Positive presence at Gattjirrk Festival

30 December 2013
This year’s theme ‘Healthy People, Strong Culture, Active Lifestyle’ saw people from across North East Arnhem Land participate in the annual Milingimbi festival.
ACPO's Allen Gebadi & Barbara McClelland at the festival
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Constable 1/C Paul Keightley
Community Engagement Police officer (CEPO)
Arafura Division

Festival founder, Lapulung Dhamarrandji, said “Building bridges, connecting cultures is the foundation of the Gattjirrk Yolŋu Aboriginal Corporation and this event has brought bukmak, everyone together: Yolŋu ga Balanda (Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people). It's been a great success.

Gattjirrk Festival was a great success from a both general & community policing point of view.  There was a lot of genuine interest in the Aboriginal Community Police Officer (ACPO) recruiting stall from locals.  At one stage during the festival myself and ACPO’s assisted Government Engagement Coordinator (GEC) Francine CHIN in obtaining cartons of water for the crowd from local store & distributing in the marked CEPO vehicle. 

ACPO members Allen Gebadi and Barbara McClelland did a fantastic job during the festival.  Their presence was very well accepted by the community.  Both were introduced by a key female Milingimbi elder/traditional owner, to a large crowd of other traditional owners, elders and families at a large traditional dancing and music part of the festival.  

The ACPO members were invaluable in liaising with locals to assist solving large amounts of diesel theft and other offences in the community.  The CEPO role is invaluable in furthering East Arnhem Land community relations.  We are really making some great ground in a lot of areas I feel, and this will only get better the longer we keep at it. 

“This year’s Gattjirrk was most successful, with a greater emphasis on the cultural side, as opposed to just having music on its own with nothing else. The NT Police presence at the expo and at the festival was a most positive move and was very much welcomed by the community.” East Arnhem Shire Services Manager John Horan.