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6 November, 2020

Always Was, Always Will Be – learning new ways to celebrate NAIDOC week Nov 8 – 15, 2020

NAIDOC 2020 theme, Always Was, Always Will Be. recognises that First Nations people have occupied and cared for the continent for over 65, 000 years.

By Carli Willis

Usually celebrated in July, the national celebration was rescheduled due to the impacts and uncertainty of COVID19.

National NAIDOC Committee member, Erub man Kenny Bedford, said that NAIDOC week represents a focal time of reflection and celebration for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and communities.

“Guided by an annual theme, it's a time when families, communities and organisations plan and participate in events and activities that celebrate our survival as Indigenous Australians, showcasing the diversity of our living cultures and recognises our achievers through the National NAIDOC Awards”.

“Due to the ongoing impact of COVID however, the awards will not be going ahead in 2020 as some restrictions and precautions are still in place,” explained Mr Bedford.

Mr Bedford encourages people to continue to participate in NAIDOC week, albeit different this year, by exploring online events via the NAIDOC website or get involved with local organisations and events.

“Be creative, be informed on history and issues by reading a book, watching an Indigenous film or arrange a movie night”.

Deadly Inspiring Youth Doing Good (DIYDG) Chairperson, Eastern-Kuku Yalanji and Darnley Island woman Semara Jose, helped lead NAIDOC marches for the last ten years in Cairns.

“NAIDOC marches are a celebration now, but are deep rooted in political movements around injustices for Indigenous people,” explains Ms Jose.

“There’s been so many issues different issues on the table. They’ve always been about coming back down to, reconnecting and reuniting us as Indigenous people so that we have a collective voice”.

Ms Jose encourages people to listen to the stories and experiences of First Nations people, take advantage of free online webinars, read the Uluru Statement or immerse in websites like ‘indigiTUBE’.

“For us it always comes back to the learning and the understanding. You can read what’s on the NAIDOC website, but also being able to dig a little bit deeper”.

“This year’s been very hard for our families. We’ve lost a lot of people and we haven’t been able to farewell them properly,” said Ms Jose.

Free NAIDOC posters are available at all Woolworths outlets across the country or to download from the NAIDOC website.

Artist and designer Tyrown Waigana, a Noongar and Saibai Islander man, won the prestigious National NAIDOC Poster Competition.

According to the 23-year-old, his winning entry depicts the Rainbow Serpent coming out of the Dreamtime to create this country and how we are strongly connected to it.

“The Rainbow Serpent is represented by the snake and it forms the shape of Australia, which symbolises how it created our lands. The colour from the Rainbow Serpent is reflected on to the figure to display our connection to the Rainbow Serpent, thus our connection to country. The overlapping colours on the outside is the Dreamtime.”

“The figure inside the shape of Australia is a representation of Indigenous Australians showing that this country - since the dawn of time - always was, and always will be Aboriginal land,” Mr Waigana added.

What Events are on:

Northern Gulf NAIDOC Awards

Northern Gulf Resource Management Group

The Cape Gateway Motel 3 Williams Cl, Mareeba QLD

Full detail Here

Elders Lunch

Mamu Health

Chjowai Hall 18 McGowan Dr, Innisfail

COVID19 Restrictions requirements will apply with limited seat numbers. 

 Limited Bookings Phone Brett 40615100

NAIDOC Morning Tea

Mamu Health

Chjowai Hall 18 McGowan Dr, Innisfail

Limited Bookings Phone Brett 40615100 

Seating from 9:30am for 10:00am start.

NAIDOC Street Walk

Mamu Health

Canecutter Court, Fitzgerald Esplanade Innisfail

Limited Bookings Phone Brett 40615100 

Rally 9:00am Canecutter Court Participants must register for COVID 19 Requirements. Followed by NAIDOC Family Day in Anzac Park with Community information stalls from 10:00am 

COVID19 Restrictions requirements will apply at this event.

Yalanji Arts Artworks on Show

Yalanji Arts

Douglas Shire Council Foyer 64-66 Front St, Mossman QLD

Full details HERE

Naytive Mentorship

Naytive (Naomi Wenitong)

Shang Park, Long St, Mooroobool

Full details HERE

Top End Wedding Free Screening

Munro Martin Parklands

Tickets throughTicketlink

November 6, 7:30pm

NAIDOC - Let's Get Creative with Clay

Aboriginal Art, Kgari 3 Sisters

Cnr Aplin and Mcleod Street

Expressions of Interest via

November 8, 1-3pm

November 11, 3-6pm

Camouflage Art Series by Taritah Ambrum

Aboriginal Art, Kgari 3 Sisters

Cnr Aplin and Mcleod Street

Free entry. Art Exhibition, Aboriginal Art

November 7 - 28, 

Mon - Fri 9am - 5pm

Art Gallery

UMI Arts

Shop 4/1 Jensen St, Cairns North

Monday - Friday 10am - 4pm

Monday-Friday 9am-5pm

Pamagirri Art Market For Emerging Indigenous Artists

UMI Arts

Rainforestation 1030 Kennedy Hwy, Kuranda

Free entry. Art Exhibition, Aboriginal Art

The event is a collaboration with local Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander arts and cultural organisation UMI Arts. 

Date: Sunday 22nd November Time: 10am-1pm Admission: FREE

Yarrabah Art Centre

Yarrabah Arts Precinct

 Museum Rd off Back Beach Rd 

9am - 4pm Monday - Friday

Rite of Passage

NorthSite Contemporary Arts

96 Abbott Street, Cairns

24th September - 21st November

Art exhibition Rite of Passage is a visionary group exhibition that developed as a response to the significance of the year 2020 – 250 years since James Cook first landed in Australia. The exhibition aims to reframe the way that we perceive this year in our history. Rite of Passage showcases the strength of autobiographical work by eleven contemporary Aboriginal artists from across Australia. Artists include Glennys Briggs, Megan Cope, Nici Cumpston, Karla Dickens, Julie Gough, Lola Greeno, Leah King-Smith, Jenna Lee, Carol McGregor, Mandy Quadrio, and Judy Watson. Described by curator Shannon Brett as explicit in their actions regarding their Aboriginal rites, the exhibition reveals how these artists define themselves as voices of their families and their ancestors in their quest to preserve their Aboriginality.

IACA Member Art Centres Group Exhibition

NorthSite Contemporary Arts

96 Abbott Street, Cairns

18th September - 19 December

Art exhibition In realising the Indigenous Art Centre Alliance (IACA)’s continued mission to support economic development and culturally strong best-practice Indigenous art enterprises, IACA is delivering an arts worker training program to extend arts workers professionally. The inaugural ‘IACA Indigenous Arts worker Program’ (IIAP) is a 1-year pilot program developed to upskill arts workers through specifically targeted and customised arts industry training. IACA is delighted to partner with NorthSite Contemporary Arts for the first activity that will see 5 First Nations artworkers from Cape York and Torres Strait communities, receive practical and targeted onsite training in exhibition design and installation. Working with NorthSite staff, the IIAP participants workshopped a curatorial theme drawing inspiration from the NorthSite stockroom and artworks promoted by participating IACA Member Art Centres in the 2020 Cairns Indigenous Art Fair.

Reimagining. Between Tradition and Innovation.

Cairns Art Gallery

40 Abbott Street, Cairns

17th October 2020 - 10 January 2021

Art exhibition: contemporary Indigenous art.

The naming and opening of Cardwell’s Bush Tucker Garden

Girringun Aboriginal Corporation & Cassowary Coast Regional Council

51-53 Victoria Street, Cardwell

November 9, 9am - 10:30

9:00am Cardwell Daycare sing Acknowledgement to Country 

 9:10am Welcome to Country – Marcia Jerry 

9:15am Girramay Dancers will do 4 dances: waymbau (walkabout), bjinjila (willywagtail), idingdila (dragonfly) & jarrugan (scrubhen) and stories for each dance 

9:35am CCRC rep speech 

9:40am The Girringun Nursery staff will do a talk on the plants that have been planted 

9:55am Marcia Jerry will open and name the garden 

10:00am morning tea served Break away activates: • Sharing stories with Girramay with Traditional Owners under the big marquee • Girringun Nursery, Ranger & TUMRA Staff will have space to talk about their current and future projects • Cameron Dickman will have face painting and mask making activity tent for everyone to enjoy • Girringun artists will have space to showcase their projects etc.

Flag Raising Ceremony

Douglas Shire Council

66 Front Street, Mossman

November 9, 10am

NAIDOC Night Markets

Douglas Shire Council

Bubu Kinkari Park, Mossman

November 11, 4 - 8pm

Indigenous market stalls including renowned artists Judy Williams and Cheryl Birchall. 

Food, music and dancing under the raintrees. Patrick Nandy will be one of the muscians attending that evening. Regisstrations and Enquiries: 0437 009 666. Email:

NAIDOC Elders Luncheon

Douglas Shire Council

Mossman Shire Hall 6 Mill Street Mossman

November 12, 12 noon

Details HERE

NAIDOC Car Rally

Douglas Shire Council

Mossman Shire Hall 6 Mill Street Mossman

November 13, 11am

Decorate your car in NAIDOC theme, come down and Elders will judge the best car. Prizes will be given out, such as fuel vouchers.

Details HERE

NAIDOC baby shower

Douglas Shire Council

Goobidi CACS, Johnston Road, Mossman

November 10, 10am

Registration and Enquiries: 07 4098 1290 Email:

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