Camp Creative: Walking on Gumbaynggirr Homeland

Camp Creative, I Love Bello Shire, Bellingen

Camp Creative’s summer camp provides the opportunity for everyone, regardless of age, to find within themselves new creative expression.  The focus is on imagination, innovation and expression, as participants from all walks of life come together for an intense week of learning and fun.

This year has welcomed new courses, new instructors and newbie participants- the vibe in town has been a mix of excitement and camaraderie.  The town has also welcomed back camp  ‘old timers’- the Waltons’ Wizards, Mark and Jo Walton return for the 15th year of music tuition.  Acknowledged as leading clarinet and saxophone performers and teachers, this year they they were accompanied by their son and grandson.  In fact, most campers will say “it is the mix of old and young”, “sharing of ideas between the generations” which is so special at Camp Creative.

A particularly unique course that debuted at Camp Creative this year was “Walking on Gumbaynggirr Homeland” with Uncle Michael Jarrett.  Uncle Micklo took 12 participants on a ‘never to be forgotten’ camping experience at Gaagal Waangan, on the river (bindarray), off the Nambucca coast.  The campers reached this unique site by canoe and for three days and two nights were immersed in Gumbaynggirr culture.

Camp Creative, I Love Bello Shire, Bellingen

Group circle with Uncle Micklo

Campers ranged in age from 6 to 70 and were all able to experience the culture, listening to Dreaming stories, gathering food and cooking on the open fire at night.  There was mixed reaction to the tasty worms (guguur) found within the wood gathered at the camp site- described by one camper as “delicious, like juicy peanuts”.  The Campers were also given the opportunity to learn the songs of the Gumbaynggirr people.  The beautiful but sad tones that filled the Bellingen High School Hall on Friday evening’s final concert were mesmerising, as the campers sung about the moment the traditional custodians sighted, for the first time ever, a steam ship paddling past this camp site centuries ago.

Uncle Micklo’s intention was to help people grow their relationship with country.  One group of parents who attendedCamp Creative, I Love Bello Shire, Bellingen the camp with their young son, commented on the positive influence that Uncle Micklo’s wisdom and teachings about respect had already had on their son.  Understandably, this course booked out on the first day of bookings for this year’s camp.

One Comment

  • Jacqui says:

    Wow! What an amazing experience. We usually stay with our best and lovely old friends in bellingen – but maybe next year I could be tempted to leave aside the wine and the convivial carousing and do something REALLY life changing!

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