NAIDOC Committee of Bindjareb chairman Barry Lawrence has hailed last week's NAIDOC celebrations as "the best yet" after a jam-packed schedule of events came to an end on Saturday.
Held across Australia from July 7-14 this year, the annual festivities celebrate the history, culture and achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.
NAIDOC Week is celebrated not only in Indigenous communities, but by all Australians and kicked off in Mandurah with activities at the Billy Dower Youth Centre, free games, food and a workshop from premier Indigenous comedy star Kevin Kropinyeri.
The Bindjareb NAIDOC community event commenced later in the afternoon on July 8 with a march along the eastern foreshore and a flag raising ceremony in Mandjar Square.
The celebrations then spilled inside the Mandurah Performing Arts Centre with a Welcome to Country, speeches, afternoon tea, children's activities and another performance from Kropinyeri in the Boardwalk Theatre.
With plenty of additional events throughout the week to enjoy, NAIDOC Week came to an end on Saturday with the inaugural mixed netball carnival Gnaala Karla Booja.
Mr Lawrence said his organising committee never expected such a great turn out to this year's festivities.
"The whole entire week consisted of different events from Monday to Saturday in different locations and it was the first time we've actually done that so it just gave the Peel community the opportunity to go to different places and take their family to experience the culture," he said.
"We had a great turn out at the events, we didn't expect so many people - this year there were just so many people who came and it was such a good thing.
"We wanted to be able to capture the whole audience across Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people, to come and experience that atmosphere."
Read more on NAIDOC Week 2019:
Mr Lawrence said, since becoming chairman of the NAIDOC Committee of Bindjareb four years ago, they had been working hard to create
"It's been a lot of pulling back a lot of the layers and opening it up for everyone to be involved and included in it and we've built a strong committee to be able to do that," he said.
"We did that hoping to get it to the way it was this year, the best yet. We wanted it to be shared across the community and all people, all cultures.
"We couldn't have done it without the Mandurah Police and City of Mandurah as well. I really want to express my gratitude to the Mandurah Police for coming on board this year.
"For them to come and break down those barriers with our community was a great sight to see so I want to acknowledge the officers in charge for that.
"Also thanks to the City of Mandurah and the community engagement sector - what they have done and what they do for this community with the reconciliation action plan and Aboriginal engagement, they are paving the way for a very special future."
Mr Lawrence said NAIDOC Week was a special opportunity to share culture, language and traditions.
"I grew up with a lot of culture, language so I have that opportunity to be enhanced with it, to soak it up every day," he said.
"For me, NAIDOC Week is about sharing our culture - not my culture because it is everyone's culture and it's not just for Aboriginal people, it's for non-Aboriginal people to share and learn the culture that exists in our country.
"Everyone in this country has a place for that culture - we have the longest living culture in the world and that's something to be proud of."
Mr Lawrence said the NAIDOC committee of Bindjareb was already looking forward to making next year's celebrations "bigger and better".
"We'll sit down and de-brief now and then in the next couple of weeks, we start planning bigger and better things for next year's Monday night celebration and also getting the Saturday carnival to a point where it's going to be very successful for the community," he said.
"The mixed netball carnival was brand new for us and we didn't know what to expect but we had a great day and it's something we will definitely invest in next year. We've already got lots of interest from different groups to come down and participate in it.
"We also want to ensure we support the agencies and community services that sit around our NAIDOC committee, who host events during the week and that will make it bigger and better into next year and beyond."
The NAIDOC Committee of Bindjareb also send their thanks to the following groups and organisations:
- City of Mandurah
- Department of Communities
- Nidjalla Waangan Mia
- Dudley Park Child and Parent Centre
- Palmerston Association
- Street Net Youth Service Mandurah
- WA Police
- City of Kwinana
- Australian Red Cross Kwinana
- Woolworths Mandurah
- Coles Mandurah