Working together for a shared future - NAIDOC Week

NAIDOC Week 2019 will be celebrated by Australians from all backgrounds between 7 and 14 July.


NAIDOC week's theme for 2019 is "Voice. Treaty. Truth."

This year’s theme reflects the three key elements to the reforms set out in the Uluru Statement from the Heart: Voice. Treaty. Truth. The Uluru Statement has been built on generations of discussion amongst Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, and represents the unified position of First Nation Australians.

Elaine Hamilton from CFA's Volunteer Sustainability Team works alongside Aboriginal communities to provide opportunities for CFA people to get involved with Indigenous events and training.

“Each year at the beginning of Fire Danger Period a CFA station hosts a traditional Aboriginal Smoking Ceremony to herald the start of this significant time,” Elaine said. “We are identifying opportunities for our members to engage with the traditional owners of the land; we have four tribes in our District."

CFA District 20 has held forums in the past in response to the need for culture change and inclusion in many of their communities, and have been implementing initiatives raised in these forums as well as committing to CFA’s Koori Inclusion Action Plan.

“Through our shared culture of fire, our aim is to bring our Aboriginal communities and CFA closer together to really focus on understanding culture, inclusion and community connections,” Elaine said. “From participating in Indigenous fire training programs to taking part in significant local events - we’ve really started establishing a relationship between our brigades and the communities in which they operate.”

Wolithiga elder Richard Ronnan performed a smoking ceremony at the start of a Fire Danger Period. [Photo: Lisa Brettschneider, BASO]

NAIDOC Week will be celebrated in Barmah again this year, where the Yorta Yorta Nation Aboriginal Corporation will play host to a day of themed festivities. CFA people from District 20 will be attending the day to learn, engage and enjoy traditions of the Yorta Yorta Traditional lands - which cover some 20,000 square kilometres on both sides of the Murray River, from Cohuna to Albury/Wodonga. Language will be a focus of the day, in alignment with the NAIDOC 2019 theme.

The Indigenous voice of Australia is more than 65,000 years old. These voices have been passed down through culture and knowledge for millennia, and include know-how, practices, skills, innovations and the language itself.

District 20 have worked tirelessly over the past five years to ensure CFA people are learning about this voice.

Brigades across the state will be celebrating NAIDOC week through a variety of community events and awareness sessions. Some events CFA will be attending and taking part in include:

NAIDOC Children’s Day - Bennet Street, Dandenong (Tuesday 9 July, 10am - 3pm)

CFA Dandenong Fire Brigade and Community Safety members, along with other emergency services including Victoria Police, Victoria State Emergency Service and the Metropolitan Fire Brigade are attending. This event will play host to around a thousand children and families, with CFA home fire safety advice and fire trucks to accompany the Aboriginal cultural displays, activities, dancing and games. Exciting speakers and other exciting activities for the whole family.


Dharnya Family Day - Barmah (Wednesday 10 July, 11am - 3pm)

Presented by the Yorta Yorta Nation Aboriginal Corporation, Dyarnya Family Day includes Aboriginal Flag Raising, traditional Yorta Yorta Dancers, stalls and food, along with other children’s activities. The day is centred around the Yorta Yorta sharing and celebrating their culture and survival during NAIDOC week.

Directions: Follow Sandridge Track into Barmah National Park from Barmah Township

Latrobe Valley NAIDOC Week - Morwell’s “The Gathering Place” (Thursday 11 July, 12:30 - 3pm)

Details TBC.

Emergency Services Family Fun Day - NAIDOC Week (Saturday 13 July, 11am - 2pm)

Lake Tyers Aboriginal Trust are hosting a family day in collaboration with CFA, Victoria State Emergency Service, Victoria Police, Ambulance Victoria and Forest Fire Management Victoria. The day will include a CFA smoke house, lots of emergency vehicles and personnel to engage with, as well as Captain Koala, BBQ lunch and jumping castle on offer. 


Author: Daisy Cleland