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Celebration Of The Old And The New

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Artist Niketa Law with Cherbourg elders Eric and Shirley Law and Daisy Carlo

August 8, 2012

The South Burnett’s second annual combined schools NAIDOC Day celebration – a celebration of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture – was hosted by St Mary’s Catholic College in Kingaroy last Friday.

Students at the host school were joined by Year 8 pupils from Nanango, Murgon and Kingaroy State high schools for the day of activities, which was sponsored by the Aboriginal Community Interest Consultative Committee (ACICC).

There was information on the Torres Strait Islands, the history of Cherbourg, Dreaming stories, didgeridoo music, painting, traditional dancing, boomerang and spear-throwing lessons and a traditional-inspired morning tea, including damper with bunya nut chutney, emu mince balls and kangaroo pies.

At lunchtime, the students shared modern tucker cooked in a traditional kup-murri, including pork, lamb, chicken, sweet potato, potatoes and pumpkins.

Chef Sheroll Richard, whose husband Mark is a teacher at St Mary’s, also prepared a traditional Fijian dish which is cooked underground, palusami, made from cabbage, silverbeet, tomato, onion and coconut milk.

(The kup-murri team should be congratulated for their efforts … they started digging their cooking hole at 4:00am in the morning, when the temperature in Kingaroy was minus 4.1 degrees C!)

Also unveiled on the day was St Mary’s new Dreaming Garden which features an elaborately decorated cross designed by local artist Niketa Law.

The sacred space also includes a rainbow serpent motif, bottle trees representing the Wakka Wakka and Gubbi Gubbi nations, and remembers the different language groups which used to attend bunya nut festivals.

A ring has also been incorporated which will be decorated later this year with a Bunya Dreaming painting.

Eric Ellis, from Ngutana-Lui in Brisbane, had the students enthralled with his didgeridoo

Brian Whap, from Mabuyag, with Year 4 pupils Ethan Keighran and Lindsay Kennedy, and teacher Rachel McNamara

Peter Gibson, from Barambah Education Centre, shows Jasmine Davis how to toss a boomerang

Leroy Anderson tests his skills with a woomera and spear on the St Mary's school oval

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