NAIDOC Week 2020 will be celebrated COVID-style in Hepburn Shire, with a series of online events.

NAIDOC Week 2020 acknowledges and celebrates that our nation’s story didn’t begin with documented European contact whether in 1770 or 1606. 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 artists.

The week will be formally launched in Hepburn Shire with the Acknowledgment of Country. The Aboriginal flag will be raised in at the Town Hall in Vincent Street by Erica Higgins, the Communications Manager at 3KND, Kool ‘N’ Deadly radio.

The first event that you can participate in is the free Clunes Booktown on Sundays conversation with Tony Birch at 4.00 on Sunday 8 November.

Tony will be talking about his new novel, The White Girl, which was short-listed for the Miles Franklin and won the 2020 NSW Premier’s Literary Awards – Indigenous Writers’ Prize. The novel shines a spotlight on the 1960s and the devastating government policy of taking Indigenous children from their families.

Hepburn Shire Council is highlighting the connection between language and landscape in the context of ‘Always Was, Always Will Be’, the theme of this year’s NAIDOC Week. You can access stories about Dja Dja Wurrung Country, Wadawurrung Country and Darumbal Country in the ABC’s ‘This Place’ project, which invited Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to create short videos about place names and the stories behind them.

 Dja Dja Wurrung Country: ‘Leanganook: His Teeth’

Wadawurrung Country: ‘There are four A’s in Ballaarat’

Darambul Country: ‘The name that’s worth the fight, for the old people and the young ones too’

Hepburn Shire Council is also very excited to share the  Koorie Culture Map, a collaboration between Sharing Stories Foundation and the Jaara community led by Uncle Brien and Uncle Rick Nelson. The Map allows you to explore cultural stories and knowledge of Jaara Country. The beautiful animations and artwork were produced with young people at The Meeting Place in Bendigo.

Coming up later on 26 November, Hepburn U3A will be hosting an online screening of the documentary “Homeland Story” which tells the story of the people of the Donydji Indigenous Homeland in North East Arnhem Land and their struggle to retain their own culture while coming to terms with modern Australia.

The film uses footage captured by Dr Neville White AM from as far back as fifty years ago when he first started working with the people and not long after they had given up the nomadic life to settle at Donydji. Neville gave a series of lectures about the Homeland and its people to Hepburn U3A last year.

If you would like to participate, bookings for the screening can be made through on:   Tickets are just $10 with the funds raised going to the Donydji Homeland.