Cultural Exchange hailed a success

Elders from Bundaberg and Hervey Bay came together. Pictures: IWC

An inaugural Cultural Exchange Day involving Aboriginal Elders from Bundaberg and Hervey Bay coming together has been hailed as a major success.

The event was held on 20 July, when members of IWC’s Women’s and Men’s groups travelled to the Kalang Respite Centre to meet with Elders from Butchella country (Hervey Bay).

IWC is Aboriginal community-controlled, non-government and is committed to Reconciliation in Action every day.

The Bundaberg Elders’ groups meet regularly at IWC Health & Wellbeing Complex to share cultural knowledge and support Connection to Country.

They also work with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and teens who participate in IWC’s Youth Program.

“The meeting at the Kalang centre was a joyous occasion, providing an opportunity to reconnect with old friends and welcome new faces,” said Elder and IWC Board Member Jenny Springham, who leads the IWC Women’s Group.

“The gathering gave Bundaberg Elder Uncle Ralph Chambers the chance to meet up with Uncle ‘Walkabout’, whom he had not seen since they were ‘young bulls’,” she smiled.

“All of the Elders welcomed the opportunity to share stories, and the room was filled with laughter and warmth.”

Elder and IWC Board Member Aunty Averill Eggmolesse said: “It is important to meet up like this as community people.”

A morning tea of fresh fruit and cake was provided Kalang Respite Centre, followed by a barbecue lunch.

At the event, the Women’s Group held a separate meeting to discuss a proposal and permission to organise a cultural trip to Kgari (Fraser Island).

“The trip, proposed for October, will provide an opportunity to share knowledge of local traditional practices and conduct Women’s Business with the Butchella Traditional Owners,” said Ms Springham.

The next Cultural Exchange Day is is proposed for Bundaberg later this year, with Elders from Butchella country to be invited to the IWC Health & Wellbeing Complex.