Aboriginal culture is still strong in Northern Queensland and a Dance and Cultural Festival, held every two years 15 kilometres from the outback town of Laura, 300 kilometres north of Cairns in the south of Cape York Peninsula, is a wonderful celebration of this. The communities participating come mainly from the Cape York region, from Cairns to the Torres Strait. Palm Island, near Townsville and Mornington Island, in the south of the Gulf of Carpentaria and even groups from the Northern Territory are also represented.
The biannual festival began in the early 1980s when communities in the Cape York region decided to reunite for a weekend of song, dance and celebration. Primarily a community event, it has also become a focus for reconciliation between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal Australians, aimed to create a greater awareness of the need for all people of this region to work together to make a better future. The future lies with our children and it is therefore wonderful to see so many children perform so enthusiastically and taking charge of their heritage.
The Festival is held at the Ang-gnarra Festival Grounds, on the site of the traditional "Bora" grounds where the local Kuku Yalanji Aboriginal people have congregated for time immemorial. It is a three day celebration, held every two years in the third week of June and is now the largest Indigenous Cultural Festival in Queensland. The programme includes more than 25 Aboriginal communities performing traditional dance and song, Art and Craft workshops, the Cape York Art Awards Exhibition, evening concerts, a didjeridu competition, boomerang and spear throwing.