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A night at Nambucca Heads

Damien with Miklo

Damien with Miklo. Photo by Joy Lai.

There are moments that make you realise how much you love your job, and for me this happened during our night by the Gaagal (sea) and under the Giidany (moon) on spectacular #Gumbaynggirr Country.

It was a cold night at Nambucca Heads and we were all nestled in the caves on the beach with Gumbaynggirr speaker Michael Jarret (Micklo). As we got the fire crackling and Micklo began applying ochre to our faces I couldn’t help but feel an immense sense of pride – pride at our ancestors and Elders who have held onto language and culture through some of the most brutal decades imaginable.

So here we were, staring up at the stars learning Gumbaynggirr stories of creation and hearing oral histories of the ancient middens now buried by the gaagal (sea). As Micklo spoke and sang I could feel the world (and the video camera) dropping away, leaving a profound and deep sense of time that is hard to describe.

It is my most sincere hope that visitors to the #LivingLanguage exhibition will get a glimpse of the profound; that you will get a chance to sense the thriving world of language and culture which continues to exist around us, and inside us.

Damien Webb (Palawa)
Manager, Indigenous Engagement