Festivities, film and food headline City of Newcastle's NAIDOC Week 2024

05 July 2024

Newcastle will celebrate the cultural richness of its First Nations during NAIDOC Week with a march from Civic Park and a City of Newcastle program for the senses.

Awabakal Corporation will kick off their annual Community Day at Civic Park on Monday with a flag raising ceremony and morning march from Civic Park, followed by a family-friendly celebration at Foreshore Park.

The Awabakal Community Day, supported by City of Newcastle, will feature singing, dancing, stalls, rides and chances for cultural connection inspired by this year's NAIDOC theme - "Keep the fire burning! Blak, Loud and Proud".

NAIDOC Week celebrations will continue with activities across City of Newcastle libraries and the Museum, designed to create connections with culture for the next generation.

Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes said NAIDOC Week is a calendar highlight for City of Newcastle, offering a chance to celebrate the oldest living cultures of Australia's second oldest city.

"Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aren't just in the fabric of Newcastle, they are the first people of this place we love today," Cr Nelmes said.

"Newcastle has a long and rich history of standing side-by-side with our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community to enact positive change, including being the first city in Australia to raise an Aboriginal Flag over a civic building under Lord Mayor Joy Cummings," Cr Nelmes said.

"NAIDOC Week is an extremely important time of year and an opportunity for our community to acknowledge that the story of Australia began far before European settlement, while recognising that First Nations peoples have occupied and cared for our land for over 65,000 years."

Awabakal Corporation CEO Jason Smith said NAIDOC is a marquee week for his organisation and for celebration of Aboriginal culture by City of Newcastle and the community.

"NAIDOC Week means a great deal to all of us at Awabakal and it's pleasing to see what City of Newcastle does to engage Aboriginal people this week and every week,” Mr Smith said.

"The Guraki Aboriginal Advisory Committee is just one vital initiative City of Newcastle helps facilitate. The events this NAIDOC Week, including the march from Civic Park and the Awabakal Community Day in Foreshore Park supported by City of Newcastle, are highlights any Novocastrian should experience."

Councillor Deahnna Richardson, a proud Wiradjuri woman, said Newcastle Museum Park, Newcastle City Library and Wallsend Library will all host NAIDOC Week festivities.

"This year's theme - 'Keep the fire burning! - is a call to elevate our mob and our spirit," Cr Richardson said.

"We're creating new connections to our culture for the next generation with a range of events delivered in partnership with local First Nations groups. These activities are designed to celebrate the rich history and diverse cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples as the oldest continuing cultures on the planet. We're lucky in Muloobinba to live among the cultures of Awabakal, Worimi and many other people. I can't wait for NAIDOC Week to kick off.

"I encourage our community to celebrate our Indigenous culture this NAIDOC Week and take advantage of the free events on offer throughout the city."

Newcastle Museum will host Darkinjung woman Sarah Corrigan on Tuesday with Rainbow Crow Collective: Tastes of Australia, a chance to try bush tucker including syrups and finger limes, and take home a recipe card to continue the culinary journey. 

The Museum will also screen The Last Daughter, the documentary directed by Wiradjuri author Brenda Matthews with Nathaniel Schmidt that holds a 100% rating on Rotten Tomatoes.

On Thursday the festivities move to Newcastle City Library with a stringybark rope-making masterclass by Uncle Amos Simon. The proud Worimi, Birpai and Wiradjuri elder will be sharing Language and music including a silent disco.

Rainbow Crow Creative will cap off the city's NAIDOC Week program on Friday at Wallsend Library and then Newcastle Museum with low sensory sessions of the popular Wayapa earth connection practice, which uses mindfulness and Indigenous inspired movements to create a healing space through yarning, sharing and connection.

NAIDOC Week will be celebrated across Australia from 7-14 July to recognise the history, culture and achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

For more information on the Awabakal march and Community Day visit: https://www.awabakal.org/events/naidoc2024