News & Media

Reconciliation Week in Melton

By: Debra Salvagno

Category: Events / Fundraising / Offers, People

  8.58 PM 2 June, 2014

Location: District 11 News, District 14 News

Views: 2418

Rockbank and Melton fire brigade members along with CFA community educator extraordinaire April
Himmelreich celebrated with their local Indigenous community at the Koorie Night Market in Melton on Friday 30th May.

The event was held at the Melton Community Hall to mark reconciliation week, which runs from 27 May to the 3rd June. Organisers from the Koorie Night Market extended an invitation to CFA to join the festivities and members turned out in true CFA community spirit.

The Koori Night Market is a mobile festival celebrating Indigenous arts and culture coordinated by Koori Night Market Inc, a small Indigenous controlled community organisation. The best thing about the markets is their ability to bring the whole community together in celebration of all things Koori. Art stalls; music, traditional basket weaving, didge and dance workshops give the broader community an opportunity to learn about Indigenous culture and engage in a meaningful way with Indigenous people from all over Australia. And CFA members joined in boots and all!

Rockbank brigade turned out their tanker manned by five members all dressed in yellows. Captain Koala was embraced by the kids, with April Himmelreich engaging them in fun activities to raise awareness about fire safety and prevention. Aboriginal members from a remote community in northern Australia shared their knowledge of traditional fire practices and a Rockbank fire fighter joined in the didge and dance workshops! A Melton brigade member also bought his grandchildren who participated in the traditional jewellery and painting workshops. A fun filled night was held by all.

But it’s not all about fun; there’s a serious side that we all know. A recent report showed that Indigenous youth are five times more likely to commit suicide; however the figure is reversed if youth actively participate in traditional culture and get involved with the broader community. This is what the Koorie Night Market is all about, connecting people to Koorie culture. CFA supported a mural workshop at the market, which aimed to show the community that we care.

Indigenous stallholder and former CFA volunteer Charlie Solomon said that CFA can play a role in helping Koori youth. “The CFA is a great place for Koori youth to learn about themselves” Charlie said. “Being involved taught me a lot and I know that there’s a place them in the CFA” he said.

As CFA works towards facilitating greater inclusion and engagement with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in Victoria through its Koori Inclusion Action Plan, connecting with the local community at events like the Koori Night Market is a way to express this in action.

“It’s great to see the CFA here” said Torres Strait Islander artist Safina Stewart. “Our mob and the CFA have a lot in common and we look forward to exploring our commonalities and how we can be more connected in the future” she said.

The event was supported by Melton and Brimbank City Councils.

Last Updated: 02 June 2014