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READ TO ME: Orange City Library Storytime teller Fiona Hawke reads to Harry Callaghan at the special event for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Children’s Day. Photo: PHIL BLATCH

Celebrating Indigenous culture and opening the eyes of Orange toddlers to the ancient customs was at the heart of a special Storytime at Orange City Library on Tuesday.

Thirty youngsters were enchanted by a Stradbroke Island Dream Time story read by Aboriginal man Darren Smith, who then captivated them when he played the didgeridoo for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Children’s Day.

Regular Storytime reader Fiona Hawke also read stories and helped children make rainsticks from cardboard and rice.

It was the first time an event had been held in Orange by child protection service Barnardos Australia, and Orange office Aboriginal case worker Lynn Orcher said it was pleasing to see each child had learnt a little about Aboriginal culture.

“It’s an opportunity for everybody to get an insight into the community, culture and family values that are so important,” Ms Orcher said.

While no Aboriginal children could make it for various reasons, Ms Orcher said showing support for the day, which is the largest annual celebration of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children nationwide, would help Indigenous kids feel proud of their culture.

“It makes them feel important, it makes them proud of themselves. It teaches them to grow within their culture and teaches them to be proud of that,” Ms Orcher said.

Mother Kate Callaghan, who with her children Isla and Harry Callaghan are Storytime regulars, said the celebration of Aboriginal culture had proven to be a hit with her little ones.

“We’re not Indigenous, therefore its good to go to things like this, it’s good for them to learn about different cultures,” Mrs Callaghan said.

“They loved listening to the didgeridoo.”


(This article was first published in the Central Western Daily and was written by By  Alexandra King.)

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