Youth discover culture through art of didgeridoo making

COMPLETED: Having finished making their didgeridoos, Lindsay, Braxton and Harrison are working on playing the instrument.
COMPLETED: Having finished making their didgeridoos, Lindsay, Braxton and Harrison are working on playing the instrument.

A school holiday three-part workshop put youth to work creating one of the world's oldest musical instruments. 

Over three days, 40 young people between the ages of 10 and 17 received hands-on help in creating didgeridoos from scratch. 

Event organiser Jamie Ah-Fat said the project brought a new level of understanding and friendship between Indigenous and non-Indigenous young people.

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“The experience they got was a connection to country and an understanding of how much preparation goes into making a didgeridoo,” Mr Af-Fat said.

“It is all about the experience and connecting everyone. I feel like we have closed the gap between Aboriginal people and non-Aboriginal people here.

“Everyone has been happy and helpful working together while relating around making the didgeridoo,” he said.

The school holiday program jointly run by Kalano Aboriginal Community and Territory Families started on Wednesday. 

The time consuming and difficult process engaged those involved for hours on end – there is a lot of work involved including barking, skinning, chiseling, rasping and shaping Gombolo, a native white gum perfect for making didgeridoos. 

But today, the didgeridoos were ready to be painted, sealed and taken home. 

The next step is learning how to play, Mr Ah-Fat said. 

“We plan on running workshops in future programs, teaching these kids how to play. Not only is it a good way of keeping Indigenous tradition alive, but it is also a good way to spend time together,” he said. 

Out of the 40 young people who started on the didgeridoo making project, every single one persevered through the tough process to produce a finished product.  

“They have all done really well for first timers. It is a difficult process making a didgeridoo from scratch, I honestly didn’t expect them all to come back after the first day, but they all did,” Mr Ah-Fat said. 

Mr Ah-Fat and six at-risk Indigenous youth travelled to Barunga last week to source Gombolo, the native white gum used to make the didgeridoos. 

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