Barunga Festival, held annually on the Queen’s birthday long weekend (9-11 June, 2017) is now in its 32nd year, earning its place as one of the most important community festivals in regional Australia.
The Festival has a strong history of showcasing the Katherine region and supporting remote indigenous communities to come together and celebrate the positive aspects of community life through football, basketball, softball, music (contemporary and traditional), traditional arts and culture. Visitors of all ages are encouraged to join in the festivities and enjoy this unique opportunity to engage with a remote Indigenous community.
The 2016 Festival attracted 3,500 visitors from far and wide, and garnered national and international media coverage.
In 2017, this much-loved Territory event promises to deliver an incredible program of music, sport, culture, art, dance, circus, kids activities, workshops, healthy food and many more festive treats – all of which will be revealed in the New Year.
Barunga Festival officially began in 1985 in the remote Aboriginal community of Bamyili instigated by the leader of the Bagala clan, Bangardi Lee.
In 1988, Barunga was the site of Aboriginal leaders coming together and presenting Prime Minister Bob Hawke with the Barunga Statement which called for a treaty. Prime Minister Hawke signed the statement in his visit to the Festival but sadly, it was never brought before Parliament. Yothu Yindi went on to write the worldwide hit ‘Treaty’ as a result of this gathering at the Barunga Festival.