Newcastle will come together in the spirit of reconciliation with a free, family-friendly event at King Edward Park on Australia Day eve.
Ngarrama, a joint initiative of the University of Newcastle (UON) Awabakal Ltd and City Of Newcastle, is an event aimed at enriching the entire Newcastle community by celebrating the richness and resilience of the culture of Awabakal and Woromi people - the traditional owners of Newcastle.
Loren Collyer, Executive Support Officer, Reconciliation at UONs Office of Indigenous Strategy and Leadership said the event, first held in 2022, was inspired by Sydney’s Vigil at Barangaroo.
“When we held it last year we thought we’d get about 400 people and 2500 turned up which just blew our minds,” Loren said.
“The community told us they were ready.”
Ngarrama translates to "sit, listen, and know" and the event aims to provide the Newcastle community with a space to reflect on what life was like in Newcastle or Mooloobinba before 1788, while highlighting the integral role Indigenous culture plays in the makeup of Newcastle’s cultural identity.
Running from 6.15pm to 9pm, Ngarrama will kick off with a public artmaking workshop in which the community will come together to create a collaborative artwork.
The eclectic program also includes a smoking ceremony, traditional dance, storytelling, performances by award-winning Woromi and Gamilaroi songwriter Jacob Ridgeway and 2023 Toyota Star Maker winner Loren Ryan.
There will also be performances by dance troupes Midnight Dreaming, Winangay Dreaming Dancers, Curious Legends will be bringing along some giant native animal puppets that are sure to entertain the whole family, and much more.
“It’s really all about bringing everyone together and making everyone feel that sense of connection and unity,” Loren said.
Ngarrama is on at King Edward Park on Wednesday 25 January from 6.15pm.