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West Arnhem communities celebrate their own way

31 January 2023

West Arnhem’s vibrant communities celebrated Australia Day their own way in 2023 with special events held in Warruwi, Minjilang, Maningrida, Gunbalanya and Jabiru.


On Friday, 27 January, the community celebrated ‘Gunbalanya Day’ at the footy oval.
As soon as the event was set up, the kids started gathering around, eager to kick the footy and have a barbecue.
It was a relaxing afternoon with a steak and sausage sizzle, cool drinks and activities such as kicking the footy with community Elders and shooting marbles.
It was great to collaborate with Doug who runs the initiative ‘Stronger Communities For Children’ here in Gunbalanya, and he kindly supplied a chopped fruit board and icy poles for the kids.
Some of the teachers from Gunbalanya School came over to get involved and have a friendly yarn.
Overall it was a good day, with plenty of yarning and fun.
Special thanks to community Elders for coming down and getting involved with the kids, works staff for preparing the footy oval and sprinkler, CDP for lending the barbecue, Community Care for preparing onions and peppers and Doug from SCFC for the fruit and icy poles.

Meanwhile a number of cultural and recreational activities were planned for the 2023 Australia Day festivities at Warruwi.
The Traditional Owners, respected Elders and WARC staff promoted and assisted on the day. 
There were around 120 people in attendance over the course of the day, with the majority staying well over two hours. 
Activities included scratch basketball games, gymnastic equipment, traditional welcome and smoking ceremony, local dance and smoking Lore event with Traditional Owners, local musicians and community members.
There was also local dance from the Church group, painting and arts table for young people and lots of pancakes cooked for a ‘brunch’. 
The most fun and best activity of the day was the slip and slide and colour run.
A big thanks to WARC staff especially Andie, Geri, Toni, Grace, Donna and Miriam for the effort behind the scenes and feeding a lot of people!  

‘Maningrida Day’ was held on Sunday, 29 January and the day commenced with a smoking ceremony at the pool. Following this, the pool party kicked off with lots of games for the children and prizes for the winners and icy poles for those who didn’t win. The slip and slide was a popular addition to the afternoon and everyone also enjoyed the sausage sizzle. 

Also, in Jabiru, more than 60 community members attended the pool party celebration at the Jabiru Pool on Thursday, 26 January. 
There were lots of inflatable pool toys, a slushie machine, an Acknowledgement of Country, music and the ‘Citizen of the Year’ award presentations by Acting Mayor Elizabeth Williams.
Congratulations to the following winners of these awards: Citizen of the Year – Patrick ‘Budda’ May, Young Citizen of the Year – Jema Brown, Community Event of the Year – Jabiru Auskick.
Thank you to the Council staff involved in the event including the pool staff, ALPA for the slushie machine, Andy Ralph as the MC, the Jabiru Childcare and Sodexo.

In Minjilang, the Council team turned the celebration into an End of Summer – back to school event held on Sunday, 29 January.
The event commenced with the Council Services Manager Cathy Makings doing an Acknowledgement to Country, and this was followed by great discussions on how the WARC Minjilang team want to work closely with the school and how important it was for students to attend school.  
The team cooked heaps of sausages, followed by cakes, muffins, lollies and icy poles for everyone.
Tamyka was on-hand doing some face painting and the outdoor crew made up a slip and slide.
We also gave out hats and shirts we had on hand as well. It was a great relaxing afternoon and enjoyed by all.

WARC wishes to thank the Australia Day Council NT for supporting these events.