The 2020 NAIDOC theme Always Was, Always Will Be recognises that First Nations People have occupied and cared for this continent for over 65,000 years, spiritually and culturally connected to this country.

The official opening of NAIDOC Week 2020 on the Council lawns in Walgett kicked off the week with an address by Mayor, Mr Ian Woodcock and General Manager, Mike Urquhart, Welcome to Country performed by Local Aboriginal Elder Aunty Disha and Aunty Sadie, words of sharing and caring from Elder Mrs Doreen Peters, speeches and words of inspiration by youth representative Nyokia Townsend, an outstanding dance by the PCYC Aboriginal girls dance group all under the guidance of MC for the event Councils Aboriginal Liaison and Community Development Officer Reburdah Dennis.

Residents and visitors alike within the Walgett Shire came together as one to celebrate and acknowledged NAIDOC Week events in 2020 across all three (3) larger communities, Walgett, Collarenebri and Lightning Ridge with COVID-19, track and trace, social distancing, restrictions and food handling guidelines enforced.

Council’s community development team, along with a multitude of local and regional organisations, agencies and individuals across the Shire staged numerous planning meetings ensuring community ownership and events to cater engage and entertain all.  Genuine collaboration in action made provision for partnering services to offer community the opportunity to recognise and acknowledge Aboriginal people and achievements on a wider scale.

All events in each community celebrated with free pool entry, live entertainment with local band JustUs, food and refreshments. Aboriginal guest speakers, dance performances, fun games and activities and service provider’s stalls and info stands set up and information sharing made for tremendous days of recognition and celebration. With such a high number of participation at each event, Council would like to take this opportunity to thank and appreciate the time and effort all services have put into the community fun days with such a positive outcome.

General Manager of the Walgett Shire Council, Mr Michael Urquhart acknowledged the committed support across all communities and expressed his amazement in the highest ever engagement and participation at NAIDOC events in our Shire ever to be recorded.

“With 870 locals and visitors engaged in these events it demonstrates how significant NAIDOC and other cultural events and opportunities mean to our communities, its pleasing to witness reconciliation and culture alive and well within our Shire said Mr Urquhart.

A huge congratulations to all involved in what was a truly remarkable demonstration of harmony, acknowledging and celebrating the oldest living culture on the planet, our First People.

Walgett – 414 participants

Collarenebri – 204 participants

Lightning Ridge – 255 participants