The Freedom Day Festival was held in Kalkarindji and Daguragu, 21- 23 August.
The festival is a celebration of the famous ‘Wave Hill walk off’ of 1966. In August 1966, Vincent Lingiari and approximately 200 indigenous workers and family members walked off Wave Hill Station in protest of unfair working practices. The protest lasted eight years before an agreement in 1975 between the Australian Government and the Vestey Family who had owned Wave Hill Station.
This year the Freedom Day Festival had a full line up of activities for local people – including a Dawn Flower Service, Freedom Day Ceremony, children’s disco, art exhibition, music competition and a full sports program of basketball and football.
Local police, Sergeant Devrim Kanyilmaz and Constable Kelly Ewin were happy to engage in many of the activities enjoyed the spirit of the festival. They proudly escorted the March from the Kalkarindji Art’s Centre to the Victoria River. A barbeque was then held for all those attending and the Officers were keen to take part! These community events are a great way for police and the community to discuss issues of importance in the community in a relaxed environment.
Kalkarindji Police have built up strong relationships with people in the community. They are particularly proud of their relationship with Night Patrol, which was visible all weekend. Police from Lajamanu and Yarralin helped provide extra support over the duration of the Festival to ensure the festival was safe and successful.
On the 22 August, Basketball and Australian Rules football events were run throughout the day in the neighbouring community of Daguragu. CEPO Western – Constable Robert Cartmill and Constable Paul Keightley organised some events for the local children, including a Zorb Ball games. Kalkarindji Police were busy throughout the day speaking with local people and watching the footy games.
Next year will be the 50th anniversary of the Wave Hill walk off and it is sure to be a major event. NT Police and the Kalkarindgi community are looking forward to a massive crowd visiting to take part in the 50th anniversary.