Oyster Festival highlights Yuin culture

Cooking over a fire pit at this year’s Narooma Oyster Festival (Saturday 5 May) will highlight that Aboriginal people have been cooking seafood along the shores of south coast NSW for thousands of years.

Katungul Aboriginal Corporation is a major partner of this year’s Festival. That partnership will support a programme of activities about many aspects of local Yuin culture.

‘We’ve usually just had an art tent at the Oyster Festival but this time we’ll have a lot of Aboriginal activities that will show everyone the love and pride we have in our culture,’ said Yuin artist Cheryl Davison who is independently organising most of the Aboriginal programme. ‘It’s our time to really shine.

Above: Yuin artist Cheryl Davison says members of the local Aboriginal community are excited to be demonstrating their cooking over a fire pit at this year’s Narooma Oyster Festival (Saturday 5 May).

‘Many people from our community are particularly excited at the opportunity of cooking seafood their traditional way over a fire pit on the shores of the Inlet and sharing it. When we go camping we cook this way; it’s beautiful tucker, good family cooking and our way of getting back to our culture.

‘Six groups from the Narooma area, a mix of Elders and younger people, will each have an hour to cook a dish that may include oysters, abalone, bimbalas or mullet, and offer it for tasting. Each family has their own way of cooking.

‘We’re hoping the fire pit will have that spirit of welcoming people in for a feed.’

Yuin Elder and educator Noel Butler will have a bush tucker stall near the fire pit and will talk about Country and plants used by local Aboriginal people.

Ms Davison has also organised the Narama Nangara Community Art Tent. ‘Narama Nangara means Narooma oysters, and the marquee will showcase local artists including those from the Katungul Aboriginal Art Group and the Mogo Women’s Art Group.’

Also featuring at the Festival will be the Djaadjawan Dancers, Elders demonstrating basket weaving and other traditional crafts, bark canoes including ones made by traditional canoe maker Dean Kelly, and a demonstration of boomerang throwing by Uncle Laddie Timbery.

Katungul provides culturally appropriate health care to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities on NSW’s far south coast.

‘It’s important for Katungul to get involved in what’s happening in the wider community, strengthen cultural aspects of the Festival, and promote the good work we’re doing,’ said Katungul CEO Robert Skeen.

Katungul will offer mini health checks to Festival visitors at its ‘Health Pit Stop’ marquee.

Check Narooma Oyster Festival webpage www.naroomaoysterfestival.com and Facebook for full details about the Festival’s free family concert on the Friday with freestyle motocross displays and fireworks finale (4.30-8.15pm), and the full programme for Saturday’s Festival (10am-6pm) including cooking demonstrations, oyster shucking competitions, oyster tastings, and details of the musicians.

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