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Connecting to Country: Clelland Lodge & Magnolia Cottage Celebrate NAIDOC Week

28 Jul, 2023

NAIDOC week events and activities were held in communities across the country earlier this month. NAIDOC stands for National Aboriginal and Islanders Day Observance Committee (NAIDOC), which celebrates the history, culture, and achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. 

Two of our services, Clelland Lodge and Magnolia Cottage had the opportunity to enjoy activities during this special week. 

Clelland Lodge residents and the team enjoyed a NAIDOC day cultural activity with Ivan Morris. Ivan is a sought-after yidaki (digeridoo) player and works full time for a local Aboriginal health group.  

Dianne Mathot, Community Manager at Clelland Lodge explains, “The residents first met Ivan when he performed a smoking ceremony at the funeral of one of our residents. He then returned for NAIDOC Week last year and the residents really responded positively to him and were keen to have him come back this year.” 

At this year’s event, Ivan spoke of loving all cultures and talked to the residents about how his philosophy has come from travelling abroad, family, and connection to the earth and to other human beings. 

Ivan explained that his yidaki playing is about connection to family past and present and his way of expressing himself. He is passionate about his gift being shared with others, rather than a gift to own. 

Dianne shared, “Ivan loved interacting with the residents and the team and felt very welcomed by everyone. The residents in Azalea had painted dot art representing NAIDOC week and Ivan was pleased to see them hanging in reception and likened the paintings to his yidaki playing demonstrating self-expression for others to appreciate today.” 

At Magnolia Cottage, the Men’s Group went to the NAIDOC Family Fun Day at the local showground. 

10 clients, three staff and two volunteers had a leisurely time wandering around the displays, taking in the welcome to country, corrobboree dancing and the ladies’ choir before returning to Magnolia Cottage for lunch. 

Sandra Gatehouse shared, “Our clients really enjoyed chatting with the people in the crowd and sharing their stories and listening to the stories from the elders. They also enjoyed meeting the black cockatoo [mascot]!” 

She added, “It is important that our clients, a majority of whom are experiencing social isolation due to their declining health issues still feel party of our community. Events like this can have positive effect on their mental health and wellbeing. Feeling like they are still part of the community can provide our clients with happiness, support, and a sense of purpose.” 

The crew at Magnolia Cottage have already decided they’ll be returning next year with picnic in tow so they can spend more time enjoying the event.