Sunrise before breakfast

Pilk Purriyn smoking Ceremony at sunrise image. (Ferne Millen Photography)

The community spent January 26 differently, with a Surf Coast sunrise ceremony and Lara breakfast.

Close to 2500 people gathered in Torquay for the Wadawurrung truth-telling event Pilk Purriyn, meaning sunrise, which recognised the survival, resilience and cultural preservation of First Nations people.

Three generations of Wadawurrung people were present for the proceedings, which opened with a traditional Welcome to Country and Smoking and Dancing Ceremonies during the event’s second year.

Wadawurrung Elder Aunty Mary Shuttleworth said it was good to see people actively participate and embrace a commitment to recognition and reconciliation.

“When I looked up at the crowd and saw my Wadawurrung family, First Nations community and others, I felt both humbled and joyful. With so many people attending it gave me hope,” she said.

Surf Coast Shire mayor Liz Pattison said the council was on a journey to reconciliation and recognition of past wrongs, loss and hurt.

“We acknowledge all that has gone before, and we thank Wadawurrung Traditional Owners for their strength and grace in sharing Pilk Purriyn with our community,” she said.

“We gathered with open hearts and in respectful silence today and absorbed truths which have been obscured for too long by the telling of only one side of our colonial history.”

In Lara, close to 600 people attended a free Australia Day breakfast from 8am to 11am at 4 Mill Road, coming together and enjoy food, entertainment and games.

Lara Lions Club secretary Tom Gilfillan said the community event was very successful and that he loved seeing everyone having fun.

“We had the thong throwing contest and the egg and spoon races, all those old-style things, so the kids loved it,” he said.

“We had some pretty keen people tuned into getting it (thong contest) right, but they had a lot of fun, and the egg and spoon race is always funny.

“Every year is satisfying when you get to the end of it and all the hard work pays off, and you get a lot of people out enjoying themselves.”