Art workshops, live music and dance circles: here’s what to do on Australia’s Nainmurra Nguurruu Day in the capital

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“I am, you are, we are Australians.”

Never have the emblematic words of The Seekers been more sincere than on this January 26th.

Inviting Canberrans to come together to reflect, respect and celebrate the Australian experience, from its origins millennia ago to today, the ACT Government has created an unforgettable event for the entire community this year.

Reflecting on and acknowledging the fusion of traditions and peoples that makes the country so unique while celebrating our future, our survival and our voice, Nainmurra Nguurruu Australia Day is a two-day event with engaging and interactive experiences across the capital.

The term Nainmurra Nguurruu, meaning ‘to take care of the camp’, was offered by the local Ngambri (Kamberri) Ngurmal Walgalu ancestors.

The story comes from the creator and protector, Biaami, who sent the ancestral spirits to create the world, sing people, plants, animals, rivers and mountains and teach them how to feed, care for and care for themselves. take care of each other. .

The meaning of the term was amplified throughout the celebration, seeing national attractions come to life when lit in warm hues, reflecting the colors of the campfire – an invitation for Canberrans to sit together and share stories.

According to ACT Events spokesperson Ross Triffitt, the themes of Reflect, Respect and Celebrate are about recognizing and identifying that Australia Day means different things to different people.

“There is a rich history and a variety of stories about Australians and Reflect, Respect, and Celebrate is about everyone who is part of that story,” he says. “It’s about reflecting on our First Nations people and Australia’s 60,000+ year old history and respecting that culture and new Australians and celebrating an event for all Australians.”

“We wanted to make sure we had an inclusive event that was culturally appropriate and tailored to recognize these key pillars of the event.”

Officially kicking off on Sunday 23rd January with screenings of Australian of the Year recipients on the National Carillon, the evening of Tuesday 25th January will see Australia’s Nainmurra Nguurruu Day present a meaningful and intimate First Nations event at the Nerang Pool in the Commonwealth Park.

Sharing Indigenous culture through dance, song and storytelling, the event will encourage audiences to reflect on the richness of the world’s oldest culture, celebrate the individual talents of extraordinary artists and have open conversations. and honest with the first families.

Among the performers is one of Australia’s finest didgeridoo players, Yamitji man Mark Atkins. He will take the stage with native music group, The Stiff Gins, to transport attendees to a world of joy, spirit and song. There will also be a circle dance, with performances by Mulleun Dreaming, Wiradjuri Echoes and Muggera.

From there, on Wednesday January 26, the lawns of Commonwealth Park will bloom with workshops, food tents and live performances.

Delighting in the diversity of contemporary Australia, Ross says the program is designed to showcase the fusion of cultures that inhabit our sunburned country.

“It’s important to recognize the history of Australia and our traditional custodians, as well as the multicultural vibrancy of what Australia is,” he says.

“So being able to showcase cultures that people might not be too familiar with and then sharing them on a day that’s particularly focused on inclusion is an important part of the program.”

Beginning at 10:30 a.m., traveling performers including Prosperous Mountain Dragon and Lion Dance will entertain attendees while music lovers can enjoy a lineup of local artists who will bring the park to life with music and dance.

Michael Simic the Balkan Elvis will join rock ‘n’ roller Wiradjuri Jerikye Williams for a smooth musical journey performing classics and original songs, with a special appearance from Aunty Maria Williams, while Zambezi Sounds will deliver a performance that fuses African music contemporary and traditional. .

For children there is also plenty to do.

Dale Huddleston will host an artistic and collaborative art workshop with calico paintings for all ages at Kangaroo Pond Lawns and families can navigate their way through the Aboriginal art market which represents an incredible gathering of Aboriginal creatives.

With something for all ages, it’s an opportunity for Canberra to come together, enjoy the diversity of local talent and appreciate that we are one, but many of us.

Please note that due to COVID, events may be subject to change. Keep an eye out for the latest information and follow the Events ACT social media accounts for updates.

For more information and for the full program, visit


What: Nainmurra Nguurruu Australia Day in the capital

When: January 25 and 26

Where: Commonwealth Park


Featured Image: Michael Weir (Wizz). Picture provided.

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