Members Article: NAIDOC WEEK 2015

Submitted by: Samantha Doddrell, Diversional Therapist, Concord Repatriation General Hospital

Many of our residents here at Yaralla House have fabulous memories of the Blue Mountains, so it was no surprise when during our monthly residents meeting that they suggested a day trip was long overdue. Luckily our agenda for the meeting included NAIDOC week and one of our residents who had previously lived in Leura (Blue Mountains) suggested that we attend the Waradah Aboriginal Centre in Katoomba. This was a fantastic idea and really “killing two birds with one stone”. 

All of the residents were very excited knowing that this trip would be organised. Not only do our residents love to visit historical, cultural and artistic places but also enjoy education. Yaralla House resides on the Dame Eadith Walker Estate, Concord and holds quite a large Aboriginal history. I have previously organised for the coordinator of our local historical society to come out and provide an in-service on the estate which was very interesting. 

Although the big outing to Katoomba meant an early start for 6 of our residents and a 1.5 hour drive, the day was fantastic – visually stimulating, informative, and cultural. This was everything that I aimed for. Our residents enjoyed live cultural performances and talks, a curated tour of the Aboriginal artwork on display and time to purchase souvenirs.

All of our residents (11) would have loved to attend the big group outing to Katoomba and would all have benefitted from it, however they were unable to due to a co-morbidity of issues of a medical, physical and cognitive nature. Our less mobile residents visited the Concord Hospitals NAIDOC week celebratory day, where they enjoyed live cultural performances on “The Green”. Our residents were encouraged to hold and play clap sticks, a Didgeridoo, a boomerang and to try some natural bush tucker on display.

Lastly towards the end of NAIDOC week we were lucky enough to have one of our Aboriginal staff members bring in an Emu egg. Most of our residents had never seen or held a “real” emu egg before and nor had the staff. I took a photo of each resident holding the egg for their photo albums. Our staff member was also kind enough to bring in a traditional coffee cake which was made with an emu egg for the residents to taste. We finalised the group with some Emu egg and Emu trivia, which had everyone laughing! (Due to confidentiality I am unable to share the photos taken from the activities)

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