Mt Druitt Indigenous Choir prepares for Australia Day performance


Members of the Mount Druitt Indigenous Choir spent time with Yuin Elder Max Harrison in NSW bushland ahead of their Australia Day performance.

Young members of the Mount Druitt Indigenous choir have participated in a cultural learning bush tour in the Royal National Park with Yuin elder Uncle Max Harrison.

As part of a traditional cultural resource collection, the Mount Druitt Indigenous Choir - aged from three to 15 - from Aboriginal nation groups across the State, travelled to the Royal National Park.

The 10 children wore red headbands for respect for nature, and learnt about asking for "permission" to take things from "the mother".

Yuin elder Uncle Max Harrison from the NSW South Coast, with the help of his grandsons, guided the children on their journey.

It was preparation before they sing in their native language - Dharug - during Australia day celebrations in Sydney tomorrow.

"What a better way to give these little kids an identity by singing their language. The beauty of it is these little fellahs here are still gonna be carrying a lot of tongue and when people tell me that our language is finished I say no no no," Uncle Max says.

Choir director Dave Armstrong said the children have been practising weekly for tomorrow's acknowledgment service at Circular Quay.

"We're looking forward to just being involved and having our aboriginal choir sing in our language in our during language and honouring our elders past and present and the leaves the beautiful smell of gum leaves burning," Mr Armstrong says.

The children collected peppermint, red gum and lemon scented tea tree leaves for traditional smoking ceremonies at six sites across the city.

"It's about healing. All smoking ceremonies, it's all about healing. Mind spirit and soul. It's so important. So important that we unite. You see I can't see the colour of the skin i don't like looking at the colour of skin. I'm colour blind. All I look for is the spirit in people which is why I look for the spirit in these little fellahs here," Uncle Max said.

10-year-old student Shonelle Clarke said she was excited to take part in activities to represent her country.

"So nobody forgets the aborigines and how they spoke and how they walked around this land without hurting it. Us people were here first before any other people,'" Shonelle said.

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