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KAMBARANG FESTIVAL Season of celebration

Kambarang Festival
is a brand new event that celebrates the traditions of the Noongar nations’ residents of Midland, showcases their art, culture and practices, and seeks to heal country, restore nature and connect community.

From 1-8pm on Saturday, October 30, the Kambarang Festival will commence in the Locale precinct of Midland and culminate with the official opening of Weeip Park by the City of Swan Mayor and a performance from the Perth Symphony Orchestra.

Locals and visitors alike are invited to attend the family fun event featuring live entertainment, handmade craft and unique market stalls, face painting, free kids’ activities, gourmet food, roaming performers, sustainability information and activities along with much more.

The festival has been in the planning for several years with COVID cancelling any arrangements for 2020. Local organisation, Trillion Trees Australia has taken a leading role in the event, commissioning community consultation which has sought to bring a unique event to Midland to engage with residents, local businesses, community groups and the City of Swan.

Kambarang – one of the six Noongar seasons specific to the southwest corner of Western Australia – was selected as the season to celebrate. Representing the natural “rebirth” taking place at that time of year with the blossoming of plants and trees and the birth time for many native fauna, it also celebrates tens of thousands of years of surviving Noongar culture unique to the area.

Trillion Trees Australia CEO, Denise True, said Kambarang Festival will combine local Noongar knowledge of the land through storytelling and showcase modern ecological innovation in a way not seen before.

“Kambarang is the season of birth and revitalisation in the Noongar calendar and this festival will share that ancient seasonal knowledge in an interactive and engaging way, whilst giving the community an opportunity to see traditional and modern ecological restoration practices at work,” she said. “Trillion Trees has been part of this community for over 40 years, and we are privileged to support an event that celebrates local Aboriginal culture and shines a light on some of the inspiring work happening across this region in sustainability, healing, and ecological restoration.”

City of Swan Mayor Kevin Bailey said the Kambarang Festival was the perfect way to bring community together to celebrate the official opening of the Weeip Park precinct, following its $8 million-dollar development. With Stage 1 and 2 of Weeip Park complete, locals and visitors can enjoy a high-quality open space that offers elements of a classic Australian backyard; a place to tell stories, catch up with friends and play. “The newest addition to Weeip Park is a nature-themed children’s play area, featuring native insects, cubby houses, a slide tower, wetland play area, climbing equipment and toddler’s corral,” he said.

The Kambarang Puppet Project builds on the success of the 2018 Trillion Trees Blue Butterfly Project which saw Trillion Trees Australia work with Noongar Elder Dr Noel Nannup, professional animateur & puppetry artist Karen Hethey, acclaimed musicians Gina Williams and Guy Ghouse (pictured above) and local primary schools combine to create a puppet performance that told the cultural and ecological significance of the blue butterfly and the need to look after urban bushlands.

In 2021 a modified version of the original proposal has been undertaken and developed with Moorditj Noongar Community College and Woodbridge Primary School Specialist Drama Group. The program has evolved from an Immersion Day to include singing and songwriting activities and puppet making workshops.

The puppets created include a giant 3.5m booyi (tortoise), a 4.5m nyorn (snake), koolbardies (magpies), biditj (ants), headdress djil djit (fish) puppets and two giant karaak puppets (Red Tailed Black Cockatoos.). Many of the puppets have cultural designs embedded that tell stories created by the students.

Students will bring to life the puppets to perform to the songs they created with Gina Williams and Guy Ghouse. At the end of the performance at The Locale, the puppets will then be joined by Junkadelic who will accompany them with an instrumental version of Koortaboodja to lead the Kambarang audience to the official opening of Weeip Park.

Kambarang Festival has the support of the local elders who are especially keen to see stories re-told by younger generations. “Having the young ones storytelling, hearing the yarns from their grandmothers and passing them down will be good. I was lucky enough to live through the days,” says Dorren Yarran.

Kambarang Festival hits Weeip Park, The Locale and surrounds in Midland on Saturday, October 30 from 1-8pm. For more information head to the Facebook event page.

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