The Illawarra’s upcoming social calendar is jam-packed with events to celebrate our First Nations people and keep the kids entertained, as NAIDOC Week launches alongside the start of the school holidays.
From cooking and Indigenous art workshops to crafts, film and comedy and even a Dungeons & Dragons crawl across the region, the choices are eclectic and include events unrelated to NAIDOC Week or the kids.
We’ve narrowed it down to nine.
When: Saturday 1 July, 10 am to 4 pm
Where: Kiama Masonic Lodge, 46 Collins Street, Kiama
Cost: Free entry.
From rock to funk, hip-hop to jazz, all genres of music are covered at this relaxed, family and pet-friendly event, where local record sellers converge with their specialist knowledge and collections. Expect thousands of vinyl records from all eras as well as hundreds of cassettes, CDs and 45s to dig through, covering the ’90s to now.
When: Monday 3 July, 11 am to 2 pm
Where: Shellharbour Civic Centre, Cygnet Avenue, Shellharbour City Centre
The Shellharbour community is invited to celebrate its local Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. The event will kick off with a traditional smoking ceremony, followed by a free barbecue lunch and family-friendly activities.
When: Monday 3 July, 10 am to 2 pm
Where: Helensburgh Library, 57 Walker Street, Helensburgh
Cost: Free, book here.
Embark on this thrilling “dungeon crawl” across the Illawarra these July school holidays, kicking off this Monday (3 July) in Helensburgh and travelling as far south as Dapto. Each campaign session will be a stand-alone game, giving you the option to participate in a single event or join in across multiple locations. Hosted by an experienced Dungeon Master, the crawl will be open to all 12 to 18-year-olds, from seasoned players to curious beginners. Lunch will be provided at all sessions, and the final campaign will be followed by a viewing of a fantasy film. For this, you’re encouraged to come in cosplay as your D&D character.
When: Wednesday, 5 July, 10 am to 12 pm
Where: Georgia Rose, Marina Drive, Shell Cove
Cost: $29, book here.
In one of just two sessions held at cafe, bar and restaurant Georgia Rose, your kids could pick up a valuable new skill these school holidays. Designed to be fun and interactive, kids will be making homemade pizzas and decorating fruit with chocolate and a selection of toppings. Parents are welcome to stay and watch and grab a coffee or drink as their kids build confidence in the kitchen. The workshops are suitable for five to 12-year-olds, and dietary requirements must be flagged with the venue in advance.
When: Thursday 6 July, 10 am to 12 pm
Where: Thirroul Library, 352/358 Lawrence Hargrave Drive, Thirroul
Cost: Free, book here.
Young people aged 12 to 18 are invited to this helpful and heartwarming session, in which they will crochet and knit carry pouches and bird nests for the injured wildlife that come to wildlife rescue organisation WIRES. Orphaned joeys and birds need a quiet, safe place to call home while they’re healed and strengthened. Beginners are welcome, however learning a few crochet basics beforehand will greatly benefit the experience.
When: Thursday 6 July, from 12 pm
Where: Warilla Library, 8 Woolworths Ave, Warilla
Warilla Library plays host to this fun and free family event. Pull a silly face in the photo booth, have a gaming session at 54 Reasons gaming bus, try your hand at juggling, pluck-a-duck or participate in lots of other activities for the whole family. Don’t forget to snag yourself a free hot dog. No bookings are required – just rock up and have fun.
When: Thursday 6 July, 2 pm to 4 pm
Where: Corrimal Library, 15 Short Street, Corrimal
Cost: free, book here.
The Indigenous Film Festival kicks off at Corrimal Library with a screening of 2018 movie Emu Runner (rated PG). It follows the story of Ngemba girl Gemma, a spirited eight-year-old who deals with the grief of her mother’s death by forging a bond with a wild emu. This spiritual dreaming is a bond she will do anything to keep but puts her at odds with the new social worker.
The festival features movies by and about our First Nations people at select library locations until 22 July. View the entire catalogue here – and don’t forget to bring your snacks.
When: Thursday 6, Friday 7, Saturday 8 July, 10 am to 2 pm
Where: Outside Country Road Stockland Shellharbour, 211 Lake Entrance Road, Shellharbour
In partnership with a local Aboriginal community group, Stockland Shellharbour is offering engaging kids Aboriginal art workshops honouring this year’s NAIDOC Week theme: For Our Elders. Led by experienced facilitators, children can immerse themselves in the vibrant world of Aboriginal art, learning about its significance and connection to cultural storytelling. Kids can also complete a heartfelt letter to their own “Elder”.
When: Thursday 6 July, from 7 pm to 8 pm
Where: Side Door Theatre, 293-297 Crown Street, Wollongong
Cost: General $25, groups of six or more $20, book here.
Some of the best femme talent in Australia are coming together for one night only in this hilarious showcase. Featuring bubbly British MC Robyn Reynolds and a topnotch line-up including Bec Charlwood (Triple J), Laura Coleman (RAW State Finalist) and Sarah Gaul (Netflix), and some home-grown emerging talent, this is your chance to support female comedians and split your sides while you’re at it.