Ahead of the anniversary of the destructive floods that devastated the Fitzroy Valley by damaging roads, houses and sweeping away the Fitzroy River bridge in January, the Fitzroy Valley community came together for the Stronger Together event at the Fitzroy Crossing Town oval.
The Shire of Derby and West Kimberly said the event was to celebrate Thirrili yani Yilingarri (Stronger Together) – reflecting and celebrating how far the community has come in recovery and building resilience for the future.
Speaking at the Saturday event, Member for the Kimberley, Divina D’Anna, addressed the crowd and drew attention to the “unseen costs” resulting from the flood devastation. She commended the resilience of the Fitzroy Valley community and highlighted the challenging months they had endured. Ms D’Anna praised the indomitable spirit of the Kimberley region’s residents.
In the past few months, the Fitzroy Valley has placed a strong emphasis on building resilience within the community, particularly in preparation for the upcoming wet season. The recovery process has focused significantly on social and emotional wellbeing, marking a crucial aspect of community development.
The event was a blast for the kids, with over 65 artists and facilitators who provided entertainment such as face painting, kite making, balloon twisters, bush fairies, circus acts and 13 monstrous inflatables including water slides, climbing walls, bucking bulls and obstacle courses. There was also a drone sky show telling a traditional Dreamtime story.
Acclaimed Indigenous rapper Baker Boy from Arnhem Land in the Northern Territory stole the show when he took to the stage drawing a large crowd that danced and sang along. Other artists like the Flaming Galahs and Mitch Tambo also rocked out with their incredible music. Touring Australia, Tambo said he came to Fitzroy to give back and to help ignite a healing spirit in the community.
“No matter what you’re going through in this world, no matter how tough it gets, we’ve got the most powerful healing tool in the whole world and that’s our culture. And when you’re going through tough things, find a way to reconnect with elders and strong members of the community to find those stories,” explained Tambo.