Bark petitions remembered at today’s NAIDOC in the City

Bark petitions remembered at today’s NAIDOC in the City

PHOTO OPPORTUNITIES TODAY: Monday 8 July, 11am-3pm at NAIDOC in the City, Hyde Park North


The City of Sydney’s NAIDOC in the City event today will raise awareness about the importance of urban Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture, which is too often overlooked, according to community leader Lachlan McDaniel.

The co-chair of the City of Sydney’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Panel will be among the hundreds of people celebrating the world’s oldest living culture at the free event at Hyde Park on Monday 8 July, from 11am-3pm, which features song, dance, food, arts and crafts.

Mr McDaniel said that despite being more than 4,000km apart, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders living in Sydney and the Yirrkala peoples in the Northern Territory, both shared a strong desire for recognition of their culture.

“People make a really strong distinction between remote and rural areas and urban Indigenous culture, but I think there are some links there,” Mr McDaniel said.

“NAIDOC Week is an important chance for people across the nation to stop and recognise the great diversity of Indigenous culture. There is a unique Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture in Sydney that is a unique contributor to the identity of the places in which we live – and most Sydneysiders should know about that.

Mr McDaniel is also project officer at Recognise, which is lobbying for recognition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in the Australian Constitution.

The theme for NAIDOC Week 2013 is We Value the Vision: Yirrkala Bark Petitions 1963, which will mark the 50th anniversary of this important turning point in traditional rights and ownership.

The two bark petitions were sent by the Yolngu people, of Yirrkala in northeast Arnhem Land, to the Australian House of Representatives in August 1963, protesting the Commonwealth’s granting of mining rights on land excised from Arnhem Land, and to recognise the land as belonging to the Yolngu people.

The petitions were the first traditional documents to be recognised by Australian law. They set into motion a long process of legislative and constitutional reforms for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, as well as the nation’s acknowledgment of their land rights.

Lord Mayor Clover Moore said the City was taking important steps towards raising awareness and respect for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture and heritage.

“Our Eora Journey, which we launched in March in Redfern, has four projects to give residents and visitors a better understanding of the wonderful depth of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture,” the Lord Mayor said.

“Its public art component, worth $5.15 million, will provide better recognition in the public domain, with self-guided walks past significant monuments.

“We’re working on an economic development plan to ensure Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities achieve equity of representation as students, employees and business owners.

“And we’re also exploring options for an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultural centre in the heart of the city, as well as a major annual event to showcase the best of the culture,” the Lord Mayor said.

VIBE Australia executive producer Gavin Jones said NAIDOC was one of the nation’s key initiatives for raising awareness and respect for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures.

“To have NAIDOC in the City at Hyde Park is a wonderful way to celebrate our culture and provide access to it, for as many people as possible in an urban environment,” Mr Jones said.

“The very important theme of the Yirrkala Bark Petitions also shows the vision, determination and commitment of our people to land rights, culture and traditions. Remembering, respecting and celebrating this history and these traditions moves us all forward on our reconciliation journey.”

NAIDOC Week celebrates the National Aborigines and Islanders Day Observance Committee, which grew from the first political groups of the 1920s.

At today’s NAIDOC in the City, children can enjoy the dedicated Kidzone, performances by Move it Mob Style, comedy by Kevin Kropinyeri, animals from Taronga Zoo and artefacts from the Australian Museum.

The main stage will include performances by multi-award winning hip-hop group Street Warriors, indie-pop duo Bow and Arrow and songstress Leah Flanagan.

Stallholders include Bush Secrets tea and coffee, Naked Flame wraps (including a crocodile version) and the Vegie Patch food truck, which will be experimenting with traditional Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander ingredients.

A marketplace will include clothing, arts, crafts and homewares by Blacka Wear, Brothaboy Clothing, Journeyman Leathergoods, Bakarindi Bush Foods, Boomali Aboriginal Arts Cooperative, Boxa Clothing Company, Double Bridge Farm and artist Aloma Sagigi.

NAIDOC in the City
11am-3pm, Monday 8 July
Hyde Park North


Highlights of NAIDOC in the City today include:
11.20am: Indie pop duo Bow and Arrow (Mindy and Mitchell Kwanten
11.50am: Dancestry Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander dance
12.05pm: Comedian Kevin Kropinyeri
12.20pm: Dance performance by Move it Mob Style
1pm: Award-winning hip hop group, Street Warriors
1.30pm: Dancestry Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander dance
1.50pm: Performance by singer Aiesha Saunders
2.10pm: Performance by singer Leah Flanagan


Other NAIDOC Week events hosted by the City:
Redfern flag raising ceremony
9.30am, Monday 8 July
Redfern Community Centre, 29-53 Hugo Street, Redfern
The City of Sydney’s annual flag raising ceremony at Redfern Community Centre will include refreshments and transport to the NAIDOC in the City event at Hyde Park.

Aboriginal photography exhibition
1 July–31 August
Newtown Library, 8–10 Brown Street, Newtown
In conjunction with Amnesty International and Demand Dignity NSW, Tali Gallery in Rozelle has curated a travelling exhibition of photos showing cultural practices and art creation in remote communities.

Torres Strait Islander artist talk
6-8pm, Tuesday 9 July
Surry Hills Neighbourhood Centre, Level 1, 405 Crown Street, Surry Hills
Zenadh-Kes artist Glen Mackie discusses how his culturally-rich Torres Strait Islander heritage inspires his intricate linoprint artworks, which will be on show in the library from 1 July–31 August. He’ll be followed by Patricia Adjei, the Copyright Agency’s Indigenous legal officer, who’ll discuss copyright, resale royalties, and cultural intellectual property rights. Free; bookings essential on 02 9265 7576

Indigenous youth linoprint workshop
2–4pm, Wednesday 10 July
Surry Hills Neighbourhood Centre, Level 1, 405 Crown Street, Surry Hills
Zenadh-Kes artist Glen Mackie, from the Torres Strait, hosts a printmaking workshop for Indigenous youth.
Free; bookings essential on 02 9265 7576

Aboriginal watercolours talk
6–7pm, Wednesday 10 July
Customs House Library, Level 2, 31 Alfred Street, Circular Quay
Di Stevens, curator at Tali Gallery, talks about Ngurratjuta Arts Centre in Alice Springs, which supports over 300 Aboriginal artists, with a special focus on the Hermannsburg school artists that continue the watercolour landscapes tradition. There are about 15 artists that paint in the watercolour style, being descendants of Albert Namatjira. Arrive early to see an exhibition of their works on level one, which runs 1 July–31 August.
Free; bookings essential on 02 9265 7576

Dindal, Centennial Park
Friday 12 July, midday-4pm
Don’t know what a dindal is? Then come along and learn about this traditional Indigenous cooking method where the food is buried underground in an earth oven. Welcome to Country is followed by a feast.

NAIDOC Week events supported by the City:
Inner City NAIDOC Family and Sports Day, Friday 12 July, 9am–5pm, National Centre for Indigenous Excellence, 180 George Street, Redfern; Phone 0412 206 205.
Woolloomooloo NAIDOC Family Day 2013, Saturday 13 July, 10am–4pm, Forbes Street Reserve, Woolloomooloo; phone 02 9368 1381.


For media inquiries or images, contact City of Sydney Senior Media Adviser Jodie Minus, phone 0467 803 815 or email

For interviews with Lord Mayor Clover Moore, contact Jonathon Larkin on 0477 310 149 or email