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Ceremonial Ripples in Toowoomba

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An Indigenous woman in brown coat stands with five children in a room with stacked chairs in the background and a table with craft making items.
Visual artist Kim Walmsley shows children how to create a dragonfly from beads and copper wire
7 Aug 2017

Exploring the past helps us understand the present and connect with the future. This was the aim of Ceremonial Ripples 2017, held at the Empire Theatre in Toowoomba on 30 May.

The Reconciliation Week event was a full day of workshops, designed for grade 4 students. Approximately 100 Indigenous and non-Indigenous students attended. They came from Harristown State School, Harlaxton State School, Rockville State School, and Toowoomba North State School.

The workshops promoted Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture and traditions through history, storytelling and drama. They also included games and activities, visual art and dance. There were lessons in traditional language and on health and wellbeing.

Jeanette Marr is the Projects Manager at Empire Theatres.

“It’s about opening their eyes and experiencing something new,” Jeanette said.

“Especially for the kids without much connection to their country or culture, it’s a chance to explore and share.”

The Toowoomba region was once a meeting and gathering place for the traditional owners to enable social and cultural exchange between tribes. They practiced ceremony and worked out their differences in that location.

The Empire Theatre is a modern day meeting and gathering place for social and cultural exchange for the community.

“It’s a really wonderful sharing event,” Jeanette said.

“It’s an opportunity for the Indigenous kids to share with the non-Indigenous kids their culture and also learn about it themselves.”

The workshop was also about the ‘here and now’.

“It’s about what’s important in the community – if there are any particular problems we can try and address,” Jeanette said.

There were visual displays and a visit from the local police and State Emergency Service (SES) personnel. The children were also able to explore police and SES vehicles on display in the courtyard.

The day closed with a dance involving all the students.

A major purpose of the event was that the children would take their knowledge and experiences back to their own schools and communities. Also, that the knowledge and experiences will filter through into their daily lives.

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Ceremonial Ripples 2017 was funded by the Toowoomba Regional Council, Queensland Government Department of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Partnerships, Empire Theatres and by the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet through the Indigenous Advancement Strategy.