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Cherbourg Celebrates With Pride

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One of the stars from the young troup of Koolaburra Dancers who entertained the crowd

Cherbourg Mayor Arnold Murray did the Welcome To Country, thanked sponsors and handed out the Council awards

July 10, 2019

Singing, a smoking ceremony and lots of different types of dancing … a large crowd of Cherbourg residents and visitors celebrated NAIDOC Week with enthusiasm on Tuesday.

The event was organised by The Ration Shed in conjunction with Queensland Health and the Cherbourg Aboriginal Shire Council.

There were plenty of fun activities for children to explore as well as stalls selling artwork and pottery, information booths and a barbecue.

The main focus of the event was in Anzac Memorial Park, opposite The Ration Shed, but there were also activities and stalls in the grounds of the Cherbourg Hospital.

The Ration Shed historical complex was open for visitors although the main deck was reserved for Elders who enjoyed a special lunch prepared by volunteers.

Cherbourg Council and Darling Downs Health took the opportunity of the celebrations to present their annual awards (see below).

There was music in the park and on the The Ration Shed deck; dancing (traditional and not-so-traditional ….) and a talent quest for the younger members of the community.

Compere for the day was Aunty Lillian Gray, who was  tempted off stage at one point to join in the line-dancing.

In fact, ‘joining in’ was a main feature, with audience members joining in a number of performances.

On a more serious note, guest speaker Patty Bond explained the significance of the 2019 NAIDOC theme of “Voice, Treaty, Truth” and Cherbourg Health Service manager Tarita Fisher invited visitors to pledge support by signing a copy of the Uluru Statement From The Heart which will be framed and hung inside Cherbourg Hospital.

Cutting the 2019 NAIDOC cake were Shane Dynevor with elders Hazel Speedy and Eric Law … with compere Aunty Lillian Gray watching on and Durell Waterton, 7, photobombing!

Another enthusiastic young member of the Koolaburra dancers

Vanessa Fisher was singing and leading the Koolaburra troup in their performance

A shake-a-leg dance done by the young men of the Koolaburra group …

… which attracted some skilled participation from the audience!

Koolaburra dancer Kathy Fisher also did a cleansing smoking ceremony for visitors

Cherbourg firefighters Kenny Gyemore, Gene Barrett and Daniel Cobbo with young fans Robert Miller, 11, and Daniel Albury, 8

The Bralbin line dancers put on an enthusiastic display for the crowd …

… and (possibly unfortunately) encouraged members of the audience to join in!

A Polynesian feel to the day came from a Wahine dance performance by Elgan Saunders, Luella Watson, Serina Tapau and Shane Dynevor

Guest speakers Patty Bond and South Burnett Deputy Mayor Kathy Duff … Patty explained the 2019 NAIDOC theme, “Voice, Treaty, Truth”,- languages spoken, a voice to Parliament, a treaty or “makarrata”, and the need for historical truths to be understood and accepted

Another guest speaker was Cherie Clancy, from Wondai, who spoke of her shock and joy at hearing the voice of her great-grandmother, Queenie Dodd, a Wulli Wulli woman, on tape singing in Wakka Wakka at a language workshop in Cherbourg earlier this year

Melena Phinesa and Aunty Shirley Law were working in the kitchen preparing curry coconut chicken and oxtail stew for the Elders’ lunch

About to enjoy lunch were Michael Bond, Cecil McIvor and Stanley Mickelo

Uncle Steve Hart was also singing and entertaining on the Elders’ Deck

Myra Duncan, Cherbourg, and Joan Nielsen, Goomeri

On the deck at The Ration Shed … Mel Mannion, from Gympie; and Marlene Munro, Hervey Bay

* * *

Council Awards

Cherbourg Council’s NAIDOC Awards for 2019 were announced from the stage by Aunty Lillian Gray and presented by Mayor Arnold Murray.

The NAIDOC Aboriginal / Islander Person for 2019 was Sylvia Bond who was recognised for being a strong advocate for Cherbourg children and families.

Cassandrah Bond was acknowledged for her efforts at The Ration Shed

Bronwyn Tipman was acknowledged for her work in the community

The Ration Shed  chairperson, community volunteer and respected Elder Aunty Sandra Morgan was acknowledged for her long-standing work in keeping Cherbourg history alive

CRAICCHS received the award for an Aboriginal / Islander Organisation Serving The Community … women’s counsellor Denise Russell accepted it on behalf of the organisation

Traevonnah Fisher received the Sportsperson of the Year Award

Murgon SHS captain Selwyn Cobbo received the Youth Award

Robert “Rocko” Langton was named Artist / Musician for 2019 … he couldn’t accept his award in person because he was providing the musical entertainment on the Elders’ Deck at The Ration Shed

Leila Davidson, pictured with her daughter Elizabeth Davidson, received the Special Achievement Award for being a tireless caregiver, matriarch and role model for her family

* * *

Health Awards

Representatives from Darling Downs Health also presented Recognition of Excellence awards to local health staff:

South Burnett Cluster Director of Nursing Anne Neilson, Darling Downs Hospital and Health Service Board member Cheryl Dalton and Darling Downs Health Executive Director (Rural) Joanne Shaw presented an Indigenous Health Recognition of Excellence award to Linda Georgetown

Lavina Dynevor accepted the Indigenous Health Recognition of Excellence award on behalf of her sister Joanne Simpson

Margaret Mattheson was presented with the Darling Downs Hospital and Health Service award for Cherbourg


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