John Harris of Goonellabah and Noel Stewart of Nimbin at NAIDOC celebrations in Heritage Park Lismore.
John Harris of Goonellabah and Noel Stewart of Nimbin at NAIDOC celebrations in Heritage Park Lismore. Jacklyn Wagner

Better future for kids

AFTER being postponed twice, Lismore's NAIDOC Day celebrations went ahead under sunny skies yesterday.

Hundreds of people gathered in Heritage Park for music from indigenous bands and local primary schools, rides, a barbecue lunch and information from community organisations.

Several Gold Coast Suns AFL players attended the event and talked with Indigenous children.

Arguably the most relieved person on the day was the event's organiser, Lismore City Council community development officer Lee-Ann Emzin.

"The wet weather cancelled the first day and when the oldest Bundjalung woman passed on it got cancelled a second time out of respect for her family," Ms Emzin said.

"She's up there looking over us and she brought the sun for us today."

Many community organisations, including the Aboriginal Child and Family Network provided health and social information to attendees.

Ms Emzin said the information would ultimately benefit local indigenous children.

"There's a lot of information for families to pass on to their kids," she said.

"We've got a lot of healthy lifestyle stuff here today because we hope to build a better future with the kids coming through."

"My generation had its struggles, but we want things to get easier as we go along."

New Zealander Peter McKay and his indigenous partner said the event was particularly important for their children.

"My kids are half-Aboriginal, so it's a special day that they should respect. It's their heritage," Mr McKay said.

Indigenous local John Harris said peoples' attitudes towards Aboriginal people in the Lismore area have changed over the years.

"Now people walk up and say hello to you in the street, but when I was kid you got nothing," he said.



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