Gnarrwirring Ngitj Festival at Sovereign Hill wins major award

A Indigenous Festival has won a major award for its innovation, audience engagement and excellence in exhibition in Ballarat.

Sovereign Hill’s Gnarrwirring Ngitj Festival topped the Indigenous category of the Museums Galleries National Awards.

The festival partnered with the Wathaurung Aboriginal Corporation in May last year.

It celebrated Aboriginal stories, traditions, history and the important contribution Aboriginal people made to the goldfields.

A second Sovereign Hill’s event also received a Highly Commended award interpretation, learning and audience engagement.

The event combined with the Melbourne Fashion Festival’s arts program to showcase the secrets of the 1850s Victorian silhouette design.

Sovereign Hill chief executive Jeremy Johnson said his team worked tirelessly to deliver innovative and unique events.

“Working with a level of innovation that is second to none is the key to constantly re-inventing Sovereign Hill, while telling the story of the 1850s,” he said.

“Indigenous people contributed greatly to the history of the goldfields, and we’re proud that the Gnarrwirring Ngitj Festival celebrates the richness and importance of Aboriginal culture.

“We share this award win with the team at Wadawurrung, because without their collaboration, our festival would not have been the enormous success that it was.”

The awards are open to all non-commercial museums, galleries, zoos, botanical gardens and other cultural and collecting institutions who are members of Museums Australia.

A ceremony was hosted at the Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre.

The next Gnarrwirring Ngitj Festival will run from May 26 to June 3 and include a gourmet Wadawurrung dinner and Corroboree.

Tickets can be purchased at Sovereign Hill’s website.