HORSHAM has celebrated National Harmony Day and 30 years of Landcare on Thursday with an event in the town hall that celebrated Aboriginal culture, pre-industrial bread an native crops.
The event was part of Horsham Rural City Council’s Cultural Diversity week.
Wimmera Catchment Management Authority board chair Karen Douglas welcomed the audience of about 300 people who gathered in the town hall for presentations on Aboriginal culture and the history of native vegetation.
Prior to the indoor portion of the event, elder Ron Marks welcomed the audience to the country outside the town hall.
Goolum Goolum Aboriginal Co-operative didgeridoo player Farren Branson led the audience in a smoking ceremony, where guests walked through smoke from a campfire.
Once inside the town hall, Wotjobaluk dancers performed a creation dance and an exercise dance on stage.
Barengi Gadjin Land Council archaeologist Darren Griffin and LaTrobe University student Daniel Clarke went through their work to recreate indigenous earth ovens and the use of native yams.
“When I was a student I couldn’t wait to study Australian history,” Mr Griffin said.
“This was back in the 1980s, before the Mabo decision.
“It was: Aboriginal people have been here for 40,000 years wandering aimlessly then in 1770 Captain Cook arrived and that’s it.
“I remember thinking ‘40,000 years of history- what actually happened in that time?”
Mr Griffin said Aboriginal people were similar to Europeans in that they become more settled and adopted agriculture about 5000 years ago.
Trentham Redbeard Bakery owner John Reid talked about his effort to recreate pre-industrial bread with ancient wheat grains grown at Laharum.
Aboriginal author Bruce Pascoe also talked about his book ‘Dark Emu – Black Seeds : Agriculture or Accident?’ that argued the concept of indigenous people as purely hunter-gathers was a myth.