by Liz Inglis
Aurukun Christmas party marks a year of community events
Aurukun’s children were grinning with delight when Santa arrived early with presents at Aurukun Shire Council’s annual Christmas party for the remote Cape York community.
Mayor Dereck Walpo said 350 people attended the party to sing Christmas carols and enjoy a meal together at the Wo’uw Ko’alam Community Centre.
“It was one of three Christmas parties that Council hosts for the community each year,” he said.
“About 100 elders enjoyed Christmas lunch at the Chivaree Centre, the Council-run aged care facility which provides in-house and home-delivered meals, companionship and assistance with aged care needs.
“The Aurukun Shire Council Staff Christmas party was attended by 150 people which was a great turn out by our local workers and their families.
“About 65 per cent of Council’s 110 employees are Indigenous and our strategy is to increase that percentage by encouraging the uptake of apprenticeships, providing on-the-job training, and promoting local youth employment through engagement and school leavers’ programs.
“Aurukun Shire Council runs regular community events to encourage the community to come together and socialise in a harmonious environment.
“In 2020 we have 14 events organised including the highly successful Onchan Min and Um Thurpak Festivals celebrating the seasons before and after the wet which we trialled this year.
“These festivals brought 400 to 500 people together to enjoy a local band and a meal at the Wo’uw Ko’alam Community Centre.
“They were so successful in promoting harmonious community relationships that we have added a third festival to the calendar next year, the Ngank Min Festival celebrating ‘Feeling happy inside’.
“The Wo’uw Ko’alam Community Centre is proving a popular venue with much larger crowds than the community events we previously held outdoors on the football field and inside the smaller lodge restaurant.
“Aurukun Shire Council liaised with the Department of State Development to refurbish the former tavern into a community venue and it has become a valuable community asset that is used for community meetings, functions and family gatherings such as funerals and social occasions.”
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