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    2017 Quandamooka Festival

by Kelly Hawke on Friday July 28th

For the third year, Quandamooka Festival has staged a community wide celebration with events being held around the Redlands and Moreton Bay Island regions, including Minjerribah (Straddie), as well as Brisbane.

Kicking off in July, the festival has held kunjiel (corroborees), workshops, exhibitions and other cultural events… and it’s not over yet!  The festival ends in September, hosting more than 50 events.

We talk with festival curator and Quandamooka woman, Avril Quaill, about Quandamooka Festival and all the highlights.


Can you tell us about this year's Quandamooka Festival theme? 
We have a theme each year and this year’s celebrates the importance of water – the life giving element. The theme explored throughout the festival includes waters connecting people, nourishing environments and giving life to all things across lands and seas. It incorporates the aspect of salt and fresh water and how it is a crucial element for the environment and people. It also relates to Kabul (the Rainbow Serpent), which is a major symbolic totem for the Quandamooka people, about transformation and environment.

How much has the festival grown since 2015? 
It continues to grow every year. We’ve added at least six events this year and have seen an increase in attendance and also more interest and awareness from the general public about the Quandamooka people. We believe the festival will continue to grow for years to come.

When and why did you get involved with Quandamooka festival? 
I volunteered on the 2015 and 2016 festivals and in 2017 an opportunity came up to be the festival’s curator for 2017/18. I’m working closely with the Quandamooka Festival focus group under QYAC and the Economic Transition Strategy, which the festival is a key component of.

I’m a Quandamooka woman and have worked in Aboriginal arts as a curator for most of my working life and it’s important for me to take my expertise and networks and put back in to my own community.

Do you have a personal highlight from Quandamooka Festival so far?
For me a highlight is any of the kunjiel (corroboree), something that is what will shape the future festivals. Kunjiel stems from our elders, who were passionate about having a festival of our own which revitalised our cultural traditions through the kunjiel. It also incorporates other elements, including Quandamooka people’s music, traditional dance and language.

Another highlight is the contemporary performances by young people in the community who are creating poetry and theatre. The next generation are interested in hip-hop and slam poetry that reflects what their contemporary experience is as an Aboriginal person. On August 18 in Dunwich there will be a comedy night, in partnership with the Queensland Poetry Festival, and the winner of the 2017 Oodgeroo Noonuccal Indigenous Poetry Prize will be announced. All our events are open to the public.

How important is this festival to the local community and Quandamooka people? 
The local community have been very supportive, including many local businesses and sponsors. The Quandamooka community see it as an important step in getting recognition and raising awareness for Quandamooka people’s perspectives about the region – caring for country and respecting the environment.

What are some events that Minjerribah locals and visitors shouldn't miss? 
There are still a lot of great events left to attend, including:

  • Yura Yalingbila (Welcome the Whales) - July 29
  • UQMBRS Marine Mammal Forum - July 31
  • Deadly Voices: Spoken Word + Comedy Night with Sean Choolburra – August 13
  • Buangan Biyigi (Dolphin festival) – September 30.

For more information and a full list of events head to www.quandamookafestival.com.au