Celebrations paused for NAIDOC Remembrance

NAIDOC: Those at the Remembrance Ceremony were encouraged to throw rosemary into the Gulf as they reflected on their loved ones.
NAIDOC: Those at the Remembrance Ceremony were encouraged to throw rosemary into the Gulf as they reflected on their loved ones.

As NAIDOC Week comes to a close, celebrations are temporarily put on pause for a quiet moment of reflection for loved ones lost.

The Remembrance Ceremony, traditionally held at the Presbyterian Church, made it's debut at the Port Augusta Yacht Club.

Organisers lit candles and passed out special pins and rosemary, while participants took to an open floor to share memories of the bereaved.

"There's lots of people that we grieve for, people that are close to us and who will remain in our hearts and others that maybe have done something that we will always remember," Vince Coulthard said.

"I, as each and every one of us has, have lost a lot of people in our lives that made a difference.

"We can remember our loved ones in many different ways. Some funny stories and sometimes we get angry, but we love them and we remember them."

Alwyn McKenzie shared memories of his late daughter Twyla, accompanied by a special song he used to sing for her called 'The Twyla Phoneque Breakfast Show'.

Mr McKenzie lost Twyla nine-years-ago and he reflected on the difficult time of his first Remembrance Ceremony.

"I've learnt from these remembrance days that by sharing and listening to other people, it just helps with the whole process. You don't forget about them, but you do learn to live with the loss of them," he said.

"By doing this and talking about them, they live on by memory and by word too."

In many areas of Indigenous Australia, mentioning the name of deceased people is avoided.

Events like the Remembrance Ceremony give the community a chance to reflect in a culturally safe space.

"In traditional Aboriginal culture you don't mention the person's name, but for me personally I find comfort in mentioning my daughters name," Mr McKenzie said.

"If you stop mentioning them and talking about them, that's when they're gone.

"We come from a sharing people and for me personally, me and my family, we have gotten through the hard times by people showing that they care for us and for our bereaved person. That's been important."