Mayor throws down language challenge at NAIDOC Week | Photos, videos

LANGUAGE MATTERS: NAIDOC Week committee chairman Gerald Power with mayor Reg Kidd at Robertson Park following the official opening on Monday. Photo: JUDE KEOGH
LANGUAGE MATTERS: NAIDOC Week committee chairman Gerald Power with mayor Reg Kidd at Robertson Park following the official opening on Monday. Photo: JUDE KEOGH

The largest ever crowd marched down Summer Street to celebrate the start of the city’s NAIDOC Week events.

An estimated 2000 people marched through to Robertson Park to officially begin the week of celebrations themed around indigenous languages.

As well as community members, an estimated 1800 school children marched.

Following the march, people gathered for the official ceremony to open NAIDOC Week 2017 in Orange.

“I believe you are the generation that will make a huge difference in the reconciliation pathway in our country,” Mayor Reg Kidd told the crowd.

Councillor Kidd said reconciliation was a “long road” but the next step could be as simple as learning Wiradjuri.

He challenged school students, Member for Orange Phil Donato and Member for Calare Andrew Gee to learn the Welcome to Country in Wiradjuri by next year.

VIDEO: The NAIDOC Week 2017 march along Summer Street on Monday.

Far from shirking from his own challenge, Cr Kidd said he had already found a tutor so he could recite the language as well.

Orange NAIDOC Week committee chairman Gerald Power said the event was a significant opportunity to respect the first nation people.

He said the number of people at the march was demonstration of the importance of the week’s celebrations.

“It’s a chance to talk about our shared journey,” Mr Power said.

“The number of school children reflects the importance of NAIDOC Week to the community.”

Mr Power said before colonisation there were 250 indigenous languages spoken in Australia and now there were 120 left.

“We were forbidden to talk in our native tongues with grim consequences,” he said.

However, that had begun to change with scribes working to record as much of indigenous language as possible from Aboriginal elders.

“It’s about sharing – we don’t care who talks it, we couldn’t before now we can.”

VIDEO: Michael Newman gives the Welcome to Country in Wiradjuri and English.

Following the opening ceremony the Orange Aboriginal Educational Consultative Group handed out a number of awards.

Anson Street School

  • Jarmal Dodds
  • Daniel Ball
  • Tyrese Ah-See
  • Kiarra Uppal

Blechington Public School

  • Tabitha-Lee Wright
  • Isaiah Magnus

Borenore Public School

  • Zac Moore

Bowen Public School

  • Tyson Edwards
  • Takai Edwards

Calare Public School

  • Jahkai Eldridge
  • Amelia Kendall

Canobolas Public School

  • Sehlbi Seis

Canobolas Rural Technology High School

  • Max Wilson
  • Jada Murphy

Catherine McAuley Catholic Primary School

  • Paityn Klaare
  • Millicen Klaare

Glenroi Heights Public School

  • Jayanna Dixon
  • Kaiden Jones

James Sheahan Catholic High School

  • Rose Porter
  • Olivia Vivian

Kinross Wolaroi School

  • Alana Tompkins
  • Rhys Draper

Mullion Creek Public School

  • Piper Dening
  • James Magick

Nashdale Public School

  • Carson Ostini
  • Sharni Ostini

Orange Anglican Grammar School

  • Mackai Tarleton
  • Vanessa Drabsch

Orange Christian School

  • Sharone Moore
  • Lekirra Grace

Orange East Public School

  • Simone Gow
  • Evelyn Parkes

Orange High School

  • Shane Robbins
  • Tyson Munday

Orange Public School

  • Madison Gwynne
  • Jayden King

Spring Terrace Public School

  • Erjan Yesil

St Mary’s Catholic School

  • Addison Pellow
  • Bella Slattery


  • A sports day will be held at the Waratah Sports Grounds and Aboriginal elders will visit preschools on Tuesday.
  • NAIROC will be held at Orange Function Centre from 9am on Wednesday.
  • Thursday is elders’ day, there will be a lunch at the Aboriginal Lands Council building in Dalton Street. Orange Health Service will hold a morning tea.
  • A golf day will be held at the Orange Ex-Services’ Club on Friday, November 17, starting with 7.30am for breakfast and a shotgun at 9am. Tickets to play are $50 including t-shirt, catering and greens fees.
  • Orange’s NAIDOC Week will wrap up with a community ball at the Orange Ex-Services’ Club on Saturday, November 18. Tickets are available now for $50 per person with doors opening at 5pm for a 5.30pm, a live band will perform and the dress code is formal. No tickets available on the night.

VIDEO: The Australian, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander flags are raised over Robertson Park.


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