Our Connection Program is designed to work with the community to link people with services, provide support and facilitate referrals. Our funding body, the NSW Government Department of Communities and Justice (DCJ), has changed funding focus under the Targeted Early Intervention (TEI) reform to emphasise groups including Aboriginal children, families and communities, 0-5 year olds, children and young people at risk of disengaging and young parents experiencing hardships.
We are focused on Community Strengthening – activities that build cohesion, inclusion and wellbeing across all communities, and empower the Aboriginal community.
To that end, we have worked to establish a network of partnerships throughout the local community, including with local pre-schools and playgroups.
This year BWNG offered Gathang workshops, which have had a positive impact in making Gathang culture and language accessible to members of Gloucester's Indigenous community. More...
Traditional weaving workshops teach an age-old skill to both indigenous and non-indigenous locals. More...
On Tuesday 27th September, Bucketts Way Neighbourhood Group Inc (BWNG) hosted a holiday fun day at Minimbah Gardens, Gloucester District Park. More...
NAIDOC is an acronym for National Aborigines and Islanders Day Observance Committee and celebrates the history, culture and achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples. Gloucester NSW marked NAIDOC Week 2022 with a raft of events and programs for adults and children alike. More...
Working with Worimi/Biripi knowledge holder Benn Saunders and funded through the Federal Indigenous Languages and Arts Program (ILA), the Gathang Revitalisation project has given members of our local Aboriginal community the opportunity to learn Gathang, the Aboriginal language in our area - Worimi and Biripi country.
Additionally, the workshops have strengthened interconnection within the local Aboriginal community, enhanced collaboration with other indigenous communities (Mainly Taree), opened pathways for the sharing of knowledge, and built the capacity of searching family tree information.
Around 25 participants have been involved in the workshops, including a kid's workshop for the emerging generation of the Worimi and Biripi nations.
Due to the rarity of Gathang speakers the language workshops are currently open to the Aboriginal community only, but the project is on track for five participants to take the next step in their language journey by becoming Accredited Language Holders. Having extra Gathang speakers to share their knowledge will hopefully allow us to open the incredibly popular workshops to the wider community.
Inspired by NAIDOC Week 2020 BWNG's Connections Program Officer, Amber Galvin enlisted the help of Worimi women Aunty Pam Saunders and Joedie Lawler, to facilitate Indigenous weaving workshops.
The first workshops to commence were Women's Weaving Workshops, which brought together Indigenous and non-Indigenous women to weave items such as dilly bags and baskets before undertaking one large wall hanging together.
The wall hanging - a collaborative piece representing our region through blue netting for the sky, multicoloured woven circles for the families in the community and a long piece of wood representing the mountains - was displayed at Gloucester Art Gallery as part of a cultural exhibition for NAIDOC week 2022.
The project became especially poignant with the passing of Aunty Pam and her son Jay, in August of 2021.
A photograph of the wall hanging taken by Amber Galvin was recognised with the following awards:
2nd Place - 2022 Friends of the Rural Health Alliance Photography Competition
1st Place - 2022 Pix from the Stix - Culture
As the revitalisation of Gathang culture filters through the community, weaving workshops are now imparting the ancient skill to the younger generation at Gloucester High School. The weekly workshops are run by Amber for Indigenous students and their friends to learn to weave, and hopefully light a spark that will inspire them to continue their cultural education.
The sun was shining, the park was looking amazing and the event was a huge success according to feedback from both children and parents. The event saw at least 200 people attending the gardens!
The kids had a fun-filled day with face painting, hair weaves, clay modelling, arts and crafts, sports activities, boomerang throwing and a treasure hunt. With fantastic involvement from the kids, we planted over 30 new natives and bush tucker plants around the gardens. The kids loved learning about what the plants are and their uses.
We were also lucky to have a demonstration by local paramedic Jodie House on how to use a snake bite kit, plus free snake bite kits were available for attendees.
The day was topped off with a free sausage sizzle, fruit, lemon myrtle and strawberry gum tea, drinks and cake.
We would also like to thank all the volunteers and providers for their assistance on the day.
The day was made possible via funding through the NSW Government’s Regional Youth Spring Holiday Break Program
'For Our Elders' was the NAIDOC theme for 2023.
BWNG organised a NAIDOC-themed colouring-in competition over the week of NAIDOC, with the winners taking home an Indigenous-themed beach towel.
NAIDOC Day itself (Saturday 9th July) began with the raising of the flags at Billabong Park, followed by the main event of the day – a Family Fun Day at Gloucester Recreation Centre.
Participants of the Family Fun Day enjoyed a bush tucker tasting, sausage sizzle, hair weaves, face-painting, kid’s games, infomation and more.
Local service providers and organisations operated information stalls.
The day was a collaboration between BWNG and Gloucester Worimi First People’s Aboriginal Corporation (GWFPAC) to celebrate the history, culture and achievements of the Indigenous community.
Check out this video compilation by local Worimi woman Ayrleah Walker, honouring Gloucester's Indigenous community as they explore what NAIDOC week means to them.
We would like to acknowledge the traditional custodians of this land from the Worimi and Biripi Country
and pay our respects to Elders past, present & future.
(Artwork: 'Home' by a team of local Indigenous Artists)