Jungkajungka Woodlands Festival Fieldtrip

Jungkajungka Woodlands Festival Fieldtrip

Barb Howard

Over the April Easter weekend, the Shire of Dundas and the Ngadju people, the traditional owners and native title holders over a large expanse of the Great Western Woodlands hosted the inaugural Jungkajungka Woodlands Festival in Norseman. The weather was perfect for the latest regional festival added to the Goldfields-Esperance cultural calendar, made possible through a partnership with the Wilderness Society, Artgold and Country Arts WA.

The community of Norseman is centrally located in the Great Western Woodlands, the largest remaining intact temperate woodland on the planet that covers 16,000 hectares extending north of Kalgoorlie down to Esperance and out to the Nullabor plain.  The Jungkajungka is a native tuberous plant from the region that provided a vital water source for the Ngadju people as they moved around their country along with the famous water trees whose growth pattern they adapted to capture and retain water in a very dry climate. The Ngadju people remain strongly connected to their country and they are committed to the Great Western Woodlands being listed as a World Heritage site by the United Nations.

The inaugural Jungkajungka Woodlands Festival was preceded by a wonderful welcome to country on behalf of the Ngadju people. Picture: Lynn Webb

The Jungkajungka Woodlands Festival fused arts and science, attracting environment lovers from Perth, Albany, Kalgoorlie and Esperance to celebrate and learn together on Ngadju country. Master story teller James Schultz Senior, initiated his business’s unique cultural tour experience of the Great Western Woodlands mesmerising more than 100 people over the course of the weekend.

The weekend was also momentous for Artgold. The regional arts organisation launched the much anticipated Goldfields-Esperance Arts and Culture Strategic Framework 2017-2020 at local photographer Lynn Webb’s Gallery of Splendid Isolation to an audience of 80 people. Artgold has taken stewardship of the second iteration of the regional strategic framework and will soon be launching the Goldfields-Esperance Arts and Culture Trail, set to be the longest trail of its kind in Australia.

The Jungkajungka tuber, also known as the “twining fringe lily”. Picture: Aiman Ridzuan

The Jungkajungka Woodlands Festival, the Ngadju Cultural Tours, the Great Western Woodlands Interpretive Centre due to open in 2018/19 and the stunning woodlands photography of Lynn Webb will all feature on the arts and culture trail setting Norseman up to become a significant contributor to the arts and creative industries of Western Australia. The next Jungkajungka Woodlands Festival is being planned for Easter 2019 to coincide with the opening of the Great Western Woodlands Interpretive Centre.

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