Last year, the Poatina community moved the date of its Australia Day celebrations away from January 26 – the national holiday which has been the subject of a growing campaign for change in recent years as one which symbolises British colonisation.
This year, they are trying something different again.
The event, dubbed “Terra Populous” and stemming from considerable discussion and planning, will take place on Sunday, January 27.
“In Poatina being redeveloped if you like, we’re looking for creative ways of celebrating the ancient community, through to the new communities that are coming into Australia – and in the middle of that of course is the European story,” said John West, a member of the Poatina Village leadership team.
“We’re trying to find creative ways of telling that story and celebrating being Australians together.”
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“It’s not trying to be Australia Day … it’s trying to work through what it means for us to be together and be Australians together.”
The community had spent the “last 20 years or more” running Australia Day events, but had “been looking for other ways to do it”, Mr West added. “We’re looking to doing it in not just future years, but months ahead as well.”
The Village Green will host five-minute storytelling sessions about people and place from Aunty Patsy Cameron and Uncle Norman Richardson; Bill Scott-Young, whose sister Hydro Tasmanian bought land from to build the Poatina Power Station; members of the Launceston Hazara community and Russell McKane, the principal of Capstone College.
“What we’re trying to do is to pull together some different perspectives of stories. We’ve got the Aboriginal and the ancient stories along with the more European and colonial stories, along with the new communities – the migrant communities – and then Poatina Village’s own story.”
Poetry will be scattered throughout, with opportunities to talk and make wreaths with local vine.
An artist talk from Aunty Judith-Rose and Aunty Nanette Shaw will follow in the Poatina Tree Gallery.
“Their work – three-dimensional art in both cases – uses kelp, as well as traditional boards,” Mr West said.
The day’s events will begin at 12.30pm with a gold-coin donation barbecue, Thomas the Tank Engine rides for the children and Tasmanian-themed face painting. The storytelling sessions and artist talks will follow at 1.30pm and 2.45pm.
Rides and face-painting will then continue from 3.30pm until 4.30pm.
Terra Populous will be held on Sunday, January 27 at Poatina Village. More information can be found on the Facebook event.
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