Publication Details

Slater, L. 2007, 'My island home: Indigenous festivals and archipelago Australia', Continuum: Journal of Media and Cultural Studies, vol. 21, no. 4, pp. 571-581.


It’s raining in sunny Queensland. Rain wasn’t on my mind when I left wintry Sydney; then I was wondering: why so many Indigenous festivals now? What are they doing? Where did they come from? To what effect? Having fled a chilly Sydney mid-morning, I arrive Friday afternoon (Day 1 of the Dreaming Festival): after an easy one-hour flight to Brisbane, a clean and surprisingly on-time train to Caboolture, a local school bus toWoodford, I shareWoodford’s only taxi to the festival grounds.My companions are a motley crew; only later do I appreciate that they are somewhat representative of the festivalgoer. John from Nambour, taciturn to the point of almost mute, is meeting up with his young family; Eddie is an engaging, well-travelled Brisbane-based, Ethiopian-born security guard working at the festival; 20-year-old Sebastian, who spreads warmth and acceptance like a northern Queensland winter sun and looks like a suntanned angel, is working as a volunteer. Everyone is impressed that I’ve come from Sydney, bestowing upon me the valued status of the most travelled. Kate, the taxi driver, is like one of those Australian characters from a road movie: friendly and welcoming, overwhelming us with local knowledge and, in so doing, enclosing us within her world. She’s helpful and kind, yet a little paranoid: blissfully unaware of her own inconsistencies, whilst generously informing us of the ‘weird goings-on’ around town. It is like backpacking, with the luxury of home culture and language.



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