GREAT DAY TOGETHER: Dominique, Destiny and Rhonda-Lee Lardner at the Saltwater Freshwater Festival.
GREAT DAY TOGETHER: Dominique, Destiny and Rhonda-Lee Lardner at the Saltwater Freshwater Festival. Sam Flanagan

Coffs Coast residents stand together on divisive date

JANUARY 26 is a highly volatile date in the Australian calendar but you wouldn't have known if you were in Coffs Harbour.

As thousands rallied in major cities, the town was united for the Saltwater Freshwater Festival at the Jetty Foreshores.

The spirit of sharing, love and communication underscored the event which featured language workshops led by local Elders, all-day live music and a living showcase of Aboriginal culture from across the Mid North Coast - Coffs' Gumbaynggirr people, along with the Dunghutti, Biripi and Worimi people.

Chris Spencer, a Gumbaynggirr man and general manager of Saltwater Freshwater Arts Alliance, said before the festival that on average 65 per cent of attendees are non-Aboriginal people seeking to understand and celebrate the history of the region's First Nations.

"For us that's extremely heart-warming, sharing information has historically been the way that Aboriginal people communicate and love each other,” he said.

"Saltwater Freshwater projects link Elders with young people in a cultural knowledge transfer, and it's a two-way sharing.

"Elders give traditional knowledge, and young people teach their Elders about technology, such as smartphones, how to record conversation and videos.

"You see big smiles on both sides.”

Below is a gallery of photos from the Saltwater Freshwater event:



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