Bush Capital | Canberra Heritage Festival brings our stories to life

Many moons ago, a wise old chief ranger suggested that we can learn from the past so as to inform the present as a means of guiding our future.

Beneath the fabric of our community lies a rich tapestry woven over time, informed by experiences, insights and past lives lived well. 

The bush capital environs of today are remarkably different to that of my youth. While our city has matured with time, today we celebrate a shared history, seen through the lens of an ancient indigenous landscape upon which new arrivals have traversed. A cultural landscape that shapes the nature of our community today and into the future. 

It has been said that a community without knowledge of its heritage, its origins, is like a tree without solid roots. Our sense of continuity is drawn from highly distinctive cultural expressions, passed down through generations, evolving in response to the environment at the time. 

LIVING HISTORY: Understanding, experiencing and expressing aspects of our heritage - as the Canberra Heritage Festival encourages - can help us move forward into the future with more confidence.

LIVING HISTORY: Understanding, experiencing and expressing aspects of our heritage - as the Canberra Heritage Festival encourages - can help us move forward into the future with more confidence.

Through appreciating our own identity we are better able to embody the values of mutual respect and tolerance, creating a more inclusive caring society.

Now in its 36th year, the 2018 Canberra and Region Heritage Festival: My culture, my story, devotes 16 days to the celebration of Aboriginal, European and natural heritage in and around our beautiful bush capital. This year's Heritage Festival will focus on how culture makes this such a special place, encouraging us all to embrace the future by sharing the strength of our cultural identities.

So grab your Jane Austen bonnets, bush dancing shoes and lederhosen! Tell us your story and celebrate the tangible cultural expression of dance, costume, music and poetry. As the nation’s capital, Canberra is bursting with stories reflecting our rich cultural heritage. 

From April 14-29 there are over 130 fun-filled interactive activities that celebrate our wonderful community. You can learn about Aboriginal culture, explore Canberra’s Cold War history, enter a Regency wonderland, taste German beer, step inside a stunning Orthodox church and even discover your own heritage. Join my colleagues at one of the several events happening in our nature reserves.

Held over the school holidays and Anzac Day period, the Heritage Festival is a great opportunity to explore Canberra and surrounds a little differently with family and friends. 

Each of us has a unique story that collectively forms a wonderful narrative underpinning why this is the best little city in the world.  My Culture, my story sets the scene for all of us to reflect on our own cultural nuances, capturing our stories, sharing our experiences. 

As a means of planning your complete heritage festival experience, visit www.act.gov.au/heritagefestival.

  • Brett McNamara is with ACT Parks & Conservation Service.

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