Celebrations of Ngarrindjeri culture planned for NAIDOC Week 2020
A bridge walk and awards ceremony will be among the week's highlights in Murray Bridge.
This story was originally published behind Murray Bridge News’ paywall. Paywalled stories are unlocked four weeks after publication. Can’t wait that long? Subscribe here.
Before you or I were born, before the first bridge over the River Murray was built or the Lower Lakes filled with water, there was the Ngarrindjeri nation.
That nation, thousands of years old, is still there beneath your feet – and this week, you are invited to pay it a visit.
A community walk across Murray Bridge’s old road bridge and an awards ceremony celebrating the achievements of Ngarrindjeri people will be among the highlights of NAIDOC Week in the Murraylands.
The week will kick off with a family fun day at Le Messurier Oval on Sunday, followed by the bridge walk on Monday, children’s activities on Tuesday and a breakfast barbecue next Friday – see What’s On for all the details.
Events will also be held at Tailem Bend, on Friday, as well as Meningie, Mannum and elsewhere around the country, after having been delayed since July due to COVID-19.
Community engagement officer Vicki Cummings, with the Moorundi Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Service, said it had been an effort to get everything organised and COVID-compliant.
Unfortunately, she said, the current restrictions had forced some events to be cancelled, such as the usual Points versus Rovers footy match; and numbers to be limited at others, such as an elders’ luncheon on Sunday.
Though Moorundi was a health service, part of its job was bringing the community together, she said, making connections and looking after people’s social and emotional wellbeing.
Moorundi’s David Crompton recalled NAIDOC Week balls at the town hall during his childhood.
He remembered his mum getting all dressed up after cooking the food in a kitchen at the Nungas Club.
“It’s something that’s part of what the community’s all about,” he said.
“It’s an invitation to all – that’s the beauty of it.
“And it’s generational now – my grandchildren enjoy the week.”
Mayor calls on people of all backgrounds to support Aboriginal community
Murray Bridge Mayor Brenton Lewis said NAIDOC Week gave people from all backgrounds a chance not only to participate in fun activities, but to support the local Aboriginal community.
“The very first footprints on this continent were those belonging to First Nations peoples,” he said.
“This is an opportunity for our community to come together, learn the history, celebrate the achievements and honour one of the oldest living cultures on our planet.”
Coorong Mayor Paul Simmons echoed that sentiment, and invited everyone to engage with Indigenous culture.
Bridge walk organiser Simone Zrna said that event would symbolise a willingness to bridge divides in our community, between cultures and people, and to heal old wounds.
Federal MP Tony Pasin said NAIDOC Week was always special.
“We are privileged to have one of the world’s oldest continuous cultures,” he said.
“Through NAIDOC events we can share in this proud history and contemplate our future.”
More information: Call Moorundi Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Service on 1800 023 846, the Murray Bridge council on 8539 1100 or the Coorong council on 1300 785 277; or visit www.naidoc.org.au.