NAIDOC Week 2012

by Kate C
Publish date
2 July 2012
Comments (4)

Each year, NAIDOC Week celebrates the stories, culture and achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. The theme for this year is they dared to challenge, in tribute to the people who established and protected the Aboriginal Tent Embassy over the past forty years.

People at smoking ceremony People gathered at this morning's smoking ceremony in Milarri Garden. In the foreground are Patrick Greene and Genevieve Grieves.
Image: Ben Healley
Source: Museum Victoria

The start of NAIDOC Week (1-8 July 2012) was marked this morning at Melbourne Museum by a smoking ceremony, with Genevieve Grieves and Mandy Jones raising the Aboriginal flag. Says Bunjilaka Manager Caroline Martin, "Each year we raise a new Aboriginal flag in the Milarri Garden and hold a smoking ceremony; this signifies for us a new year, a symbolic gesture of renewal, honouring the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities both past and present."

  People watching flag-raising Genevieve and Mandy raising the Aboriginal flag.
Image: Ben Healley
Source: Museum Victoria

At the event, CEO Patrick Greene launched the Koorie Guide to Melbourne Museum, a hot-off-the-press, free guidebook to Aboriginal stories embedded within all the galleries of the museum.

Koorie Guide to Melbourne Museum The cover of the new Koorie Guide to Melbourne Museum.
Source: Museum Victoria

Caroline explains that the guide was produced "in response to complaints when we closed the permanent exhibition." The main gallery of Bunjilaka closed earlier this year to allow construction of the new permanent exhibition, First Peoples, that will open in mid-2013. "People were disappointed that they'd come to the museum for an Aboriginal experience, and in their eyes there was no Aboriginal content, which isn't true. Over the last few years, any time a new exhibition was developed, we've talked to the curators to include Aboriginal content."

The Koorie Guide highlights the stories and culture of the traditional owners of Victoria that are embedded in Melbourne Museum's exhibitions. In Wild: Amazing animals in a changing world, visitors are greeted at the entrance by the eagle Bunjil, while in The Melbourne Story, there is a single raven, the only bird in the display that isn't labelled with its scientific name. This is Waa, a sacred figure from Koorie creation stories. "Bunjil is creator of the land, waterways and people and Waa is the protector of all," explains Caroline.

Another purpose of the guide is to show another view of the museum's displays. In the western districts of Victoria, an area near Portland is remembered for the 1829 battle between whalers and Gunditjmara people over the ownership of a beached whale. The Koorie Guide links the popular Blue Whale skeleton exhibit with these Convincing Grounds, so-called because of the terrible violence used by whalers to 'convince' the local people of their right to the whale.

Caroline Martin Bunjilaka Manager Caroline Martin speaking at the NAIDOC Week event this morning.
Image: Ben Healley
Source: Museum Victoria

Caroline worked with colleagues John Patten, Liz Suda and Museum Victoria's Design Studio to compile the Koorie Guide to Melbourne Museum, and she encourages visitors to request a copy of the guide from the cloakroom desk. Come in to Bunjilaka to enjoy the special NAIDOC Week events at Melbourne Museum, too.

Performance in Bunjilaka Accomplished didgeridoo player and Wemba Wemba man Ron Murray performing in Bunjilaka today, as part of NAIDOC Week visitor activities.
Image: John Patten
Source: Museum Victoria


NAIDOC Week official website

MV News: NAIDOC Week 2010

Comments (4)

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Caroline Martin 3 July, 2012 13:22
Magnificent way to begin NAIDOC Week - brilliant blog!! - Happy NAIDOC 2012!!
Kimberley 3 July, 2012 15:24
A wonderful way to start the week, great having everyone down in Bunjilaka! Happy NAIDOC 2012!!
Kay Turvey 18 July, 2012 16:13
Hi I am interested in getting a copy of the 'Koorie Guide to Melbourne Museum' and as I live in Mildura I was hoping that you could post one to me. I work as a Koorie Education Officer in a Catholic Secondary College (St Joseph's College).
Discovery Centre 20 July, 2012 10:49
Hi Kay, I have posted you copies of the Koorie Guide to Melbourne Museum booklet, as well as the brochures for the Milarri Indigenous Gardens Walk and the Boorun's Canoe exhibition.
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Updates on what's happening at Melbourne Museum, the Immigration Museum, Scienceworks, the Royal Exhibition Building, and beyond.