The Mitchell Shire’s Aboriginal community will mark NAIDOC Week next week with a community event at Seymour’s Kings Park that has become a fixture on the area’s calendar.
It is the sixth consecutive year the Seymour Local Aboriginal Network will host a NAIDOC event, which won last year’s Mitchell Shire Community Event of the Year award.
NAIDOC Week is a national weeklong celebration of the history, culture and achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.
Organiser Brenda Newman said between 200 and 300 people were expected to attend the three-hour-long gathering at the Kings Park pavilion on July 7.
The event will bring together community support organisations such as Headspace, BeyondHousing, FamilyCare and The Bridge Youth Service, as well as emergency services including Victoria Police, Ambulance Victoria, Victoria State Emergency Service and the Country Fire Authority.
Seymour Health will operate a stall offering free health checks, while representatives from Nagambie Men’s Shed will cook a barbecue.
Ms Newman said the event was about bringing together the entire Seymour community, regardless of background.
“It’s our week of celebration, which is for the whole community just as much as it is for Aboriginal people,” she said.
“It’s for us to celebrate and get people to recognise that there is an Aboriginal community around.
“This year’s NAIDOC theme is, ‘Get up! Stand up! Show up!’ To have a large community event like this is to show up and stand up. It gets us out there and gets us known.”
There will be plenty of fun and festivity for children and adults alike, with group Wanyara set to run Aboriginal cultural games and activities throughout the day.
There will be face painting, traditional Aboriginal weaving and drumming demonstrations.
Youth group Gnarly Neighbours will also attend, offering T-shirt printing and skateboarding demonstrations.
Along with the men’s shed’s free barbecue lunch, people can also grab tea, coffee, popcorn and donuts at attending food stalls.
A raffle prize of two nights’ accommodation at Nagambie’s Mitchelton winery is also on offer, valued at about $900.
Ms Newman said she hoped the event would continue to thrive, both this year and in the future, as COVID-19 restrictions faded into the background.
“[In previous years] they blocked off the street and had a big march, but since COVID that hasn’t happened. Hopefully next year it will be back again,” she said.
The Seymour Local Aboriginal Network NAIDOC event is from 11am to 2pm on Thursday, July 7.
People can call Ms Newman on 0429 555 250 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.