NAIDOC event connects Aboriginal elders from across NSW |Photos

More than 350 Aboriginal people from across the state gathered this week to share stories and celebrate culture.

Australian Unity invited its clients and staff to gather in Dubbo for an early NAIDOC celebration.

Ngangana branch manager Rebecca Nairne said the idea for the gathering was floated back in February. It quickly grew, she said.

Ms Nairne said often the only interaction the Australian Unity home care elders had was with their case manager. The NAIDOC gathering, which is the first the company has held, not only gave the Aboriginal elders something to look forward to, but allowed them to connect with one another.

For some of the attendees it was the first time they had left their traditional land, Ms Nairne said, while others had lived their whole lives in Dubbo.

The event included language circles, traditional johnny cakes, dances and performances from local groups.

Each elder also added their hand print onto a banner which Ms Nairne said would be auctioned off to the board and likely hung in the Melbourne office.

NAIDOC theme this year is ‘because of her we can’.

Ms Nairne said she had heard countless stories of Aboriginal women making a difference in their communities without looking for recognition.