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Monday, March 1, 2021

Indigenous storytelling in spotlight for NAIDOC Week

A podcast series exploring the storytelling traditions of our local Aboriginal communities was launched today as part of NAIDOC Week celebrations. 

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

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,” she 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 five 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; Professor of Indigenous Education and Research (Indigenous History) at the University of Newcastle John Maynard; local singer-songwriter Jacob Ridgeway; and Ray Kelly Jnr, a member of a local family synonymous with the Aboriginal community of Newcastle. 

Artist, entrepreneur and activist Saretta Fielding, who is a member of the Wanaruah Nation, will also 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 to 30 November.  

Newcastle Art Gallery is also celebrating NAIDOC Week with a filmed performance of local Torres Strait Islander artist and singer Toby Cedar, 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 on site and is on display at the museum. 

To find out more about the City’s NAIDOC Week activities visit City of Newcastle’s website. 

To access the podcast, click here.