Fire Stories - Country, Clan & Culture



Event Overview & Program
Featured Performers
Featured Workshops
Market Stalls

Cronulla Park Beach 

Saturday 23 April - 5pm to 9pm

Fire Stories – Country, Clan & Culture is a major cultural event at Cronulla Beach Park that celebrates and pays tribute to Dharawal Country and its People. 
Join us for a night of culture and storytelling from our local Dharawal Community.
Listen to song, dance, music and stories that reflect an ongoing connection to this place.
Enjoy the incredible talents of the main stage performances from William Barton, Robbie Miller, Tessa Thames and Bow & Arrow.
Get involved with the many workshop spaces around the park – learn traditional weaving techniques, local Dharawal language, shell art, dance and astronomy.
Learn how to cook with native ingredients with Modern Koori Fusion classes from the team at The Goanna Hut.
Explore the collection of curated market stalls and find yourself something to take home.
A night of listening, learning and celebrating.


Fire Stories is presented by Sutherland Shire Council in partnership with the Gujaga Foundation and La Perouse Local Aboriginal Land Council   



5:00PM   Opening Ceremony on the beach with the Gamay and Djaadjawan Dancers

5:15PM   Welcome to Country

5:30PM   Bow & Arrow

6:15PM   Tessa Thames

6:45PM   Dance Workshop with Gamay Dancers

7:00PM   Robbie Miller

7:50PM   William Barton 

8:40PM   Closing Fire Ceremony on the beach with the Gamay and Djaadjawan Dancers

The Goanna Hut - Koori Fusion cooking demo space

5:30PM   Pork belly rubbed with Tasmanian pepperberry and wrapped in paperbark

6:30PM   Sea mullet on a bed of warrigal greens and Karralla light salad with native rainforest limes

7:30PM   Lemon myrtle whole chicken served on a bed of salad with a twist! 

Shell Art and Language Workshop Space

5:30-7:30PM   Shell Art Workshop with Aunty Lola Ryan

7:30-8:00PM   Dharawal Language Workshop with Sophie Youngberry and Lowana Grech

8:00-8:30PM   Shell Art Workshop with Aunty Lola Ryan 

Weaving and Astronomy workshop space

5:30-8:00PM   Weaving Workshop with Kodie and Tarli Mason

8:00-8:30PM   Astronomy Workshop with Aunty Joanne Selfe

Download a copy of the program



Featured Performers

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The Djaadjawan Dancers

The Djaadjawan Dancers was established by Sharon Mason in 2013 and is an all women's traditional Aboriginal dance group with a range of ages from 3 - 75yrs. The group have a strong connection to Kamay Bay, La Perouse , Monaroo in the high country and Gunai Kurnai Vic.

Song, dance and stories translated into the Dhurga language is Djaadjawan's way of sharing Yuin culture to the greater communities throughout the country.

"Having grown up with my great matriarchs I was fortunate to learn my culture and be able to continue it for the next generation which I have a very strong passion with sharing our unique culture. These dances are about our ways here on the coast and how we live our daily lives still to this day." - Sharon Mason

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The Gamay Dancers

The Gamay Dancers are made up of dancers with a connection to Coastal Sydney. They perform dances that highlight movements and singing relating to coastal Sydney and the Illawarra. The dances tell stories that relate to local dreaming stories and practices.

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William Barton

William Barton is widely recognised as Australia's leading didgeridoo player as well as a highly esteemed composer, instrumentalist and vocalist.

He has composed works for didgeridoo and orchestras, string quartets, jazz and rock bands as well as collaborative contributions with some of Australia's leading composers.

William's passion is to create a journey for people through music and present them a diversity of musical styles using the didgeridoo. William utilises his cultural heritage to present his didgeridoo fusion as a storyteller, engaging audiences in the uniqueness of Australia, it's Aboriginal heritage and to challenge perspectives of the didgeridoo as an instrument. William works closely with classical music and composers to develop and sustain music for the didgeridoo in this environment.

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Robbie Miller

In 2013, Robbie Miller was working on his music at home in his bedroom. He uploaded a few of these songs to Triple J Unearthed and the rest is history. He was instantly acclaimed, winning the National Indigenous Music Award for best new indigenous talent and launching an incredible career in music.

Since then, he's released two EPs, toured Australia, had millions of streams and played several major festivals. His deep, melodic voice and insightful lyrics continue to win him new fans all over the world.

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Bow and Arrow

Bow and Arrow are a Surry Hills-based husband and wife team, known for their brand of soothing, electro-soul. Their music features hypnotising, electric guitar riffs and powerful vocals, while their live show is brimming with excited energy and experimental goodness.

Mindy and Mitchell met at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music and quickly established themselves as professional working musicians. They have toured nationally and internationally alongside many different artists and projects including Archie Roach, Christine Anu, Dan Sultan, Shellie Morris, and The Black Arm Band. They've played festivals all over Australia, from the Byron Bay BluesFest, to BIGSOUND

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Tessa Thames

The Spice Girls, The Fugees, TLC, Shania Twain, Natalie Imbruglia, Mariah Carey, The Cardigans... they were the sounds at Tessa Thames' Dad's  karaoke business in the 90's where she operated as a 'warm up' of sorts, taking the mic first with the hopes of encouraging others to follow suit.
Through this, Tessa cultivated her love of music and songwriting, absorbing her dearly held 'Top Of The Pops' 90's nostalgia like a sponge.
Now Tessa Thames unleashes her modern 90's nostalgic pop on the world.
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Closing Fire Ceremony

The Gamay and Djaadjawan Dancers will combine to conclude the evening with the Closing Fire Ceremony. This beach - side performance will showcase traditional dances and take place within the culturally significant Buri Buri (whale) installation on the sand.

Featured Workshops

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Astronomy Yanada Gili - Moonlight -

Festival goers have an opportunity to learn about the rich celestial knowledge systems of Australia's First People.

These sophisticated and complex astronomical knowledge systems, developed over millennia reveal relationships deeply embedded in science and culture.

In the night sky this knowledge can be seen through the knowledge held in, "the Emu in the Sky". Uniquely Australian this understanding of the night sky continues to play an important role in culture, the sciences and in oral tradition today.

Aunty Joanne grew up with stories of the Milky Way, shared by her mother, Elders and Community Knowledge Holders, enhancing her understanding of the depth of astronomical knowledge systems held by Australia's First Nations Communities.

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Dharawal Language Workshop

The language workshop will be led by Sophie Youngberry and Lowana Grech. Dharawal Language is the overarching language spoken by those belonging to Coastal Sydney and was spoken from Sydney Harbour to the Illawarra.

We will encourage participants to download Gujaga's Dharawal Language and Culture App and participate in language-based games and activities.

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Learn how to cook with native Australian ingredients and taste modern Koori fusion cooking.

Goanna Hut is owned and operated by Jo-Ann Lee who is an Indigenous chef with over 25 years experience. Her skills allow her to share her Aboriginal heritage and culture with all and her style and creative approach to food have developed a reputation and a large following.

Jo-Ann cooks, presents, and appears locally at Sydney food events. She is regularly cooking at major Indigenous celebrations and quite often appears on your favourite television cooking shows. At these cooking events she demonstrates her passion for fusing Indigenous Australian ingredients with contemporary cooking techniques and introduces these unique blends and flavours to the wider community.

To try out these recipes at home - Goanna Hut will also have a stall where you can purchase the spices and ingredients seen in the demonstration.

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Shell Art

The shell art workshop will be led by Aunty Lola Ryan.

Shell art is unique to the La Perouse Aboriginal community and is something that is passed on by Senior women in the community

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Weaving Workshop

The weaving workshop will be led by Kodie and Tarli Mason.

They will be teaching the rope and basket weave. Both techniques were taught to them by their Grandfather Uncle Rod Mason, Senior Gweagal Elder and knowledge holder.

Featured Market Stalls

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Sasha Kutabah Sarago, is a proud Wadjanbarra Yidinji, Jirrbal and African-American woman.

Sasha's country spans from Atherton Tablelands, Daintree right down to Tully - known as the Bama (Rainforest People) of Far North Queensland. Sasha is also the Editor and Founder of Ascension Magazine (Media).

Sasha is a creative soul, who has always been passionate about fashion. She decided to launch a line of apparel to celebrate he love of culture, share Indigenous history with others, and create awareness of the importance of buying blak.

Balgarra Designs

Balgarra Designs is 100% Aboriginal owned and operated, by Joanne Cassady. The word Balgarra comes from the Wiradjuri language which means: 'To Emit Sparks', Joanne chose the word Balgarra because of what the word represents. To emit sparks, the beginning of something new, to ignite a fire. Through the symbolic meaning Joanne hopes to ignite a fire of understanding, education, cultural awareness and unification through her art to the world. 

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Bush to Bowl

100% Aboriginal owned, by Clarence Bruinsma (Yaegl) and Adam Byrne (Garigal/Gadigal).

Bush to Bowl aims to create spaces where families and community members can engage with Australia's native plants and traditional Aboriginal knowledge and culture.

Bush to bowl was created as a way of giving back to culture and to country. Clarence and Adam believe strongly about protecting both these spaces now and in the future.

Deadly Del Designs

Aboriginal Designed and Hand painted Wooden Cheese Boards. You can find a variety of Items available - Wooden Cheese Boards and Coasters, Wooden Spoons and Clocks.
Delise Freeman is founder of  Deadly Del Designs. She is a proud Aboriginal woman from Goulburn NSW (Wiradjuri). She started painting only a little over two and a half years ago. She started designing and painting round and rectangle cheese boards, wooden spoons and keyrings. Delise has now added to her collection by painting, wooden bowls - large and small, cannisters and serving platters; mostly wooden. 
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Double Bridge Farm

Hand made products by Indigenous women's sewing group. Products include: headbands, scrunchies, soap pouches, cushion covers, bags - various sizes and styles, tablecloths, baby quilts, table runners and much more.

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Fraser and Felt

Fraser and Felt is an Aboriginal-owned and family-run, small business operating on Darkinjung Country (Central Coast NSW). Fraser and Felt creates beautiful wool, felt decor for all areas of the home or workplace.

Whether it is decorating a baby nursery, child's room or living space - Fraser and Felt products are the perfect addition. Fraser and Felt is owned by Katie and is named after her little boy, Fraser. Katie is a descendant of the Awabakal people but has done all of her growing and learning on Darkinjung Country.

Fraser and Felt's felt is natural, renewable, biodegradable and free of plastic. They have sourced their felt from a Nepalese family run business in Australia that works to empower women in Nepal by creating job opportunities for them. They are committed to fair trade.

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Jarin Street

Jarin Street began as a passion to protect and highlight artists and Aboriginal designs in the fashion industry.
It was also born out of wanting to create a pathway for all people to connect to Aboriginal artists and story through well-being, in a way that was respectful and appropriately honours Aboriginal culture. Jarin Street aims to provide ongoing ethical and sustainable support to the artists who contribute their work. 
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Jordan Ardler

Jordan is the manager, La Perouse Youth Haven and a freelance graphic designer

She graduated with a Bachelor of Design (Hons) from the University of New South Wales Australia Art and Design in 2016. She majored in both graphic and spatial design.

Jordan is the artist and creator of our feature artwork for Fire Stories.

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Kari Foundation

KARI Foundation is an Aboriginal not for profit with pillar's of culture, education, sport and healthy lifestyle, Aboriginal business and employment, capacity building and excellence. KARI Ltd. is the largest Aboriginal foster care provider in Australia

Ngumpie Weaving

'Ngumpie' in Barkindtji means 'Beautiful' - this is what Tegan Murdock's Nanna used to call her when she was younger.

Tegan knew her business name had to be this - Ngumpie (Pronounced Numbpie). Tegan's mum taught her to weave several years ago. She started weaving earrings and then kept creating new pieces as the inspiration came to her. Tegan now creates jewellery and wall pieces as well as teaches others to weave in face to face and online workshops, school visits and corporate staff development days.

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Ngurrbul Clothing

Tara is a proud Wiradjuri woman and the owner of Ngurrbul Baadhin Clothing. She was fortunate enough to be raised by her Nan and she really wanted to create something which celebrates the love and the gratitude she has for being raised by a strong, black woman.

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The Unexpected Guest

The Unexpected Guest are firm believers in doing what you absolutely love. That's why they started creating extraordinary breakfast products. They also like doing business with people who are equally as passionate about what they do.

The Unexpected Guest are committed to creating sensational products, supporting small businesses, organic and fair trade practices and having a great time doing it.

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Tricksta the Barista

Tricksta the Barista is a local Indigenous barista in Sydney's South serving up hot coffee and food from his van. Tricksta embraces his Aboriginal culture on his daily runs and shares his story with the community.

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