Dinners celebrate unique community
Hundreds of proud local men and women dressed up and gathered to celebrate their community’s culture and strength at the annual Roebourne men’s and women’s dinners last month.
The men’s dinner and Mangabura Gumagarrigu, or “strong beautiful women’s gathering”, were held at the Nor West Jockey Club on September 28 and 29 respectively, with a supportive atmosphere acknowledging the hard work many local men and women do for their communities.
The women’s dinner involved speeches and entertainment by community members and guests who exemplified what it means to be a strong woman, including event co-founders and Roebourne Ngarluma elders Violet Samson said Pansy Hicks, MC Karla Hart, and singer Billie Court who put on a powerhouse performance of jazz and pop songs.
The men’s gathering on the previous night saw actor Ernie Dingo take to the stage as MC.
Ms Samson and Ms Hicks said they were proud to have begun the Mangabura Gumagarrigu tradition and watch it grow in the past nine years.
“We do a lot of jobs — at home, caring for children, cooking, and this is our night out for the ladies,” Ms Samson said.
Catering was provided by Ieramugadu Cafe staff while rangers from the Yaburara and Coastal Mardudhunera Aboriginal Corporation set up the big outdoor space.
This was the first series of dinners to be co-ordinated by YACMAC, supported by sponsors Rio Tinto and Woodside.
YACMAC heritage officer Audrey Cosmos said staff felt privileged to be leading the beloved local events.
“We were approached midyear by Woodside and Rio. They put it out to the community, to whoever wanted to take part,” she said.
“For me personally, I’ve got all my sisters here tonight ... and I’m honoured.”
Ms Cosmos said the dinners were events unique to the tight-knit Roebourne community, and they had special meaning this year because of the town’s 150th year anniversary celebrations.
Woodside’s Sandra McInnes, Rio Tinto’s Jennifer MacKenzie, Roebourne elders Violet Samson and Pansy Hicks, YACMAC staff Selina Mowarin and Audrey Cosmos, and MC Karla Hart.
Singer Billie Court at Roebourne’s Nor West Jockey Club.