THE first corroboree to be held in Tamworth for more than 100 years will be held tomorrow night as a centrepiece of the week-long Tamworth Aboriginal Cultural Showcase.
Aborigines will be coming from all over the state to mark this historic and moving cultural celebration, which will see six Aboriginal dance companies join together at Powerstation Park from 8pm.
Gomeroi Dance Company dancer Mark Sutherland said a warm welcome would be extended to anyone who wanted to turn up and dance, too.
“It’s the sixth consecutive year of cultural showcase, but the first time we’re having a traditional corroboree,” Mr Sutherland said.
“It’s all about fun, but also showcasing traditional culture.”
He said 60 dancers, from several NSW dance groups, would dance over sand art constructed earlier in the day by Tamworth woman Aunty Pearl Slater, in a symbolic rejuvenation.
The sand art would show Tamworth and the Peel River, the name of which in the Gamilaraay language is Galala (which is where the suburb name of Calala comes from), meaning “windy river”.
The sand art, which will be built between 10am and 6pm tomorrow, will be the “designs of the people coming together in Tamworth, which is a significant place because of the Peel River”, Mr Sutherland said.
The excitement was building among not only Tamworth’s Aboriginal community but statewide, he said.
“Everyone’s pretty excited: the last recorded dance (in Tamworth) was more than 100 years ago,” Mr Sutherland said.
He said normally when a corroboree was held these days it was for a profit organisation, so the fact this one was being held purely for cultural reasons was uplifting and there was a palpable sense of anticipation.
Local Tamworth Gamilaraay women will also perform traditional dances for the first time in many years.
Powerstation Park was significant in the Tamworth Aboriginal history because it was where rations used to be handed out, Mr Sutherland said.