Bellingen Shire Celebrates NAIDOC Week 2023: Honouring Our Elders

Published on 26 June 2023

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NAIDOC Week will be celebrated in Bellingen Shire with a series of events hosted by the community with support from Bellingen Shire Council. The week-long festivities aim to honour the rich Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander history, culture, and achievements.

Kicking off the events on Sunday 2 July at 1:00pm there will be an open day in Maam Gaduying Park in Bellingen. The afternoon will commence with an official Welcome to Country and Smoking Ceremony led by Tahani, Uncle Martin and Uncle Bud, a welcome dance as well as the unveiling of the recently completed Reconciliation Week community mosaic art project led by Aunty Lisa Kelly. There will be soup and damper, weaving with Jenny Farrands, a community mandala project with Bronwyn Napiorkowski. Storytelling with Uncle Bud & Uncle Miklo and chai for everyone.


Continuing the festivities on Monday 3 July, One Mob Radio alongside the Neighbourhood Centres of Bellingen Shire, Interrelate and Yarruungga presents an exciting event at the Urunga Riverstage, Morgo St Reserve from 3:00pm to 6:00pm. The dynamic program features musical performances by Matty Devitt, Birren Slabb and Jambaal Dreaming, dance performances by the Budabaang Baari Dance Group The event will also offer a complimentary sausage sizzle, damper, and soup for attendees.


During the upcoming school holidays, Bellingen, Dorrigo, and Urunga libraries have organised a range of programs to keep everyone entertained. To celebrate NAIDOC week, they have created an interactive quiz that can be enjoyed by people of all ages. Participants who answer five questions correctly will have a chance to win a book prize. The quiz will run throughout the entire school holiday period, and each library branch will have a NAIDOC display featuring the books with the answers. In addition, there will be craft activities for younger children, such as making a twisting rainbow snake. Materials will be provided, and bookings are required for the sessions at Bellingen Library, Dorrigo Library, and Urunga Library. For teens, the libraries have secured a grant to host a unique event called "Mix it Like a DJ." Led by local DJ Dangerwaves, participants will learn to mix their favourite music genre using professional equipment.

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The origins of NAIDOC, which stands for National Aborigines and Islanders Day Observance Committee, can be traced to the emergence of Aboriginal groups in the 1920′s which sought to increase awareness in the wider community of the status and treatment of Indigenous Australians. NAIDOC Week is an opportunity for all Australians to celebrate Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander history, culture and achievements, and recognise the contributions that First Nations peoples make to our nation and society.

The theme for NAIDOC Week 2023 is ”For our Elders” recognising that across every generation, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Elders have played, and continue to play, an important role and hold a prominent place in our communities and families. They are cultural knowledge holders, trailblazers, nurturers, advocates, teachers, survivors, leaders, hard workers and our loved ones.

Mayor Steve Allan said “It is essential that we recognise and celebrate the oldest, continuing living culture on the planet, not just during NAIDOC Week but at all times. Bellingen Shire Council is committed to supporting and acknowledging our Gumbaynggirr heritage in consultation with local community and we truly value our diverse community and appreciate our First Nations people”

To provide a comprehensive guide to NAIDOC Week events across the Shire, the council has created a dedicated webpage

NAIDOC Week gives all Australians a chance to learn about our First Nations cultures and histories and to participate in celebrations of our nation’s rich heritage. It is a chance locally to celebrate our Gumbaynggirr people and their rich culture and enhance inclusiveness ad reconciliation. For more information on NAIDCO Week visit: and for more information about events in our shire contact Council on 6655 7300.