The 2014 Coranderrk Festival was in some ways a continuation of the the 150th Anniversary festival the previous year which commemorated the founding of the station and honoured the people who made it a successful, vital and sustainable village. The inaugural 2013 festival had been an unqualified success despite the sudden storm which brought about the early end to the celebrations. Yet still there lingered a sense of ‘unfinished business’ and the decision was made to hold the second festival.
The 2014 festival once again brought together young and old, Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal, from many communities – some from interstate – to join Coranderrk descendants as they remembered and celebrated their ancestors in a family day of music and dance, shared stories and art and traditional crafts such as basket weaving, ochre-making, children’s activities, food and market stalls.
Once again Coranderrk Station was transformed into a place of music, dance and story-telling, and cultural activities such as basket weaving. The Elders’ and Yarn tents thronged with people making discoveries of connections and shared histories.
The music program included performances by June Mills, traditional owner of Larrakia land and a well-known Darwin singer, songwriter and artist. June captivated the audience with her songs of the people, landscape and stories of her country. Bobby Burrungarr from NE Arnhem Land performed a Waak Waak Djungi reunion gig with Sebastian Jorgensen and Sally Grice.
The Shane Howard Trio continued the music program with their songs deeply evocative of Australia. Alesa Lajana, innovative singer and musician, shared her songs which grew from ‘the connections with those who walk this life with us’.
Traditional dances were performed by the Djirri Djirri Dance Group, a Wurundjeri women’s and girls’ group open to all Aboriginal women. They wer joined by the Dardee Balagamdail Aboriginal Dance Group comprised of Aboriginal men and boys who celebrate their strong cultural heritage through interactive dance and audience participation.
The music of Coloured Stone with its mix of rock, reggae, country and disco, reverberated around the usually peaceful paddocks of Coranderrk and had the audience on their feet. The festival ended with well-known local band Telecom Joe who continued the festival atmosphere with their selection of rock covers.
Barak and other elders wanted a place where Kulin people could feel safe. With the two Coranderrk festivals, Allan, Jacqui and Brooke have shown the world that the dream lives on and the journey continues.