July 14, 2018
NAIDOC Week can trace its history back to the 1930s … but it’s still just a youngster in Kingaroy.
South Burnett Regional Council organised its second annual NAIDOC celebration on Thursday, and it was even bigger and better than last year’s inaugural event.
There were prayers and a smoking ceremony, plenty of tucker, dancing and activities for the young and not-so-young.
The event was co-sponsored by Kingaroy Hospital, so there was also a heap of health information on hand at stalls.
Children enjoyed splatter painting (traditional hand stencils) outside Kingaroy Library, while inside local artist Rodney Stewart had a display of modern Aboriginal artworks.
A popular part of the day was a football tossing competition, which attracted many competitors eager for a chance to win a signed Broncos’ football.
Community groups which took part in the event included Kingaroy Lions, the Kingaroy Men’s Shed and South Burnett CTC.
South Burnett Regional Council received $2700 from the Federal Government’s 2018 NAIDOC Week grants round to stage the celebration.
Guest speaker was Cherbourg elder Aunty Ada Simpson who spoke to the 2018 NAIDOC theme, “Because Of Her, We Can”.
Aunty Ada, who was born in Cherbourg, is a descendant of the Wangan Jagalingou people of central-western Queensland.
She has been married for 57 years and has 11 children.
She paid tribute especially to two members of her family, her mother and her great-aunt (whom she called “Nan”), for their strength, hard work and resilience.
Her Nan was labelled a “half-caste” and removed by the government from Clermont to Cherbourg in the early 1900s.
“She remained on the mission for the rest of her life and never had the opportunity to return to her country,” Aunty Ada said.
She was fluent in her language, but was not allowed to speak it at Cherbourg.
“When my own mother was sent away to work, she provided a loving home for me and everyone else around us,” Aunty Ada said.
Aunty’s Ada’s mother was also born in Clermont, but when she was 12 was sent to Woorabinda.
“This is the way it was back then … our people were shifted from place to place. They had no say in where they were going and they had to have permits to go anywhere,” she said.
Her mother and grandfather stayed at Woorabinda for many years before being shifted again, this time to Cherbourg.
Her mother was sent out to work as a domestic from a young age, to places including Kilkivan, Murgon and Taabinga Station.
“I was able to go with her to Taabinga Station and I remember the time spent there was a really glorious time for me,” Aunty Ada said.
Her mother then went to Tara and on to Brisbane, where she worked for 21 years in the Aboriginal Creations Shop in George Street, and had the opportunity of meeting the Queen and Prince Phillip in 1977.
“These two stories that I have shared are just an example, a fraction of what our elderly ladies have done over the years. They rose above adversity and did the best with what they had, not only for their own families but for their community as well,” Aunty Ada said.
“They were inspirational to my generation and ‘Because of her, we can’ is a statement that rings true to me.”
Wakka Wakka dancers, from Cherbourg, and the Komet Kus dancers from Mer Island, shared some traditional dances with the crowd in the Glendon Street forecourt: