Belgrave Survival Day – Celebrating 10 years

smoking-ceremonySmoking ceremony photo by D.Clarke.

On Thursday the 26th January, 2017, Belgrave Survival Day will celebrate its 10th consecutive year. Once again celebrating Indigenous culture and the survival of Australia’s First Nations people through 228 years of white settlement. This year’s festival will focus on the theme of ‘Knowing your local history, and as always is a free family friendly event.

This year the theme focuses on understanding your local history. If there is one action a person can do to show solidarity and start to bridge the gap between indigenous and non-indigenous people it is to get to know your local history. This year award winning author Bruce Pascoe will be a special guest speaker sharing stories from our local history. Author and historian Jim Poulter will also have a stall with books outlining Victoria’s indigenous history.

The Welcome to Country and smoking ceremony will be led by Wurundjeri elder and educator, Uncle Bill Nicholson, followed by traditional dances performed by ‘The Djirri Djirri’ dance mob where the audience will be invited to join in. Aunty Dot Peters will also grace us with her presence and share some of her wisdom.

Djirri Djirri Dance Group courtesy of their facebook pageThe Djirri Djirri dance mob.

The line up includes Benny Walker, who will be on the stage again as the lead act with his band. His love songs and epic tales are mixed with passion for the land, the people. His summer vibes and deep grooves are elements that reach the soul.

Benny Walker and BandBenny and the band.

The day will also welcome back The Deans, who will bring classic sounds and grooves with velvet smooth vocals, sweet harmonies, soaring heartbreak guitar, deep Mo-town bass grooves and hip-shaking rhythms. They are sure to get you moving.

Benny and The Deans will be supported by Gunditjmara singer songwriter Jayden Lillyst. Jayden tells stories of his people through a dose of country rock mixed with soul and blues.

The fabulous voices of the Mullum Mullum Choir and the vibes of the Hip Hop Crew will also feature. Then be calmed as you participate in a Digeridoo Mediation with Gnarnayarrahe Waitiarie (Uncle Joey).

There will be plenty of activities to keep the kids (and adults) busy with fun music and dance, art and craft opportunities, the children’s playground and more.

Soak up the atmosphere on a picnic rug in front of the stage or stroll around the market and information stalls. Catering for all food requirements with a variety of food trucks including traditional bush tucker. This event is alcohol-free.

Due to parking limitations around the park the Survival Day organisers strongly encourage people to catch public transport, carpool or park at Belgrave Train Station where you can get the shuttle bus provided, or take a quick 5 minute walk to Borthwick Park.

The event will be simulcasts on 3MDR 97.1 FM.

To find out more go to Belgrave Survival Day facebook or events page

When: 26th January 2017
Time: 12 noon – 4.30pm
Where: Borthwick Park (next to Belgrave Pool) Benson St, Belgrave.
Melways reference 75/F11


The Belgrave Survival Day event is organised by a committee of volunteers. They invite new volunteers to help with preparations for the festival, to assist on the day, or join the committee to keep the event happening in the future.

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Coranderrk Festival 2014

Post by Kathryn.

Eighteen months ago sisters Jacqui Wandin and Brooke Collins, descendants of Coranderrk, had a dream. They dreamed of finding a way for everyone, indigenous and non-indigenous, to share with them the beauty and history of Coranderrk Station. With their father, Allan Wandin, they expanded that dream to celebrate the strength and resilience of the original Coranderrk community.

Their dream evolved into the 2013 Festival which commemorated the 150th Anniversary of the founding of the station.  The festival would be built around the celebration of pride and cultural identity.  Even though the people had been forcibly dispersed, 75 years later their spirits remain strong in the hearts of their descendants. A gap in Victorian history had closed when 200 acres of the original 4,850 acres were returned to indigenous ownership.

Barak and other elders wanted a place where Kulin people could feel safe. Imagine the impact of being dispossessed over and over again. Allan, Jacqui and Brooke showed the world that Barak’s dream lives on. For them now, in the 21st century, Coranderrk means having a place where you can feel connected to country and be proud of who you are, a place where both triumphs and tragedies can be commemorated and celebrated.

What a great day the 2013 Festival was! Pride and cultural identity were celebrated.  Descendants, their families and friends were united and reunited and for some it was their first visit to Coranderrk. Families were brought together; extended families were united and reunited. People were able to connect with their history in ways that brought the past to life. It was wonderful a day for all festival-goers – a day of music, stories, laughter and tears.

Barbara Oehring-3.Festival2013 Barbara Oehring-1.Festival2013 Barbara Oehring--2.Festival2013

The 2014 Coranderrk Festival will once again give tribute to the dignity and resilience of Victoria’s indigenous people. A warm invitation is extended to everyone, indigenous and non-indigenous, to join descendants of the Coranderrk community in a family day of music, culture and dance, shared photos and stories in the Yarn tent, art and traditional crafts such as basket weaving, ochre-making, children’s activities, food and market stalls.

The music line-up includes singer, musician and artist June Mills from Darwin, Coloured Stone, The Shane Howard Trio, Telecom Joe, Alesa Lajana. The dance program will include The Djirri Djirri Dance Group who are the only Wurundjeri women and girls’ dance group open to all Aboriginal women.  Also dancing will be the Dardee Balagamdail Aboriginal Dance Group, a united group of Aboriginal men and youth who celebrate their strong cultural heritage through the expression of interactive dance.

Everyone is invited to the festival, to contribute to the continuing Coranderrk journey as plans for property restoration and rejuvenation proceed.

Brooke and Jacqui want us all to know that ‘Everyone, indigenous and non-indigenous, is very welcome to attend events at Coranderrk unless otherwise specified.’

They say: ‘Our history is a shared history, let’s celebrate it together!

PS. Mark the 15th in your diaries. It’s gonna be big!’
Facebook – 2014 Coranderrk Festival

Photos by Barbara Oehring