IMPORTANT OCCASION: Locals turned out in good numbers for the NAIDOC 2019 Proserpine Flag Raising and Smoke Ceremony on Monday.
IMPORTANT OCCASION: Locals turned out in good numbers for the NAIDOC 2019 Proserpine Flag Raising and Smoke Ceremony on Monday. Contributed

Proserpine hosts NAIDOC celebrations

LOCALS turned out in good numbers as the Giya/Gia Kaiyu Official Women's Business Aboriginal Corporation presented the NAIDOC 2019 Proserpine Flag Raising and Smoke Ceremony on Monday.

The event formed part of NAIDOC Week, which runs from July 7-14 and celebrates the history, culture and achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

Event director Juanita 'Wanda' Halden said it was magnificent to see the community come together as one in Proserpine.

"With under four weeks to get organised, this committee and community came together and created a unique and intimate cultural gathering in Proserpine celebrating culture," Ms Halden said.

"This event was made possible due to the commitment and epic efforts of NAIDOC 2019 Proserpine committee, made up of respected Giya/Gia Elder Aunty Patricia Brimble, Vicky Brimble, Rita Brimble, Andrew Jacobi, Narrita Toffetti, Jamie Brimble and myself. A big shout out to the Whitsunday Regional Council, especially Julie Wright and Dave Crook, for their support."

Whitsundays Mayor Andrew Willcox and Deputy Mayor John Collins attended the event, run in conjunction with the High Country Foundation.

"The Mayor's speech was moving and we thank him and the Deputy Mayor for sharing the morning's activities, and participating in our deadly smoke ceremony," Ms Halden said.

Attendees savoured a delicious barbecue, while the festivities also featured a special performance from Northern Rivers-based musician Luke Vassella, who popped in to sing a song during his trip north. Ms Halden also thanked the legion of sponsors who supported the day.

"The day was supported by local businesses Harvey Norman, Prickly Pineapple, Jubilee Tavern, Balloons Whitsunday, Butterfly Reality Group, and other organisations such as the Queensland CWA Proserpine Branch, Diamonds, Pears and Rural Girls Project. A big thanks to our major sponsor Westpac Proserpine Branch," she said.

If you would like to learn more about Aboriginal culture or the Giya/Gia nation, you can email info@Giya-Kaiyu.com.au or find them on Facebook.

Ms Halden said they were looking forward to doing more traditional Aboriginal activities, tours and community programs in the future. St Catherine's Catholic College secondary students celebrated NAIDOC Week with a range of activities hosted by the Red Eye Dance Performers and Claudinia Lenoy from the Community Culture Group.

The entire college started the day with a NAIDOC liturgy in the Tom Gard Hall with guest speaker Sue West.


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