Newcastle's First Storytellers: Always Was, Always Will Be

Newcastle's First Storytellers: Always Was, Always Will Be

This podcast series explores how Newcastle’s Aboriginal communities share and tell stories. Always Was, Always Will Be, recognises that First Nations peoples have occupied and cared for this continent for over 65,000 years. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people were Australia’s first explorers, first navigators, first engineers, first farmers, first botanists, first scientists, first diplomats, first astronomers and first storytellers. Australia has the world’s oldest oral story telling culture and Newcastle has a rich collection of storytellers.

Episode One: Donna Meehan is a local author and member of the Stolen Generation. In this podcast Donna shares her thoughts on NAIDOC Week 2020. Donna has written several books and shares her story with grace and forgiveness. Her autobiography, 'It is no secret', tells the story or her sixteen hour train ride to Broadmeadow railway station, her life in Newcastle, and her reunion with her birth mother. Donna is an Aboriginal advocate and active member of the Newcastle community.

Episode Two: Saretta Fielding is an artist, entrepreneur and activist. A member of the Wonnarua Nation of the Hunter Valley Region in New South Wales, she is the founder of Saretta Art and Design and Malang Indigenous Corporation, a not-for-profit supporting the sustainable economic and social inclusion of Aboriginal people in the community. Saretta Art and Design is acclaimed for high-quality original artworks, innovative textiles, home-wares, and fashion lines.

Episode Three: John Maynard is a Worimi Aboriginal man and Professor of Indigenous Education and Research (Indigenous History) at the University of Newcastle. He has become one of the world's most respected voices on Indigenous history, and his books include the Aboriginal Soccer Tribe and the Fight for Liberty and Freedom which was shortlisted for the Victorian Premiers History Award.

Episode 4: Jake Ridgeway is a young Indigenous singer, songwriter, and performer based in Newcastle. Jake weaves genuine storylines with sweet R&B/Rock grooves and soul drenched vocals into a warm melody grounded by his Worimi and Kamilaroi roots. The musical inspirations Jake draws on include Troy Cassar-Daley, Justin Timberlake, Sam Hunt and Silverchair.

Episode 5: Ray Kelly Jnr comes from a local Indigenous family. The Kelly family is synonymous with the Aboriginal community of Newcastle. His father, Ray Kelly Snr is a respected Dhungutti culture and language Elder. Ray Kelly Jnr grew up in Newcastle and is a member of the Gattang language belt of east coast New South Wales. He's is a father of three daughters, an artist and an active member of Newcastle’s Aboriginal arts community.

Episode 6: William Smith, Wirrigan Aboriginal Elder, joins the series to tell us about his move to Newcastle and his extraordinary early years spent working alongside BHP building bridges between people and creating opportunities for many more. He talks beautifully about the way forward and shares stories of hope and inspiration from his and his ancestors journeys. He also explores the special place that Newcastle holds in his heart.