NAIDOC day in Yarrabah was a day to celebrate the achievements of the past and also looking beyond the present, well into the future. If you were writing the treatment for a movie and selecting a location, there is no better place to set the scene and cast a crew than in “Yarri”
The day began with a float parade and march down the main street. It was clear from the parade that the day was all about young people and children and celebrating the achievements of the past years of struggle and disappointment. There was also a strong message to government from the marchers, that there is a lot more still to be done to “close the gap”.
New figures released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics rank Yarrabah as the Queensland’s poorest local government area. The Bureau ranks communities on social and economic advantage and disadvantage, in the services they receive in the key areas of, Early Childhood, Schooling, Health, Economic Participation, Healthy Homes, Safe Communities, Governance and Leadership.
The parade featured a large contingent of youth and primary school children, street dancing with frequent stops along the way to style up and perform their dances in short bursts of energy, then move along to stop again and entertain their families, their mothers, fathers, uncles, brothers, sisters, grandfathers, grandmothers and great-grandparents, who stood proud and watched their children perform. The final destination was the Park with a backdrop of mango trees, mountains on one side and the sea on the other. The scene was set for a tremendous day of cultural dancing and just plain old fun.
The Mayor in his address took the crowd back to some of the past struggles and outlined Council’s pathway for the future. He urged the people to stay strong support their parents, be proud of their achievements and to support the new direction of Council. Despite the statistics, he urged Government to do more.
QRAM and Black Star’s Network Co-ordinator Gilmore Johnson, with the assistance of community volunteers, set up an information tent and handed out flyers promoting the new Yarrabah radio service, QRAM and the Black Star Network. We were well supported by volunteers, who worked all day face painting and assisted where ever they could. We would have struggled without their support and we are grateful that they were there for the community.
Black Star ran a competition for the day with prizes of family tickets donated by the Cairns Show Society. As you could imagine, as soon as the word got round we were swamped with entries. Early indicators are that Yarrabah Radio is in for a bright future, as we signed up volunteers from the community and school for training sessions, which QRAM will deliver in Yarrabah as soon as the studio is built.
The day finished with a Kup Murray feast, done in the traditional way and after a day of dancing and running around, was just what the doctor ordered.