Kooris making a community contribution

“JUST as the elders lit the way in the past, our children are the light of the future.”

With those words, Aboriginal Community Development Officer, Robert Waters, encapsulated this year's NAIDOC Week celebrations in Coffs Harbour.

More than 50 people gathered at the council chambers for a flag-raising ceremony to mark the beginning of the week's festivities, with the flag raised at half mast for 30 seconds to symbolise the historic apology to the stolen generation earlier this year.

The crowd moved inside for the NAIDOC Awards ceremony, where members of the local Indigenous community were recognised for their work and effort.

Coffs Harbour Mayor Keith Rhoades said the awards are an ideal way of highlighting the achievements of local Aboriginals.

“A great deal of work is carried out quietly by people who don't realise the huge contribution they are making, not just to the Indigenous community, but to the whole community,” Cr Rhoades said.

Awards were given in three categories, with Vicki Filewood winning the Education award, Wendy Craig winning in the category of Art and Culture, and dual winners Trevor Wilson and Jordan Hoskin-Kelly for the Sports award.

Special mention was given to Andrea Brown in the Education category, with the committee impressed with her nomination and encouraging her to continue her excellent work.

The theme of this year's NAIDOC Week is 'Advance Australia Fair?' and the aim is to encourage people to reflect on the Australian principle of a 'fair go' and for everyone to consider the inequalities still experienced by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in our country.

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Local Partners