The highly anticipated inaugural Corroboree Sydney festival has kicked off with the Gurung Parade, when more than 1,500 primary school children from across Sydney accompanied Corroboree Patron, Her Excellency Professor Marie Bashir AC CVO, Governor of NSW and the Council of Elders as they took over Macquarie Street in a sea of bright red hand-made waratahs to celebrate local Eora culture.
Waratahs or ‘waradas’ remain a significant cultural symbol, not only as the New South Wales state emblem but they also represent undying love to local Aboriginal communities and are central to the poignant and moving story of the white waratah and the love between the ancestral wonga pigeons, their country and their relationships.
Artistic Director Hetti Perkins was among those walking in the parade, delighting in the enthusiasm displayed by the students.
“I’ve had such amazing feedback from teachers and kids, they’ve really enjoyed learning more about the local history and cultural heritage and making their waratahs. Most people think you have to go to the outback to find Aboriginal culture but it’s right here in Australia’s biggest and most cosmopolitan city, its always been here and Corroboree is about celebrating and sharing that culture,” said Ms Perkins.
Supported by The Balnaves Foundation, the Gurung project (gurung meaning ‘child’ in Gadigal) embodies Corroboree Sydney’s aim to promote learning and understanding along with meaningful engagements with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures.
The festival program will deliver a wide range of opportunities for all ages to learn about and connect with Eora and wider Aboriginal traditions, knowledge and histories through visual and performing arts, exhibitions, workshops, films, talks and tours.
Corroboree Sydney 2013 is about celebrating culture and connecting people in recognition of Australia’s rich Indigenous heritage and its ongoing significance and brings together nine of Sydney’s leading cultural organisations under the one banner for the first time; Art Gallery of NSW, The Australian Museum, Bangarra Dance Theatre, Blackfella Films Presents, Museum of Contemporary Art Australia, Koori Radio 93.7FM, the State Library of NSW, Royal Botanic Garden Sydney and the Sydney Opera House.
At the heart of the program is Corroboree Central at Pier 2/3, Hickson Rd, Walsh Bay, home of the festival’s signature events, the Black Arts Market,Corroboree Cinema, the Corroboree Club and Corroboree Studio.
Corroboree Sydney is proudly supported by the NSW Government through its tourism and major events agency Destination NSW. The Gurung Parade is made possible by Major Program Supporter, The Balnaves Foundation.