City puts Indigenous storytelling in spotlight for NAIDOC Week

09 Nov 2020

A podcast series exploring the storytelling traditions of our local Aboriginal communities will be launched today as part of City of Newcastle’s NAIDOC Week celebrations. 

Produced through the City’s Libraries in support of this year’s NAIDOC Week theme, Newcastle’s First Storytellers: Always Was, Always Will Be highlights our region’s rich Indigenous culture and history. 

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Newcastle Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes said through the contributions of contemporary and well-known Newcastle identities, the podcast beautifully articulates how local Aboriginal communities share and tell stories. 

“NAIDOC Week is an important opportunity to acknowledge that our nation’s story didn’t begin with European settlement and recognise that First Nations peoples have occupied and cared for this continent for more than 65,000 years,” Cr Nelmes said. 

“Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people were Australia’s first explorers, first navigators, first engineers, first farmers, first botanists, first scientists, first diplomats, first astronomers and first storytellers. 

“Our NAIDOC Week podcasts provide the perfect opportunity to showcase the region’s rich cultural history and long tradition of Indigenous storytelling.” 

The podcast series includes six compelling episodes, which can be accessed by searching for ‘Newcastle Libraries REAL’ on your favourite podcast app, with a new episode added each day.

It features local author and member of the Stolen Generation Donna Meehan; John Maynard, Professor of Indigenous Education and Research (Indigenous History) at the University of Newcastle and one of the world’s most respected voices on Indigenous history; Jake Ridgeway, a young singer, songwriter and performer based in Newcastle; Ray Kelly Jnr, a member of a local family synonymous with the Aboriginal community of Newcastle and Aboriginal Elder William Smith. 

Artist, entrepreneur and activist Saretta Fielding, who is a member of the Wonnarua Nation, will share her story in the second episode of the podcast, while a selection of her acclaimed artwork, design prints, fabrics and fashion items will be on display at Wallsend Library from 8-30 November.  

Newcastle Art Gallery is also celebrating NAIDOC Week with a filmed performance of local Torres Strait Islander artist and singer Toby Cedar, which will be shared on their website and Facebook page, while Newcastle Museum has a permanent exhibition that allows you to learn about the history and technology of a traditional punnah (stringy bark) canoe, which was built onsite and is on display at the museum. 

To find out more about our NAIDOC Week activities visit newcastle.nsw.gov.au/explore/things-to-do/naidoc-week or to listen to some of our other podcast series visit www.newcastle.nsw.gov.au/library/experience/digital-programs/library-podcasts