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Byron Shire
January 22, 2022

Storylines: NAIDOC Week 2020 – Always Was Always Will Be

Latest News

Greens Mandy Nolan to hold community forum in support of nurses and paramedics

Locally and across the state nurses, and paramedics are struggling in the face of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic as they are being asked to do double shifts and manage effectively in health system that is struggling to cope. This has led to an increasing number of nurses and paramedics resigning.

Other News

Entertainment in the Byron Shire and beyond for the week beginning 19 January, 2022

Welcome back to the Brunswick Picture House Brett and Chris from the Brunswick Picture House, and their entire team, believe...

Vale Byron girl, Patricia Marcia Dailhou 

Patricia, better known as Pat or Patsy, was born in Byron Bay in 1933 and was the second eldest of nine, to Horace Cecil Vernon Freeman (better known as ‘Bluey’) and Dorothy Lulu Freeman (nee Daniels). 

Localisation shines as supply chains weaken

While Coles and Woolworths struggle with supply chain issues caused by the Omicron outbreak, local farmer’s markets and independent food retailers appear to be coming into their own.

Cartoon of the week – 19 January, 2022

The Echo loves your letters and is proud to provide a community forum on the issues that matter most to our readers and the people of the NSW north coast. So don't be a passive reader, send us your epistles.

Casino’s winning tap water ways

Yesterday Casino was announced as the winner of the Water Industry Operators Association of Australia’s Ixom 2021 Best Tasting Tap Water in Australia competition.

Bungawalbin primitive bush camp: death by a thousand cuts

Locals are raising concerns in relation to a Development Application for a ‘Community Facilities – Primitive camp ground' near Coraki that they say is a site prone to severe flooding and fire risk.

This article is made possible by the support of Ninbella Gallery.

Belle Budden

Thousands of supporters turned out for a rally in Byron Bay to honour George Floyd and show solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement.

It’s fast approaching that time of year when Black Lives do Matter – National Aborigine and Islanders Day Observance Committtee (NAIDOC) Week. Normally held in the first full week of July, 2020 has seen COVID-19 push NAIDOC Week back till 8–15 November. This year, more than ever, our community needs to come together to celebrate our strength in our cultural identity, country, and our relationships with each other.

NAIDOC celebrations in Apex Park Byron Bay.

The theme for NAIDOC Week this year is ‘Always Was, Always Will Be’ and recognises that First Nations people have occupied and cared for this continent for over 65,000 years. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are spiritually and culturally connected to this country, our collective adaptation and intimate knowledge of Country has enabled us to endure climate change, catastrophic droughts, and rising sea levels. We have always worked together to share our skills and knowledge to benefit our people, our culture, and our country.

There are elements of Aboriginal First Nations culture that are ancient and enduring, and some that have evolved in response to colonisation. Importantly culture continues to and has evolved through the impacts of genocide and through the impacts of new technologies. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture is the oldest living cultural on planet Earth and the theme for NAIDOC Week celebrates the hard work of our old people to ensure this legacy for our people continues.

NAIDOC week celebrations 2019. Photo Tree Faeri.

Stop the culture of death

In 2020 First Nations Australians drew breath as the world stopped for the Black Lives Matters (BLM) movement. Over 6,000 people attended the Black Lives Matter protests in the Byron Shire, standing with the world to stop the violence and killings of black people in custody. Shockingly, since then, our people have continued to die in custody here in Australia. As culture evolves and laws are changed I hope that we won’t pass this culture of death in custody, and the unaccountability of those who perpetrate these crimes, on to future generations of First Nations Australians. We can, and must, do better.

Celebrating together for change

Bunyarra Culture Collective has curated an exceptional program of events for the Byron Shire community at the Bangalow A&I Hall. The program is diverse and rich; including Bush Tucker tours with Arakwal woman Delta Kay, music performance with renowned songstress Emily Wurramarra and Aine Tyrrell – showcasing their incredible collaboration ‘We Call You Know’, a week long Aboriginal Art Exhibition, weaving workshops, art workshops and more.

Zion Engagement and Planning training is being launched by Elle Davidson during NAIDOC week. Photo supplied.

Initiative and community

An exciting and unique offering this NAIDOC Week is the launch of locally-based Zion Engagement and Planning training with Elle Davidson. Elle is a Balanggarra woman from the East Kimberley and one of the few town planners who identify as Aboriginal, she worked at Byron Shire Council after graduating from Mullumbimby High School and the University of Queensland. Elle is also a descendant of Captain William Bligh and she feels uniquely placed to navigate two worlds and two systems.

Elle started Zion to assist the built environment industry in working with Country, community, and culture. There is a growing desire expressed through industry and government requirements to achieve better outcomes by starting with Country.

Through Zion, Elle seeks to empower mob to care for Country, strengthen community, and revive culture. Elle is developing training packages with OneTime Productionz for the built environment industry to develop awareness and personal commitments to Aboriginal Cultural Frameworks of country, culture, and community.

‘I hope the Zion training will create a learning platform where the built environment professionals feel equipped to work with Country, community and culture. This will result in better outcomes where mob feel their voice is empowered, they have authority in decision-making, and Country is cared for by Aboriginal people,’ Elle said.

‘We will be launching the first training module – “Working with Country” during NAIDOC week. This will be an opportunity to watch the training videos and engage in discussions about the content. Although the training is aimed at the built environment industry, everyone will walk away with new knowledge.’

Elle feels an affinity to this year’s NAIDOC week theme, which inspired her in her drive to create this training package.

‘We have never ceded sovereignty of this land and [yet] we have no authority when it comes to decision making for Country. Given the events of 2020, it seems important to stop and listen to the oldest living culture and seek wisdom from people who have always been here; Always was, always will be’.

The Zion launch is Saturday 14 November, 5.30pm in the Bangalow A&I Hall. RSVP via email to [email protected].

The NAIDOC week program has something for everyone, it is an important time to acknowledge, connect and learn with the local Aboriginal community. At the very least, please – stop and give thanks to the Arakwal people of the Bundjalung Nation who have cared for this country for many thousands of years so that we can live here and appreciate the wonder of country.


Storylines – An escape from reality

I am a teacher. I teach at University Canberra, on Ngunnawal country, in ACT. This university went into ‘Lockdown’ about four months ago. We were all locked out of workplace and told to stay home and teach online. ACT Health...

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50 years of Aboriginal Tent Embassy

This 26 January 2022 will be the 50th anniversary of the Aboriginal Tent Embassy in Canberra, Ngambri-Ngunnawal Country. This is an iconic moment in the history of the struggle for justice for Aboriginal people in the country because the Aboriginal Tent Embassy remains as relevant and necessary as ever.

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A prisoner of hope – healing possible as Country returned

In a recent conversation, with a dear friend, Gumilaroi educator Professor Bob Morgan, my spirit was lifted when he told me that after 50+ years of struggling for justice and equity for First Nations’ people in Australia and overseas that he remains ‘a prisoner of hope’ despite the glacial speed of progress and change.

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Storylines – Recognising the importance of gentle men

The world needs gentle men. A gentle man is someone who puts more into the world than he takes out. For me this is an adequate description of First Nations men.

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Storylines – Recognising goanna country

Motivated by the Eddie Mabo case for land rights and the fact that important sites for Aboriginal people were being eaten up by rapacious land development supported by local government, Bandjalang Elder Lawrence Wilson became the prime mover for the original Native Title claims at Evans Head.

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Storylines: Growing hope

Hope is a fragile thing in 2021. With the current pandemic and the uncertainty in so many aspects of life, our hope is being shadowed by fear. It is profoundly affecting our humanity.

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Storylines: Heal Country

As NAIDOC week arrives and we spend another year celebrating from home, it gives us a chance to sit and reflect upon the theme of this year’s celebrations.

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Storylines: Telling our stories connects people to our history and the...

Aboriginal knowledge, is tied up in stories, dance and art. I share my verbal knowledge with Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people. It is about connecting people to our history of country and heritage and also helps them understand their connection to our environment.

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Storylines – the education gap

Access to a good quality education can ensure that an individual will be successful in life. Unfortunately for Indigenous Australians, equal access to educational opportunities have not always existed. Whilst some might argue that this problem is rooted in...

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Storylines – Call for Aboriginal housing and support

Byron Shire has been experiencing increasing rents for over a decade. It has become a very expensive place to live.

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