MEDIA RELEASE - Elders honoured as hundreds gather at Cronulla during NAIDOC Week

Hundreds of residents and visitors to Sutherland Shire descended on Gunnamatta Park on Thursday to mark National NAIDOC Week at a free community event presented by Sutherland Shire Council and Kurranulla Aboriginal Corporation.

NAIDOC Week recognises the history, culture, and achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, with Cronulla’s event celebrating local Dharawal culture through live entertainment from First Nations performers, a reptile display, inflatable games, cultural talks and workshops, stalls, artwork on show, and more.

The NAIDOC 2023 theme ‘For Our Elders’ set out to pay specific tribute to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Elders and their ongoing contributions to communities across the country.

Sutherland Shire Mayor, Councillor Carmelo Pesce said Council was proud to once again honour the unique history of the traditional custodians of the Sutherland Shire, with this year’s NAIDOC Week theme providing a fitting way to pay tribute to the many local Elders who play such a pivotal role in bringing this history and culture to the fore.

“Our region has an amazing Indigenous history, and it was such a pleasure to be part of another great celebration honouring our local Elders, culture and customs,” Mayor Pesce said.

“I’m proud to lead a Council that is extremely passionate about continuing to provide opportunities for our community to celebrate Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and grow their understanding and appreciation of the world’s oldest living culture, who first called this place home.

“The turnout at this year’s event was sensational, with everyone in attendance thoroughly enjoying the entertainment and activities on offer, so I’d like to take this opportunity to once again thank all involved.”

The days format included a Welcome to Country by Aunty Lola Ryan, representing La Perouse Local Aboriginal Land Council, followed by cultural performances by the Djurwalinjang Dancers, a community performance by Little Blessings Early Learning Centre and an acoustic performance by acclaimed performer and Golden Guitar winner Uncle Col Hardy.

NAIDOC Week occurs annually across the nation in the first week of July and coincides with the winter school holidays, providing families a great opportunity to take part in the activities.