A revival and recognition of rare Aboriginal songs from the missions era

PERFORMANCE: The Mission Songs Project's Emma Donovan, Jessie Lloyd and Jessica Hitchcock.
PERFORMANCE: The Mission Songs Project's Emma Donovan, Jessie Lloyd and Jessica Hitchcock.

The Mission Songs Project is a revival of rare Indigenous songs that explore the human reality of the 'missions era' - a time where Aboriginal people were removed from their homelands and moved onto Christian missions.

Music director Jessie Lloyd has put together a plethora of songs inherited through family lines that were sung around campfires, on missions and settlements of the 20th century.

Before the show heads to the Desert Fringe in February next year, she will travel to Port Augusta to meet with the community, hear their stories and gather their cultural songs.

"I'd love to have SA songs in the performance. I want to her from elders and Aboriginal people so their oral stories are captured in song," Ms Lloyd said.

Umeewarra Mission Children's Home opened near Port Augusta in 1937.

It was run by the Christian Brethren as a Home and school for Aboriginal children and in the 1950s-60s between 50 and 70 children lived at the Home.

The Mission Songs Project delves into a forgotten story on an unexplored corner of Australian history.

In a time of great distress, these songs were filled with optimism and hope.

"It's coming back to Country," she said.

"Mission Songs paints a picture of those days that no-one really talked about.

"Research happens on the road. The more I travel, the more people tell me their yarns. It's a part of Australian history...part of our modern Aboriginality."

The meet and greet barbecue will be at the Port Augusta Cultural Centre Yarta Purtli on Friday, October 4 from 4-7pm.