Media release: Eel Festival 2018
Now in its third year, this family-friendly festival celebrates Parramatta’s namesake, the eel, and its significance to the local Darug people known as the Burramattagal who have gathered for thousands of years during eel season to feast, trade and share their culture.
On Sunday 11 March, Elizabeth Farm will come alive with a full program of music and song along with traditional and contemporary activities offering visitors a unique opportunity to reconnect with this hugely historical property.
“This is a great occasion for people to be part of a tradition that dates back millennium, of a community coming together on Darug country to share great food and to pass on important stories and knowledge,” said Peter White, Head of Indigenous Strategy & Cultural Engagement, Sydney Living Museums.
The festival is presented in partnership with Muru Mittigar Aboriginal Cultural and Learning Centre, a commercially sustainable, Aboriginal-owned social enterprise – creating a better understanding of Indigenous culture to the wider community.
“It is a great honour for Sydney Living Museums to be able to present the Eel Festival at Elizabeth Farm with our cultural partner Muru Mittigar,” continued Peter White.
The day begins with a Welcome to Country by Darug woman, Leanne Watson followed by Jessy Mckinless from Nulungu Dreaming performing the customary Smoking Ceremony.
Visitors can share stories of the Parramatta River, learn Darug language in sessions throughout the day from Muru Mittigar’s cultural leaders, Leanne Watson and Rhiannon Wright and enjoy the ever popular Boomerang painting inspired by themes from the Eel Totem.
Come and sample a variety of foods from traditionally cooked eel made by Fred’s Bush Tucker and ready-to-eat delicious Indigenous Foods from Kallico Catering. Taste special treats inspired by Indigenous ingredients from Elizabeth Farm Tearooms or watch Sydney Living Museum’s colonial gastronomer, Jacqui Newling, as she prepares ‘collared eel’ from a recipe dating back to 1816.
The day’s music line-up includes contemporary Aboriginal performing artist and award winning poet, Gumaroy Newman playing the Yidaki (Didgeridoo), performance from the acclaimed Mt Druitt Indigenous Choir singing in variety of Aboriginal languages and a special guest appearance from one of Australia’s best known and most loved Indigenous music acts, the Stiff Gins.
Step inside the colonial homestead and learn more about the connections between the original owners of Elizabeth Farm, John and Elizabeth Macarthur, and the local Indigenous people with curator Dr Scott Hill. A complimentary return shuttle bus service to and from Elizabeth Farm, provided by Sydney Bus Museum, is available from Parramatta Station and Parramatta Wharf.