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Monday, November 3, 2014

Awakened Dreaming in Coffs Harbour

Aunty Shaa and Uncle Martin are just two of the Gumbaynggirr Elders from the Coffs Coast extending an invitation to you to create your own sacred stories, spiritual journey experiences and life connections within a new cultural program called Gumbaynggirr Dreaming.

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“Gumbaynggirr Dreaming shares the richness and wisdom of dreaming and caring for land, waters and all life in this country,” shares Aunty Shaa, Indigenous Elder. “It was local Elder, Aunty Elaine from our Gumbaynggirr tribe who believed that now is the time to bring people together from all nationalities and walks of life to share the wisdom of the ancient Gumbaynggirr culture. The programs were created in her later years of life as she opened up a way forward for a future where everybody has a place.”

The stunning Galnyamba.Friday Creek Retreat tucked away in a bush land setting 20 minutes west of Coffs Harbour in the Orara Valley is home to this new cultural initiative.  Surrounded in waterways, bushland and remnant rainforest, the retreat offers one to four day programs with local Elders who specialise in story, art, song and dance.  Visitors can sit in circle, hear of sacred locations and rituals, visit sites of significant importance to local legend and reconnect with mother earth through activities such as hand mapping and banner creation.

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“We have found that all those that attend the programs feel blessed to be invited into a glimpse of this ancient world and have its relevance to today revealed to them,” said Miriam Landolt, owner of Galnyamba.Friday Creek Retreat.  “The local Gumbaynggirr Aboriginals of the region have lived here for thousands of years and with that comes ancestral knowledge. Elders are offering to share the stories of the region so visitors too can feel this same connection to place and people and take it into the global community”, continued Mrs Landolt. “So significant are the dreaming programs with local elders that they are a feature within an 18 month filming project by the Swiss National film crew on Friday Creek Retreat which goes to air in Europe early 2015.”

“Coffs Coast, a vibrant and colourful region on the North Coast of NSW is synonymous with golden sandy beaches, islands dotted along the coastline and subtropical rainforest settings, but what many might not know is that it is also a place of strong Indigenous culture, spiritual connections, ancient Aboriginal traditions and ‘dreaming,’ said Glenn Caldwell, Tourism Manager of Coffs Coast Marketing.  “The coastal Aboriginal culture of Gumbaynggirr Country is quite different to the inland Indigenous cultures so the domestic and international visitors, who take the time to experience it, will be well rewarded.”

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Gumbaynggirr Dreaming adds a new dimension to the current Indigenous experiences available on Coffs Coast including the Wadjir Regional art gallery, the Bush Tucker Shack and multitude of tours, workshops and experiences at Yarrawarra Aboriginal Cultural Centre as well as overnight camping trips with Adventure Tag Tours learning star navigation, damper making and Aussie bush survival skills.  

The National Parks and Wildlife Service Discovery Ranger programs including ‘Muttonbird by Moonlight’, canoe tours in Bongil Bongil National Park and bush medicine tours in Dorrigo National Park are also on offer, led by local award-winning Indigenous ranger Mark Flanders and three other Aboriginal rangers.

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