The Back to Bugandramine Cultural Festival held at Peak Hill was moved to the Koinonia Hall due to the threat of significant rainfall over the weekend. The rain held off on Saturday and a perfect winter’s day set the scene for the opening of the festival. The festival was originally planned for the grounds at the previous aboriginal mission site known as Bulgandramine where over 1,000 Aboriginal people lived and raised their families until the mission was closed.
The weekend was opened with a smoking ceremony, acknowledgement of Elders, past and present, a welcome to visitors and the Maori group, Te Raranga Whanui who travelled from Sydney to be at the Festival. Te Raranga Whanui were represented by Pastor Bill Mei in an acceptance and the group responded to the welcome sharing their beautiful harmonies in song.
Visitors were welcomed to the Shire by Councillor Ken Keith and the Wiradjuri performers escorted Cr Keith to the stage to show him some traditional dances which he happily joined in! After the welcome, kids enjoyed activities including face painting, jumping castle, craft and weaving with a special guest from Sydney, Kirri Morcombe. Rodney Powell entertained the crowds, while lunch was prepared by Bernie Peri and Te Raranga Whanui put on their main performance for the weekend.
After lunch, Larry Brandy spoke about Aboriginal tools and clothes and local band Riff Raff performed during the evening. On Sunday everyone joined at the Koinonia Hall to finish off the weekends festivities with a church service as the rain came down outside. The community was fortunate to have Pastor Mark Naden talk about growing up in Peak Hill and how he came to be a preacher and he was joined by Pastor Tom Sloan and his wife Stella to lead the singing. The Parkes Fijian Group and Te Raranga Whanui performed filling the building with fabulous music. Thank you to the many sponsors, volunteers, guests and the Peak Hill community for providing such a wonderful event.