey Canoes

Creating opportunity through culture

Tania Major, GenerationOne spokesperson and Young Australian of the Year

Tania Major, GenerationOne spokesperson and Young Australian of the Year

Today, GenerationOne announces its major sponsorship of the 2011 Saltwater Freshwater Festival to be held on Australia Day in Port Macquarie.  Following this week’s research findings by RMIT University, that cultural festivals improve the wellbeing of Aboriginal Australian communities, the partnership makes good sense.

Last year’s inaugural festival exceeded all expectations with over 12,000 people in attendance. Tania Major, GenerationOne spokesperson and Young Australian of the Year is looking forward to attending the Festival and meeting with locals, especially young people.

This festival is so important for the GenerationOne movement, to not only engage and empower Australians but to promote and support the local businesses, schools and the Festival itself which is a celebration of the local community and culture.”

GenerationOne is a grass roots movement to bring all Australians together to end the disparity between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians in one generation – this generation.  One of the key benefits of the Saltwater Freshwater Festival, which celebrates the Aboriginal communities of the mid north coast of NSW, is not just the celebration of culture with the wider community but the opportunities it affords the Aboriginal communities.

“At the inaugural Saltwater Freshwater Festival held in Coffs Harbour this year, we showcased 50 Aboriginal performers and artists, over 30 Aboriginal market stalls and 20% of our volunteer team were Aboriginal,” said Alison Page, Festival Director. “And this was to the 12,000 people who celebrated Australia Day with us.”

“We are looking to grow our organisation, the Saltwater Freshwater Arts Alliance Aboriginal Corporation, which is governed by a board of CEO representatives from ten Local Aboriginal Land Councils on the Mid North Coast, so that we can mentor and provide employment opportunities for our Aboriginal communities,” said Alison.

Increasing employment opportunities for Indigenous Australians is a key goal of GenerationOne, who together with the Australian Employment Covenant (AEC) aim to create the demand for 50,000 sustainable jobs for Indigenous Australians by working with employers and employment providers.

The RMIT University study Indigenous Cultural Festivals and Community Wellbeing in Australia, revealed festivals promote an experience of social inclusion, positive institutional engagement and broadened opportunities for Indigenous Australians including renewing Aboriginal culture and opportunities for employment and small business development.

Jo-Anne Kelly, Chair of the Saltwater Freshwater Arts Alliance said, “Our aim is to position Aboriginal art and culture as the foundation for the long-term social, economic and environmental development of the region’s Aboriginal communities.  We commend GenerationOne’s practical approach to improving the lives of this and future generations and look forward to working with them.”

The Saltwater Freshwater Festival kicks off at 11am at Westport Park in Port Macquarie and closes with the GenerationOne Sunset Concert featuring Neil Murray and Troy Cassar-Daley.  For the full Festival program, check out the website


Contact for further information:

Saltwater Freshwater Arts Alliance Aboriginal Corporation

Phone: 02 6658 1315

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