Posts Tagged ‘NAIDOC’

NAIDOC Day at the Collingwood Children’s Farm

13 July 2009

Tash and I celebrated NAIDOC Day on 9 July 2009 at the Collingwood Children’s Farm in Abbotsford, an event organised by Aboriginal Housing Victoria.

NAIDOC stands for National Aboriginal and Islander Day Observance Committee and NAIDOC week is an opportunity to celebrate Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and the contributions of Indigenous Australians in all walks of life.

Horse kiss for TashThe event was brilliantly organised and included a traditional music and dance session where an Indigenous elder and young dancers invited kids in the audience to learn to dance like emus, kangaroos and eagles. There was also a dance symbolising fishing and the celebration of a good catch. Tash was too shy to join in the dancing but was rapt to witness the didgeridoo played live (she’s only seen it in books and heard it on CD).

My friend Helen alerted me to the NAIDOC Day event and we met up with her and her 2+ year old daughter Iris, sister Genevieve and her 4 kids for the celebration. We participated in a smoking ceremony, where the kids had their faces painted with ochre, followed by a boomerang painting session that all the kids got into.

There were drinks, fresh fruit, cakes, damper and barbequed sausages/vegie burgers in bread–all free, thanks to Aboriginal Housing Victoria and the fabulous volunteers at the Collingwood Children’s Farm.

It was wonderful to be around so many Aboriginal families and kids having fun.

The Farm itself was a great venue, the landscape forming a beautiful backdrop to the ceremonies, and lots of farm animals on hand to entertain the kids afterwards. For Tash the highlight was hand-feeding fresh grass to a white horse; I was rather taken with the 10-day-old black piglets.

Collingwood Children's Farm 1We last took Tash to the Collingwood Children’s Farm when she was just under 18 months old, thinking that because she enjoyed reading about farm animals and emulating their noises, she would enjoy seeing the real thing. In fact, most of the animals–bar the ducks and chickens–scared the hell out of her. This visit was much more successful.

I’d always thought the Children’s Farm, whilst wonderful, a bit expensive to visit at $16 per family; but entry was free on NAIDOC Day and Helen tells me it only costs $2 per adult on Farmers’ Market days, the second Saturday of every month, which is great value.

I forgot the camera, but Helen took some great photos, including the one above of the white horse kissing Tash.

I hope to make NAIDOC Day at the Children’s Farm an annual event – even if it means skiving off work to be there.