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Tuesday, 15 November 2011

Welcoming & Warming the Wallaby Creek Festival Folk

For 10 years, in about September every year, once a year, up to 3000 people or more have descended into a richly rainforested part of Nyungkalwarra country, heading up the Wallaby Creek (a tributary of the Annan River), into the late Ruby Friday (Marilyn's mum) and others estate area (known to Nyungkalwarra as Jirrandaku).    Once a year for three days, up to 3000 people have arrived to camp, sing, dance and participate in the Wallaby Creek Festival.

Over the last 3 years  Bana Yarralji cultural enterpreneurs, Marilyn Wallace and family have been working to make all of these visitors to Nyunkalwarra country aware that they are, in fact, deep within Nyungkalwarra country; surrounded by Nyungkalwarra forests; and surrounded by the spirits of generations of Nyungkalwarra 'old people'.

Over the last three years Bana Yarralji have been working to teach all who arrive that they are in Nyungkalwarra Country in need of being welcomed, warmed, and hosted by Nyungkalwarra

With the cooperation and support of the Wallaby Creek Festival organising committee Bana Yarralji have, for the last three years, collected quantities of Cooktown iron wood leaves, collected quantaties of paper bark, painted up Nyungkalwarra youth, played the digeridoo..

..and actively assumed the role of Nyungkal hosts welcoming all arrivals to the festival, calling out to the old people,  and arranging mass warming (smoking) of people introducing them to Country in accordance with Nyungkal lore and custom

This year the whole exercise was performed at about mid-morning on the Saturday, 24 September 2011, with Bana Yarralji cultural entreprenuer Marilyn Wallace supported by other Nyungalwarra elders calling out, and Bana Yarralji rangers organising the mass warming/smoking

.. and Bana Yarrlji rangers bringing Nyungkalwarra youth to the event for the occasion, painted up and performing for all

As cultural entreprenuers seeking to move increasingly into hosting whole range of activities on country; also trying to make an enterprise out of all of this; Bana Yarralji entreprenuers:

i.   have these last few years expressed an ambition to be able to organise and arrange to play an increasingly prominent role hosting this Wallaby Creek festival, and all of these 1000's of annual visitors to Nyungkalwarra Country

ii.  have already this year expressed strong interest in increasing the amount of cultural activities occuring at Wallaby Creek festivals, for which some income might be derived (with good cultural dividend) .. even imagining Bana Yarralji or other Jirrandaku families potentially bidding for the ultimate purchase of the Wallaby Creek venue (Home Rule)

This year, at the end of the Wallaby Creek festival, the organisers expressed weariness after 10 years organising these festivals; calling for others to please step up and take up the baton!   

Marilyn Wallace and Peter Wallace are not short on vision, and, who knows, they may step up and seek to play some greater part, accepting the baton, and potentially playing a much increased role hosting next years Wallaby Creek festival in the Nyunkalwarra forests  (especially if their might be some profit in it, with good cultural dividends?) ?!

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Cultural entreprenuers moving onto country, building a base on country, working on country; caring for country, and hosting guests on country