NAIDOC Week celebrations are held across Australia each year to celebrate the history, culture and achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. This year NAIDOC Week will be held from 8-15 November and the theme is Always Was, Always Will Be.  

Always Was, Always Will Be recognises that First Nations people have occupied and cared for this continent for over 65,000 years. 

NAIDOC Week is celebrated in Indigenous communities and by all Australians from all walks of life. This week is a great opportunity to participate in a range of activities and to support your local Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community. 

Here’s how we are celebrating NAIDOC Week 2020... 

Discover the story of the Kuueeyung at Newcastle Museum


Learn about the history and technology of the traditional punnah (stringy bark) canoe that was built onsite at the museum by proud Gringai Worimai man Luke Russell from Wylaa Buuranliyn. 

The permanent exhibition can be viewed at Newcastle Museum from Tuesdays to Sundays between 10am to 5pm, and entry is free via QR code. 

Celebrate a cultural story in song by local Torres Strait Islander artist Toby Cedar


Growing up on mainland Australia, Toby Cedar was taught traditional stories from the Islands through song and dance. Like his ancestors, Cedar is an innovative, self-taught craftsman who uses the materials available to him to realise his works. He was taught the importance of his culture by his elders who passed down to him traditional ways, practices and protocols.  

Cedar is heavily influenced by his Torres Strait Islander culture, his totems, and particularly his father’s stories about family life and his youth on the islands hunting, fishing, gardening, and dancing. 

Newcastle Art Gallery will proudly present a video of Cedar performing his original song Wai Kara Ebur, available to view on the Newcastle Art Gallery websiteFacebook page or YouTube. 

The contemporary totemic headdresses that appear in the video are worn by male dancers who make them come alive with music and dance to tell stories about the land, lives and traditions of the Torres Strait.  

 Image credit: Toby CEDAR (pictured) 

Hear from a rich collection of local Indigenous storytellers through Newcastle Libraries latest podcast series

Newcastle Libraries latest podcast series explores how Newcastle’s Aboriginal communities share and tell stories. Newcastle’s First Storytellers: Always Was, Always Will Be will be released during NAIDOC Week and you can listen via your favourite podcast app - simply search 'Newcastle Libraries REAL' to access the episodes.

Episode 1: Donna Meehan

Release date: Monday 9 November 

Donna Meehan is an Aboriginal advocate, local author, member of the Stolen Generation and active member of the Newcastle community. In this podcast Donna shares her thoughts on NAIDOC Week 2020. Donna has written several books and shares her story with grace and forgiveness. Her autobiography, It is no secret, tells the story of a sixteen-hour train ride to Broadmeadow railway station, her life in Newcastle, and her reunion with her birth mother.  

Episode 2: Saretta Fielding 

Release date: Tuesday 10 November 

Saretta Fielding is an artist, entrepreneur and activist. A member of the Wonnarua Nation of the Hunter Valley Region in New South Wales, she is the founder of Saretta Art and Design and Malang Indigenous Corporation, a not-for-profit supporting the sustainable economic and social inclusion of Aboriginal people in the community. Saretta Art and Design is acclaimed for high-quality original artworks, innovative textiles, homewares, and fashion lines. 

Episode 3: John Maynard 

Release date: Wednesday 11 November 

John Maynard is a Worimi Aboriginal man and Professor of Indigenous Education and Research (Indigenous History) at the University of Newcastle. He has become one of the world's most respected voices on Indigenous history, and his books include the Aboriginal Soccer Tribe and the Fight for Liberty and Freedom which was shortlisted for the Victorian Premiers History Award.  

Episode 4: Jake Ridgeway 

Release date: Thursday 12 November 

Jake Ridgeway is a young Indigenous singer, songwriter, and performer based in Newcastle.  Jake weaves genuine storylines with sweet R&B/Rock grooves and soul drenched vocals into a warm melody grounded by his Worimi and Kamilaroi roots. The musical inspirations Jake draws on include Troy Cassar-Daley, Justin Timberlake, Sam Hunt and Silverchair. 

Episode 5: Ray Kelly Jnr  

Release date: Friday 13 November 

Ray Kelly Jnr comes from a local Indigenous family. The Kelly family is synonymous with the Aboriginal community of Newcastle. His father, Ray Kelly Snr is a respected Dhungutti culture and language Elder. Ray Kelly Jnr grew up in Newcastle and is a member of the Gattang language belt of east coast New South Wales. He's is a father of three daughters, an artist and an active member of Newcastle’s Aboriginal arts community.  

Episode 6: William Smith

Release date: Saturday 14 November

William Smith, Wirrigan Aboriginal Elder, joins the series to tell us about his move to Newcastle and his  extraordinary early years spent working alongside BHP building bridges between people and creating opportunities for many more. He talks beautifully about the way forward and shares stories of hope and inspiration from his and his ancestors journeys. He also explores the special place that Newcastle holds in his heart. 

Find out more about other Newcastle Library Podcasts

Explore artwork from local artist Saretta Fielding on display at Wallsend Library


Saretta Fielding is an artist, entrepreneur and activist. A member of the Wonnarua Nation of the Hunter Valley Region in New South Wales, she is the founder of Saretta Art and Design which is acclaimed for high-quality original artworks, innovative textiles, homewares, and fashion lines. Come and browse Saretta’s latest artworks on display at Wallsend Library throughout NAIDOC Week. 

Wallsend Library is open Monday to Thursday from 9.30am to 8pm, Fridays from 9.30am to 6pm, Saturdays from 9.30am to 2pm, and Sundays from 1.30pm to 5pm. 

Pop into the Visitor Information Centre for a great range of Indigenous information and gifts


The Visitor Information Centre stocks a wide range of Indigenous information and souvenirs including posters of the Awabakal alphabet, plant and animal names, and a great range of gifts including face masks made by the Murrook Community from the Woromi LAC. 

Located at 430 Hunter Street Newcastle, they are open Monday to Friday between 9:30am - 4:30pm, and Saturdays between 10:00am and 2:00pm.