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Mannalargenna Day Festival set to return for ninth year

Rhiannon Clarke -

The 9th annual Mannalargenna Day Festival is set to take place on Saturday December 2 at Tebrakunna (Little Musselroe Bay/Cape Portland), in Tasmania's north-east.

The festival is held in honour of Mannalargenna, a revered leader of the Pairrebeenne/Trawlwoolway tribe of the Coastal Plains nation who was known for his power over the wind.

Mannalargenna Day will be open to the public from 9am to 5.30pm, with the celebration offered as a public event in the spirit of reconciliation.

It will commence with an official opening and flag raising ceremony, which will also include a Welcome to Country.

Additionally, there will be ochre and smoking ceremonies, as well as a captivating dance performance by the Treenoner Dance Group.

During the official opening, Nick Cameron, the Chairperson of MTWAC and the Acting General Manager of Woolnorth Renewables, Giles Rinckes, will make a formal announcement regarding a 20-year lease agreement at Tebrakunna Country.

Furthermore, Her Excellency, the Hon Barbara Baker will have the honour of officially inaugurating the Tebrakunna Art Exhibition.

Notably, this exhibition holds great significance as it takes place on the traditional clan country of many of Tasmania's Aboriginal people.

Curated by the Queen Victoria Museum and Art Gallery, the exhibition will feature paintings and four Tasmanian Aboriginal artists in residence, as well as pieces by the late Uncle Murray Everett.

At Mannalargenna Day, a forum led by Professor Greg Lehman titled "Who was Waubadebar?" will explore the life of this legendary figure through the Tasmanian Archives and feature Louise Zarmati, Ross Latham, and Shane Gould.

Additionally, and in response to high demand, Zac Cameron will lead a yarning circle on Aboriginal placenames and language of Tasmania's north east.

The Tebrakunna Trainee Ranger Program, launched in early 2023, will also host an all day display and information session.

Cultural experiences with natural resources will be available in men's, women's, and mixed circles. In the men's circle, participants can make spears and compete in a spear throwing competition. Children can make mutton bird puppets and enjoy a mutton bird story performance by Rock Salt Arts.

Children will be able to enjoy art and craft activities, explore a natural bark hut, and participate in sand sculpture activities at the nearby beach.

Snakes Alive will showcase a range of reptiles, and attendees can participate in a silent auction for paintings and cultural treasures.

Cultural food will also be available on the day.

Mannalargenna was a prominent leader who played a crucial role as a negotiator with Tasmanian Aboriginal people to relocate to Wybalenna during colonial times.

This relocation was promised by George Augustus Robinson, who assured Indigenous Tasmanians they would eventually be able to return to their clan lands.

Unfortunately, Robinson failed to keep his promise, and as a symbol of this betrayal, Mannalargenna cut off his long ochred hair and beard. Mannalargenna passed away on December 4th, 1835, at Wybalenna on Flinders Island.

Today, his descendants gather on clan country every first Saturday of December to honour his life, the life of their ancestral grandmothers, and the enduring Aboriginal culture.

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