Australian Embassy


DATE: 8 July 2009
SUBJECT: Culture

‘Honouring our Elders, Nurturing our Youth’

HANOI - The Australian Embassy hosted a flag raising ceremony on 8 July 2009 to honour Australia’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander heritage, as part of celebrations for 2009 NAIDOC Week.

NAIDOC Week is a way of celebrating and promoting a greater understanding of the peoples, cultures, histories, and achievements of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in Australia. NAIDOC originally stood for 'National Aborigines and Islanders Day Observance Committee'. This committee was once responsible for organising national activities during NAIDOC Week and its acronym has since become the name of the week itself.

"NAIDOC Week provides an opportunity for Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians to join together to recognise the valuable contribution Indigenous people have made to this country." said Australia’s Minister for Indigenous Affairs, the Hon Jenny Macklin MP.

The highlight of this year’s activities will be the National NAIDOC Awards and Ball to be held in Brisbane, Australia on 10 July. The annual National NAIDOC Awards recognise the outstanding contributions that Indigenous Australians make to improve the lives of Indigenous people in their communities and beyond, or to promote Indigenous issues in the wider community, or the excellence they've shown in their chosen field.

There are awards in nine different categories, covering a diverse range of fields and talents. They include apprentices, artists, Elders, sportspeople, youths, and scholars. A Lifetime Achievement Award may be presented to recognise a sustained contribution to Indigenous people.

A national poster competition which reflects the NAIDOC theme “Honouring our Elders, Nurturing our Youth” had been organised for Indigenous artists . Luke Mallie, an artist from Mackay in north Queensland, won this year’s prestigious competition.

Luke said his artwork, which uses water colour, acrylic and ink on paper, "represents the elders teaching and keeping watch over their young as they learn and grow into adults to then carry on the culture. The painting also depicts past elders who watch over everyone to protect and guide us through our lives. We all have the ability to connect to those spirits if we need guidance or inspiration."