Council grants connecting community to culture

6 March 2024

Four local community groups will share in over $13,000 under Port Stephens Council’s Aboriginal Projects Grants to empower the Aboriginal community.

Mayor Ryan Palmer said successful projects range from connecting children to country and keeping culture alive through gardening, crafts and art.

“Council enjoys a strong relationship with the local Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community, collaborating on a range of projects which promote understanding of Aboriginal culture and celebrates their contribution to our community,” Mayor Palmer said.

“The Aboriginal Projects Fund was established in 2002 on the recommendation of our Aboriginal Strategic Committee and it continues to be a huge success.

“We’re proud to support community groups and schools through the Aboriginal Projects Fund to continue to empower the Aboriginal community in Port Stephens through the delivery of programs, events and other activities.

“It's great to see these projects awarded this year. I look forward to seeing these organisations bring their projects to reality,” he added.

The Tomaree Neighbourhood Centre was successful in the 2023 Aboriginal Project Funds round to facilitate art workshops. Program Support Officer Clare Saunders said that previous workshops have been popular and they’re looking forward to being able to bring the workshop back again in 2024.

“Local Worimi artist Jason Russell from Koori Colours Art Gallary facilitates and mentors the group to create their own masterpieces through art and story.

“These workshops explore symbols used by the Worimi people, the stories behind them and traditional uses of paint.

“We create a culturally safe, supportive and non-judgmental space for the community to create, heal, yarn and connect to culture,” Ms Saunders added.

The Aboriginal Projects Fund 2023-24 recipients are:

Community GroupProjectAmount funded
Fern Bay Parents and Carers AssociationCulturally inclusive classroom
This project will see the addition of a floor rug with authentic Aboriginal artwork in each classroom at Fern Bay Public School. The children will be involved in the selection of the rug for their class, learning the story behind each artwork and choosing the one that best represents their community.
Hunter River HighThis project is called ‘Djiyagan Wanyimbu’ a traditional practice of women's business within the Worimi Nation, the creation of a possum skin cloak will enable students to develop culturally appropriate connections and will help to preserve Worimi local practice.$6,000
Port Stephens Family and Neighbourhood ServicesKaruah Women’s Yarning seeks to empower and educate women experiencing or who have experienced Domestic and Family Violence through sewing with the purchase of sewing machines, materials and overlockers.


Karuah Local Aboriginal Land CouncilIncrease the production of freshly grown seasonal veggies for the local community members of Karuah can access at times of need or for the general purpose of minimising the cost of living. $6,000