NAIDOC week 2020 theme is 'Always Was, Always Will Be' celebrating Australia's ancient history and traditions and cultures which endure to this day.

NAIDOC week typically falls in July however, because of the current pandemic this year it is being celebrated from Sunday 8th November to Sunday 15th November. Due to current government guidelines and to project the health and safety of our community members, unfortunately we will not be able to host any major events or gatherings, but along with the community, we will celebrate and recognise NAIDOC week in several different ways.

On Sunday 8 November in a unique and very fitting way to begin NAIDOC Week, Parkes Shire Council Deputy Mayor, Cr Barbara Newton joined in the celebrations at the Parkes Observatory where the iconic CSIRO Parkes Radio Telescope and two smaller telescopes each received Wiradjuri names. The project has been in the planning for some time in collaboration with the Aboriginal Education Consulting Group (AECG) and the North West Wiradjuri Language and Culture NEST.

Peak Hill Preschool was successful in obtaining a Federal Government grant as part of Federal Government program to support local organisations during NAIDOC week. Peak Hill Preschool will be conducting a range of activities throughout the week including tastings of traditional foods such as emu and kangaroo meat. The Preschool purchased a badge making machine with the grant funding to enable them to create their own badges with Aboriginal themes and drawings by the local children.

On Friday 13 November, Council will unveil the new Wiradjuri Cultural Garden at Bushman's Hill. This project aims to increase community awareness of local Wiradjuri culture and history and will showcase plants commonly used by Wiradjuri people in their day to day life for food, medicine, and other purposes.

"The design of the garden was overseen by a working group compromising local Wiradjuri residents and Council staff passionate about raising the profile of the Wiradjuri history and culture. We are very proud of the garden and especially proud that it will be officially opened in conjunction with NAIDOC week," said Cr Newton.

Also on Friday, the new Library and Cultural Centre will be officially opened showcasing the new expansive facility and integration of Wiradjuri language through signage and interpretation.

"The new Parkes Library & Cultural Centre facility offers the local community an innovative and modern expansion to deliver dynamic art and cultural and education spaces. To celebrate NAIDOC week the Parkes Library, have a dedicated display of a Wiradjuri collection and the weekly Storytime on Wednesday morning will focus on Wiradjuri language books," concluded Cr Newton.

There are many other facilities and public artworks that the community can explore, enjoy and learn about our Wiradjuri Culture. The Public Art Trail features artwork by renowned local Wiradjuri Artist, Scott 'Sauce' Towney at locations in both Parkes and Peak Hill. Sauce's artworks also feature as part of the Rotary Peace Precinct at the base of Memorial Hill, a place for contemplation and reflection about world peace. Explore the five carved timber sculptures along the trail which are carved with Wiradjuri iconography to acknowledge the First Peoples and our local history. To find out more about these locations, visit www.visitparkes.com.au