The inaugural Aboriginal Australian Kids Story Festival (or, the Woylie Festival, as we like to call it) is taking shape to celebrate Aboriginal stories through languages, literature and the arts, 27 March – 3 April, 2018, in Fremantle. We would love you to be part of it.
Since opening in February 2016, Paper Bird Children’s Books and Arts has been developing an Aboriginal literature program that reflects the need and desire expressed by families and educators in Western Australian for children to have more and better access to the wealth of Aboriginal stories, art and literature in our community.
Part of this initiative is to hold a national story festival dedicated to children’s Aboriginal literature and the arts. The Whadjuk people, on whose traditional land the festival will take place, refer to Fremantle as Walyalup, meaning place of the woylie. The woylie is a small marsupial otherwise known as a brush-tailed bettong, native to Fremantle and now endangered. It is a fitting emblem for connection to country and responsibility for conserving Indigenous languages and stories to be handed down to younger generations.
The City of Fremantle has partnered with Paper Bird to organise and host this festival. The City of Fremantle has granted the use of the Moores Gallery adjacent to Paper Bird for the Woylie Festival. This will allow the festival to be installed and flow through the entire Moores Building and courtyard spaces.
The event will showcase a rich spectrum of different forms of Aboriginal stories through book displays, writers and illustrators presentations, exhibitions of artwork, oral story telling, dance, song, and film.
It will be a free event that will engage people of all ages and connect Fremantle with its Aboriginal stories and those from around Australia.
The Woylie will bring together the creative talents and wisdom of Aboriginal children’s book writers, illustrators and storytellers from across Australia to showcase here in Fremantle.
Kids from schools around Australia will be able to tap into, if not visit, the festival to learn about Aboriginal Australian culture through stories. Families will have the opportunity to explore Fremantle during this free festival and learn about the Aboriginal stories from this area.
The Woylie Festival will be promoted through all schools, libraries and community channels to encourage all kids, parents and educators to get involved. Noongar Elder, Marie Taylor, will conduct the opening ceremony to welcome festival attendees to Walyalup. Festival Patrons, Theresa Walley and Professor Kim Scott, both celebrated Noongar children’s book writers and storytellers, will be part of launching the Easter weekend events. Other writers, illustrators and storytellers include, Festival Elder, Dr Noel Nannup (WA), Kerry-Ann Winmar (WA), Sally Morgan (WA), Ambelin Kwaymulina (WA), Josie Boyle (WA), Greg Dreise (QLD), and Dub Leffler (NSW).
This is a very important step forward in celebrating the diversity and richness of Aboriginal children’s literature and story telling through spoken word, dance, visual art and song.