PHOTO: Dane Collett, Bentley Fuller, Braithan Leonard (front), Leo Forbes, Ngaali Boney (front) and Khizah Burns get in touch with their inner animal.
LOCAL YOUNGSTERS went into the long weekend with a fresh understanding and appreciation for Indigenous culture following an evening of dancing and bush tucker by the river.
Over sixty people, including dozens of children braved the cold Friday evening winds for the first Coonamble Community Corroboree at The Cutting on the Castlereagh River.
The day was organised by Josh Toole-Thurston from BlackFit Fitness, an organisation which has previously organised traditional dances for children to perform at local Indigenous events.
Mr Toole-Thurston said the idea behind the event was to start putting a new sense of pride and consistency in local Aboriginal culture.
“I want it to be a community-led initiative,” Mr Toole-Thurston said.
“I’m happy to come out and facilitate it but, I’d want to have the community behind this movement.”
“We’ve got some parents helping out big time, which is good and we organised a couple of community organisations to come on board but it’d be good if even more can jump on board and help.”
The corroboree involved individual dances from a collection of young boys and girls as well as a group dance led by Mr Toole-Thurston representing the Rainbow Serpent, which is considered a creator god in Aboriginal culture.
Mr Toole-Thurston has planned out six fortnightly sessions of the corroboree, which involves cultural dancing, games and a campoven cooked dinner.
“The first couple of sessions is geared towards youth of any age, if they can walk they can dance,” he said.
“The adults can jump in if they want but it will probably take a bit more time for them to come around and get into it.”
Mr Toole-Thurston said he was really pleased with the turnout at the first corroboree.
However, he said he could see it evolving to be something much bigger in the Coonamble community.
“There’s a lot of good dance groups around, tonight we had James Hoglin from Gunnedah who’s really into his dancing and songs and the idea is to bring in more people like James to help inspire the community as well as the kids to get around it,” he said.
“Six sessions is what it’s going to be to start off with but if a couple of organisations from around town can jump on board, we can stretch it out a bit longer.
“There’s also other big corroborees throughout New South Wales, so we could even look at taking a bus of kids and their parents over for one of those events or they can look at coming over here and we can host it. There’s a lot of room to move.”
The next local corroboree will be held later this month.