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Sharing of food, laughter and stories in Yarning Circle

Yarning Circle
Margaret and Barry Johnson, Amy Appoo and Dianne Vanzoggel at the yarning circle.

The sharing of food, laughter and stories were all part of Bundaberg Regional Council’s first ever Yarning Circle last week, and it was a resounding success, according to Selina Hill, Council’s Cultural Development Officer.

“The inaugural yarning circle proved successful between Council and Community Elders at the Bundaberg Multiplex Sport and Convention Centre, Destination Fig-Trees,” Selina said.

“In cultural ways the Elders passed on culture and knowledge through guidance and words of wisdom.

‘Our inaugural yarning circle was driven by stories of resilience and strength, which in turn helps change the narrative to make the best out of this bad situation which can cause isolation and loneliness.

“In regards to the coronavirus pandemic we were very mindful that we are all in this together looking out for each other, our elderly and most vulnerable in community, and we had a COVID safe plan in place.”

Yarning Circle
Phyllis Lea, Bridget Priman, Melinda Holden and Jacqui Blackman at the yarning circle.

Selina said the idea of the Yarning Circle came about through Council’s First Nations Strategy, connecting our local Indigenous (First Nations) Peoples in Bundaberg, Childers and Gin Gin.

“The Strategy provides an opportunity where Council staff can get to know who our community Elders are, and vice versa, for our Elders to familiarise with who’s who and who does what in Council.”

“We wanted to hold an event where the Community Elders could feel welcome to yarn, listen and share insights in the spirit of mutual respect.

“In our modern world, yarning circles are nothing new, having been part of traditional cultural practices for ceremonies and corroborees since time immemorial.

“From a cultural perspective, meetings and learnings took place on country outdoors and in cultural ways, acknowledging the role of Elders is key in building positive community relationships.

“The objective is to keep the politics out of it to bring community cohesion back on the agenda.

“There is no better way to meet and mingle than by holding a catchup around a fire with great food as a good conversation starter.”

Yarning Circle
Food is always a popular part of a yarning circle and certainly was at this inaugural Council yarning circle.

Everyone who attended the inaugural event agreed to continue.

“The BRC Yarning Circles will be held on a regular basis,” Selina said.

“We will hold them on the first Tuesday of each season, so that Community and Council can welcome in the new season, the next one being on Tuesday 1st September to welcome in spring.”

“Forward vision is to keep the momentum by sending out monthly SMS to connect with and keep Elders informed.”

If anyone is interested in coming along to the BRC yarning circles they can contact Selina on 1300 883 699.

Yarning Circle
Council's first Yarning Circle outside the Multiplex was considered a great success

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