Loren Ryan, a 19-year-old singer-songwriter from Tamworth, was among the emerging talents who performed at the Young Black and Deadly & Klub Koori Youth Stage. “Yabun is a wonderful platform, especially for a young artist like myself to be able to perform in front of my community and show them how I’ve evolved and grown as an artist, it means the world to me,” Ms Ryan said.
The Corroboree Ground, with Kevin Kropinyeri as MC, was a popular attraction throughout the day, drawing large crowds who watched dance groups from across NSW perform traditional Aboriginal dance. Dance groups included Doonoch Dancers, Koomurri, Black Cockatoo, Wagana and Djaadjawan Dancers. The Corroboree Ground closed with a memorable flash mob, when audience members were invited onto the Corroboree Ground to join the dancing.
This year’s theme, “Our Future, Our Youth”, was taken up in the focus of the festival’s Speak Out Tent with Tracey Cameron, a Gamilaraay language student and teacher, engaging Ray Ingrey, a Dharawal man from La Perouse, Bianca Willians, a Gamilaraay woman, Peta-Joy Williams, a Wiradjuri speaker, Jancita Tobin, a Dhurug woman, Tracey Skinner from Discovery Museum in The Rocks, and Lee Carr, a high school teacher of Wiradgjuri, in a conversation about reviving NSW Aboriginal languages.
Ms Tobin spoke of using songs with young children to “get the taste [of the language] on the tongue” and pointed out to the audience that the nasal accent of “g’day” reveals the Aboriginal influence on our nation’s language.
Lee Carr has taught the Wiradjuri language at Tempe High School for the last two years. The school offers three languages in Year 7 and 8 – Vietnamese, Chinese and Wiradjuri. As Tempe’s is the longest running off-country school Aboriginal language program, Ms Carr’s classroom was chosen as the site last year for the Minister for Aboriginal Affairs to announce funding for the Board of Studies to produce language apps for five Aboriginal languages (Wiradjuri, Gamilaraay, Bundjalung, Paakantji and Gumbaynggirr).
The Aboriginal Education Consultative Group and Chris Evans of the NSW Board of Studies worked with five Aboriginal Language and Culture Nests based around the state – Dubbo (Wiradjuri), Lightning Ridge (Yuwaalaraay), Lismore (Bundjalung), Wilcannia (Paarkkintji) and Coffs Harbour (Gumbaynggirr) – to develop a fully benchmarked Kindergarten to Year 10 language curriculum, and from 2016 there is the opportunity for students to take their language onto Year 12 for the HSC.