In a show of solidarity and resounding yearning for reconciliation and healing, residents from across the Peel region congregated on the banks of the Murray River on Saturday 28 October for the Back to Pinjarra Day Event.
The Nyungar community stood united with fellow residents at the Pinjarra Massacre Site to commemorate the 183 year anniversary of the Pinjarra Massacre and pay respects to ancestors who have fallen.
According to Shire President Cr. David Bolt, the event created cultural awareness and assisted the spiritual healing of the Bindjareb nation and the first Australians.
“Back to Pinjarra Day demonstrates how the Aboriginal community and the Shire of Murray can work together to unite the wider community, by encouraging acknowledgment of the past so that Murray can move forward toward reconciliation,” Cr. David Bolt said.
The event featured a Welcome to Country by Elder Gloria Kearing, a minute silence and smoking ceremony.
Cultural enlightenment and healing were enhanced through traditional dance and an open mic session which enabled the sharing of past experiences.
Attendees appeased their appetites with traditional cuisine of kangaroo stew and damper and were entertained by live music and didgeridoo performances.
Children enjoyed an activity corner run by the Pinjarra Aboriginal Playgroup as well as tribal face painting and were able to purchase cultural wristbands.
The Aboriginal Blessing Stick was passed between Elder Harry Nannup and Shire President Cr. David Bolt, as a blessing and welcome to the new President.
“The Blessing Stick encourages open conversation, as local Elders and Council continue prosperous and progressive conversations to enable further reconciliation and healing for the Murray community,” Cr. Bolt said.
Elders expressed the importance of cultural celebrations such as Back to Pinjarra Day, for honouring and remembering the old people, allowing healing, bringing the community together and moving forward as one.
Elders hoped the event was the first of many.
Back to Pinjarra Day was proudly supported by the WA Primary Health Alliance (WAPHA) through the Shire of Murray’s ‘Completing the Circle’ project.
Photos by: Josh Cowling