The first intensive for 2023 was held in Sydney, on the lands of the Gadigal People. This was the first time the fellows had met in person and there was lot’s of excitement and anticipation, some visiting Sydney for the first time! Arriving from Polouma Island, Townsville, Melbourne, Brisbane and Adelaide.
We stayed at a central location to the harbour and surrounds, and kicked the informal part of the program off at Accor Stadium, for some socialising, and Rabbitohs NRL Experience.
On Sunday we traveled to Kuringai Chase National Park where we met Uncle Laurie Bimson, a Guringai man, who runs Guringai Aboriginal Tours. Uncle passed around and shared knowledge on weapons and tools and participants got to practice their return boomerang throwing skills. We walked along The Basin track to The Basin Aboriginal art site with its rock engravings, where Uncle shared knowledge about this site and how it links with others nearby, and visited beautiful ochre hand-prints.
Finished by a rest at West Head, one of Sydney’s best lookouts, to take in stunning ocean and coastal views before a beautiful native ingredient infused lunch catered by Cafe Dreaming.
The next morning we met Uncle Shane Charles at NCIE in Redfern, who took us on a walking tour of Redfern sharing it’s stories of resistance and pride, visiting Dreaming Cafe, and Aboriginal services, before heading back to NCIE for a personal development project session with Thara & Sofii.
Participants got to meet the newly appointed Programs Officer Madeline, our former project officer who misses us, Jayden Oakley, Aunty Steffi Armstrong, Aunty Lynette Riley and board members, Jane Pound and Faye McMilan for lunch. Lunch was catered by the incredible Aunty Beryl, who is still cooking and delivering hospitality training in her eighties – a true inspiration!
Tanja Hirvonen delivered a wellbeing workshop at NCIE that evening and seeded some great ideas for SEWB support throughout the program, before a much needed dinner and games night.
The last morning was spent at Palms Studio, recording video messages from the fellows ‘For Our Elders’ NAIDOC resources and promotion. And a photo shoot with Gammin Threads and Clothing the Gaps merch to use throughout the year. Shelley Ware then delivered her media training workshop offering some incredible tips and tricks from her years of media training and teaching to develop participants’ confidence in public speaking and presenting.
The final closing circle came around quickly with participants sharing some great insights, highlights and challenges of the intensive, what they will take with them and a compliment to their fellow participants. The feedback was recorded to inform our future intensives as well as staff feedback. Overall, a successful jam packed intensive and looking forward to reconnecting with some more culturally grounding , wellbeing and professional development focused sessions in WA in September.