The central message of Harmony Day is “everyone belongs”, and the purpose of the day is to celebrate our diversity.
The Yaegl Elders and the Harwood Island community have combined to work towards achieving exactly that, by organising an event at the Harwood Hotel this Saturday March 19.
“Many people in the Clarence Valley have a mixture of cultures in their background,” says one of the organisers, Kathleen Werry.
“For example I am Australian on my Dad’s side, but my Mum was from Scotland, she immigrated here for work in the 1970s.
“We’re hoping to showcase and celebrate this diversity of cultures in the valley on Saturday.
“It kicks off at 12 noon and will continue into the evening.
“After the Welcome to Country, local public schools, Harwood Island, Maclean, Palmers Island and Gulmarrad, will be performing between 12.30 and 2pm.”
The Maclean Pipe Band will perform, too, as will several local entertainers who are donating their time and talent to the day.
Representatives from Macquarie University will make several presentations on Aboriginal science and there will be Aboriginal art and language workshops held throughout the day.
“The Harwood Hotel will serve tasting plates, with cuisines from several cultures, and there will be a stall selling food from the Marshall Islands,” Ms Werry said.
“Mrs Universe Australia, Joelle Webber, who is a local campaigner against domestic violence for White Ribbon Warriors, will also be in attendance, as will the Ashby RFS, which has kindly volunteered their time.
“We’ve been overwhelmed with the positive support and interest the community has shown for this event and we’re sure it’s going to be a very special day.”
While this event is the first to be held at Harwood, Harmony Day has been celebrated in Australia since 1999, and is designed to coincide with the United Nations International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination.
According to the Harmony Day website, around 45 per cent of Australians were born overseas or have at least one parent who was.