NAIDOC WEEK: Triumph to tragedy, the stories of the Burnett
THE Burnett region has a proud history with Indigenous culture, from Olympic gold medallists to renowned artists and respected elders, the region is rich with stories, talent and history from First Australians.
For NAIDOC week, the South Burnett Times will shine a light on the Indigenous people, culture and traditions that make this region special.
The South Burnett Times team respects and honours Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Elders past, present, and future.
We acknowledge the stories, traditions, and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on this land, the traditional land of the Wakka Wakka people.
HISTORY was made this NAIDOC week with the Aboriginal being flown at the Murgon RSL for the first time ever.
Celebrations took place across the region with schools doing their own NAIDOC week activities, embracing the history and traditions of the Wakka Wakka people. The traditional owners of the South Burnett land.
The South Burnett Times team spoke with traditional Elders, Indigenous students as well as teachers on a mission to educate the next generation about the Wakka Wakka history and culture.
These are the stories we covered.
Fred Cobbo is a traditional Wakka Wakka man and the community engagement officer at Murgon State High School.
He is on a mission to not only create talented Indigenous sports stars, but create highly educated students who challenge the system around academic results.
We caught up with Mr Cobbo, who spoke about the challenges of growing up in Cherbourg and how racism made him stronger.
Murgon State High School is preparing to launch a Wakka Wakka language and culture program in 2021.
It’s a significant step forward according to Cherbourg elder Eric Law, who said it’s one of the biggest moments in Cherbourg’s history.
At the peak of the global pandemic, Cherbourg faced the toughest restrictions of any region in the South Burnett.
While this was a critical step toward maintaining the health and safety of the vulnerable Indigenous community, the strict regulations were all too familiar for many elders who were struck with a sinister sense of deja vu.
It was a historic and emotional flag raising ceremony, recognising the soldiers who honourably served Australia at war.
It took two years since the idea was put to the RSL sub branch by Cherbourg elder Eric Law who said he honestly didn’t think he would ever see the day.
It has been a busy few weeks for Pharrell Chapman who was announced school captain at Murgon State High School last month and awarded Cherbourg Youth of the Year at Tuesday’s Cherbourg community day.
Aside from focusing on education and being a role model to people in his community, Chapman is becoming well known for his quick hands and evasive speed in the boxing gym.
Chapman is just the second ever Indigenous school captain at Murgon State High School.
Students and staff at Kingaroy State High School are putting the finishing touches on a project that aims to celebrate Aboriginal culture within the school.
The Yarning Circle is an area of the school designed as a place for both the school and the community to tell stories, relax and shine a light on the Indigenous culture within the school.
Cloyna and Windera State Schools joined together for an afternoon of NAIDOC activities on Monday as well as tasting lemon myrtle biscuits, wattle seed damper and kangaroo & bush tomato sausages.
Local Wakka Wakka man Fred Cobbo gave a welcome to country, a local history lesson, read a local story and taught the students some words in Wakka Wakka language.
Fifty three years ago, Cherbourg Elder and traditional Wakka Wakka man Eric Law finished high school and enlisted in the Australian Army.
A decision that shaped the man he became, ultimately changing his life forever.
More than 100 years after the Spanish flu devastated 15 per cent of the Cherbourg population, the 80 plus people who lost their life to the infamous pandemic will finally be commemorated.
During the second wave in 1919, the Cherbourg community – formerly known as Barambah – was disproportionately impacted by the dangerous disease, with dozens dying in a matter of days.