SHELLHARBOUR City Council kicked off National Aborigines and Islanders Day Observance Committee (NAIDOC) Week celebrations on Monday with a well-attended event at the Barrack Heights Community Garden.
Traditionally the council has held its NAIDOC Ceremony at Lamerton House, but this year decided to move the event to better interact with the community.
The move was a success, with more than 200 people attending the event.
Shellharbour City Council manager of community and cultural life Nicole Collins said that in 2012 the council formed a Barrack Heights round table to address some issues in the area.
"One of the things that came out of that was that there needed to be some more interaction between the community and service providers in the area,’’ she said.
‘‘That’s why we’ve brought the ceremony out to the garden and we’ve had somewhere between 20 and 25 service providers here with stalls to engage with people.’’
While the event was an important way for council to engage with residents, the main message of NAIDOC Week was also present.
Shellharbour City Council Aboriginal community liaison officer Veronica Bird said NAIDOC Week was extremely important to for Aboriginal and Torres Straight Islander people.
"So to have 250 - 300 people here today is a great out come,’’ she said.
‘‘NAIDOC Week is about showcasing our culture and history, we’re not all one particular group so it’s good to come together and show the richness and diversity of it.
‘‘The theme of NAIDOC Week this year is Serving Country: Centenary and Beyond, so this year we’re paying respect to all the Indigenous people past and present who have served our country.’’