In front of us are well-known features of the coast at Castle Rock: ochre coloured cliffs rising from brilliant blue seas and seabirds circling overhead. However Iszaac Webb is describing a Castle Rock none of us are familiar with: the songlines of the Country – the Boodja – that his people have recited for generations.
“Up there in the cliffs where you can see the cut? That’s the caves my family camped in. Everything is written into the land by songlines. Our ancestors’ stories tell us how to manage our country,” he says, and goes on to recite the names of the hills and valleys, describing the point where the salmon always run before telling us of Wadan, the great spirit of the sea the Wadandi people of the Margaret River region respect and are named for.
Iszaac (Zac), a Cultural Custodian, is one of the knowledge keepers from the Undalup Association, a not-for-profit undertaking cultural community events, projects and workshops. As chairperson, Zac is busy preparing for this year’s NAIDOC Week. “It’s a time of unity where everyone can learn about our culture as well as strengthening spiritual and social well-being within our community. Without Unity, you don’t get Community.”
NAIDOC (National Aboriginal and Islander Day Observance Committee) Week celebrates history, culture and achievements and this year the cultural components of the festival will centre around the 2019 theme – Voice. Treaty. Truth. Let’s work together for a shared future.
Undalup is the Wadandi word for Busselton and derives from a great Wadandi warrior called Undal. The Association’s NAIDOC program of cultural workshops and events will take place at the Youth & Community Centre Building in Busselton.
Zac agrees the belonging to the community aspect of NAIDOC Week is a significant benefit. “As well as reaching out to our own people and the wider Margaret River community, it is a way for visitors to interact with our culture and, for a brief time, feel connected to Nala Boodja – our Country. We have excellent presenters drawn from our traditional owners and elders who we recognise as having CCCC – Continuous Cultural Connection to Country – and who express our history and heritage through a program of workshops and exhibitions featuring art, bushfoods and medicines, cultural weaving and dance, family wellbeing and sports.”
At the heart of the program, there is food.
“We are featuring a Makaru menu at our popular Bush Food Café – Makuru is the name of the Wadandi calendar season of the months of June and July. Our chef’s emu pies and kangaroo sausage rolls are said to be the best in the South West! We have a plant and tree workshop which is all about understanding how everything is connected – we talk about the singing and how the Boodja links all its parts together. Our program wraps up with fantastic sports games for youth and a hip hop dance and acrobatic workshop with children. Visitors can book our adult workshops and book children into theirs – we always ensure we have complimentary age activities in our program. The workshops and activities are all free – all you pay for is the delicious food at our café!”
When is NAIDOC Week? 9 -13 JULY 2019
Where can I participate in celebrations? Youth & Community Centre Building, 47 Bussell Highway, Busselton,