The Gai-mariagal Festival keeps the flame alive

Last modified on 21 May 2024


Willoughby City Council is a proud contributor of the annual Gai-mariagal Festival that will occur from 26 May through to the end of NAIDOC Week on 14 July 2024. This year festival’s theme Keep the Flame Alive invites us to bring people together and foster a new understanding between the First Nations Peoples and the wider community.

Councillor Tanya Taylor, Mayor of Willoughby, said the festival reflects Council’s ongoing commitment to reconciliation and strengthening relationships with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.

The festival will put on a real feast of performances, food, art and participation-friendly events. The Gai-mariagal Festival, founded 24 years ago, will coincide with significant events including Sorry Day, National Reconciliation Week and NAIDOC Week.

“Our community is mindful of the need to increase our understanding of Indigenous issues, while celebrating the joys of cultural diversity.” Mayor Taylor said.

Residents will be provided with a rare glimpse into the Gai-mariagal vibrant culture and traditions in our local area.

Willoughby City Council is hosting several events across the Local Government Area some of which include:

Aunty Time for Adults (29 May 2024): This workshop is aimed at educating and understanding about the histories of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples to develop a deeper understanding of cultural diversity and the role it plays in our lives.

Significance of trees – an indigenous perspective (5 June 2024): A talk exploring the practical and spiritual connection between Aboriginal people and trees. Karen Smith from the Aboriginal Heritage Office will share the cultural and social significance of trees and other native plants, sharing insights and stories from a First Nation perspective.

X-Change exhibition (13 June – 14 July 2024): This exhibition features new works exploring themes of de-colonisation, domesticity, and survival through art and community.  X-Change is a new exhibition created by the Re-Right Collective (Carmen Glynn-Braun and Dennis Golding). Bringing their knowledge and experiences in public art and community events to their practice, these artists highlight the ways in which stories are approached through conversation. 

School holidays bushwalk NAIDOC Week (9 July 2024):

A bushland activity for school aged children to celebrate and appreciate NAIDOC Week.

Kids can gain an understanding of what NAIDOC Week means with an Indigenous guide from Sydney bushfood farm, ‘Bush to Bowl’. Explore the bushland edge of the beautiful Lane Cove River and consider its immense value for the Gai-mariagal people and other nearby clans. The activity and walk will involve some interactive activities and walking on steep bush stairs. Appropriate only for children aged 5 and up. Please bring water, snack, and hat.

Proudly funded by the NSW Government.

Produced by Willoughby City Council.

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