We acknowledge the Bunurong / Boon Wurrung Peoples, Traditional Custodians of the land on which Koolin-ik ba Kirrip-buluk (family and friends) event is held and pay our respects to Elders, past, present and future.

SPONSORED: This year’s NAIDOC theme ‘Voice. Treaty. Truth. Let’s Work together for a shared future’ celebrates more than 65,000 years of the Indigenous voice; a voice that shares knowledge, connects us to country and strives for true reconciliation.

To commemorate this important cultural event, Indigenous singer-songwriter Kutcha Edwards will be performing alongside other Indigenous artists such as Djirri Djirri Dance Group and Kee’ahn at Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria’s Cranbourne Gardens.

Edwards was born on the banks of the Murrumbidgee River at Balranald, New South Wales, of the Mutti Mutti people. He was removed from his parents at 18 months as one of many of the Stolen Generations.

Kutcha started performing in 1991 with a Koori community rock band. In 2002, he became a solo artist when he released his first CD, Cooinda. The album covers his experience of being removed from his family, songs dedicated to his parents, racism and alcoholism.

Through his music, Kutcha shares stories about himself, his family and those of Aboriginal people in the Australia of today. His songs are about his life experiences and his interactions with the environment in which he lives.

Kutcha Edwards will be performing at the NAIDOC celebration
Kutcha Edwards will be performing at the NAIDOC celebration

“My musical influences come from Aboriginal pioneers such as Uncle Jimmy Little, Uncle Vic Sims, Lionel Rose and Roger Knox, as well as Australian musicians Paul Hester, Paul Kelly and David Bridie who he thanked in his first album, Cooinda,” says Edwards.

Edwards writes music with a sense of responsibility – to share the stories of his ancestors, and his people. Seeing music as a fundamental part of who he is, he feels that although his songs may be contemporary, they are more than 40,000 years old.

His second album, Hope, was released in 2007. In 2010, he teamed up with some of Australia’s best blues and roots musicians to release his third album, BLAK & BLU.

To Kutcha, music is a way to debrief one’s life, to share with people a sense of connection and a belonging and to inspire others.

The public is welcome to join in this special event at Cranbourne Gardens by the warmth of the large fire pit and Wayapa Wuurrk wellness workshops, which encourage mindfulness and connection to country. There will also be speciality workshops in Indigenous dance and games, damper making, gumnut necklace craft, as well as a free BBQ. Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria Aboriginal staff will lead Indigenous knowledge tours, Indigenous language and plant uses workshops.

As a family-friendly event that celebrates Indigenous culture, NAIDOC creates opportunities for cultural learning for both Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal community members from the Southern Metropolitan Region and beyond.

This free event will be held on Wednesday 10 July from 10am – 2pm, drop in anytime at Cranbourne Gardens, Ian Potter Lakeside Precinct, Corner Ballarto Road and Botanic Drive, Cranbourne. For more information call 03 5990 2200 or visit www.rbg.vic.gov.au/naidoc.