Moogahlin Festival of Baiame's Ngunnhu

Festival of Baiame’s Ngunnhu is a three year community cultural development project that will include ceremony and celebrations that mark the inaugural Festival of Baiame’s Ngunnhu in Brewarrina.  Spearheaded by Moogahlin Performing Arts, Baiame’s Ngunnhu will promote Aboriginal-led social inclusion, artistic, civic and economic participation and a greater voice for the Aboriginal people of the region. The project will comprise; a series of community arts workshops over a two month period leading up to and culminating in  the creation of a multi-artform site specific performance promenade along the banks of the Barwon River, art forms to include film, circus, puppetry, dance (contemporary and traditional).

The festival will incorporate, opening and closing ceremonies, fishing competition, music concert, markets to enable Aboriginal artists to sell products and a multi-art site-specific community performance spectacular celebrating the many inspirational stories and experiences of the local Aboriginal young people, community members and elders of the Ngemba, Baranbinja, Morowari, Kula, Naualko, Ualarai, Weilwan, Kamilaroi, Kamu and Paarkindji communities.

The project will center on the historical connections and practices of the local Aboriginal community and its relationship to the Barwon River complex.

The Brewarrina Fish Traps (Baiame’s Ngunnhu) are a complex arrangement of stone walls situated in the Barwon River which feeds into the Darling River. Nearly half a kilometre in length, these fish traps are the largest known in Australia and were an ingenious invention long used by Aboriginal people to catch fish. The age of these fish traps is unknown and they may be one of the oldest human constructions in the world. They have been listed on the State Heritage Register and the National Heritage List. Aboriginal legend explains that they are an ancient Dreamtime site built by Baiame and his two sons Booma-ooma-nowi and Ghinda-inda-mui.

Alongside the Festival of Baiame’s Ngunnhu will also be a fishing competition and arts markets, which will be the first of its kind in the region celebrating ceremony and ritual from the past and the present, of the local cultures and dreaming from across generations.   This competition and arts market will be in partnership with the Brewarrina, Walgett & Bourke Shire Councils, with weigh-ins of catches to determine winners and a community feast of the edible catch will be shared as part of the Closing Ceremony.