The Rainbow Chai Tent

For stories and photos of events and venues that The Chai Tent has gone to, is currently at, or is planing to go to in the future

Monday, January 26, 2009

Chai Tent @ The Aboriginal Tent Embassy, Canberra 2009

Well Michael, Benny and 'Aunty'Liffey, have taken the Chai Tent down to Canberra once again. They were finally fully set up on the morning of Jan 26th, just in time for the Sovereignty Day marcher's refreshments.
All photos from 2007 until I get updates from Michael or Benny or anyone else who is actually down there.

A Rainbow Parliament House ? Feb 2007

Photo from 2007 March

The wild windy weather hampered their set up along with a few mishaps and car troubles on the way down. It is such a huge set up, even more than the weekly market set up, as Michael hires extra, large marquees, to provide adequate shade and under cover kitchen area.
Liffey said she went to bed at 3am and woke up at 6am, and straight back into work, Michael stayed up all night, fine tuning the whole set up.
Apparently my new paint job on the old table curtain is looking better than the new one. I'll have to add some words to the new one too, when it comes back up.

Well, 'THE' Conversation, has begun, 'Could we think about moving the date of Australia Day celebrations to another day'. One that is less offensive to most Indigenous people.

I did ring them earlier and was just in time to hear June Mills of the Mills Sisters, from Darwin, singing on the Chai Tent Stage, I told Michael he should get her to sing Waltzing Matilda, as sung by the old people, it's a classic, "Walching ba Matilda, walching ba Matilda who'll come a walching ba Matilda longa me........" He said she had sung it already.
But that was earlier in the afternoon. While I was chatting on phone to Liffey, I began to hear that very song being sung again, so Liffey went in closer and held the phone out, so I got a tiny taste of the atmosphere in the tent, and I sang along, laughing, I do love that version.

I will add 2009 photos in here whenever I get something from Benny, with his camera, down there.
Speedy McGuiness, Aunty Isabel Coe, Aunty Marie ?, and a Japanese walker from Sydney,2007.
Nungala Leanne Lacy, Winiata,on guitar, Ots on Djembe, and Paul Ferguson, 2007

Here's a link to a photo, Australia Day 2009 by naemick. that has this list of quite interesting historical dates regarding the origins of Anniversary day that later became Australia Day,
I've now copied and pasted below, seeing that I don't have any photos yet of Chai Tent at this years Sovereignty Day Gathering.

Captain Arthur Phillip unfurls the British flag at Sydney Cove and proclaims British sovereignty over the eastern seaboard of Australia

First recorded celebrations on 26 January

Governor Macquarie recommends the adoption of the name Australia for the entire continent, replacing New Holland

Governor Macquarie holds the first official celebrations on 26 January, marking thirty years of white settlement

First Anniversary Regatta held on Sydney Harbour. This is now the Australia Day Regatta, the oldest continuous sailing regatta in the world

Celebrations held to mark the fiftieth anniversary of Phillip's landing and the commencement of the traditional Australia Day public holiday in New South Wales

Australian Natives Association formed. Instrumental in supporting issues such as Federation, the naming of our national day as Australia Day and citizenship ceremonies following WWI

Centenary celebrations for Anniversary Day across the nation Centennial Park permanently reserved for public use

January 1, Federation of the Commonwealth of Australia

Australia Day adopted in Victoria

Australia Day adopted in NSW only to be reversed to Anniversary Day by the incoming state government

Commonwealth Government and all States and Territories except NSW adopt Australia Day as the official title for our national day

150th Anniversary celebrations across the nation

All States and Territories celebrate the 26 January as Australia Day

Separate Australian citizenship became law for the first time Citizenship ceremonies began to become part of Australia Day celebrations

Sir Macfarlane Burnet the first Australian of the Year

Lionel Rose becomes the first Aboriginal Australian of the Year

26 January the Aboriginal Tent Embassy established on the lawns of Parliament House, Canberra

National Australia Day Council formed, incorporated in 1990

Australia Day Council of NSW formed, initially operating as part of the NSW Bicentennial Council

Bicentennial celebrations and for the first time a united public holiday on the 26 January across the nation Modern Tall Ships and First Fleet Re-enactment arrive in Australia. Largest Aboriginal protest march in history on 26 January

Inaugural Survival concert held at La Perouse, now an annual event

All States and Territories begin to celebrate Australia Day on the actual day - the 26 January - for the first time

Over 6.5 million Australians celebrate Australia Day nationally

Centenary of Federation celebrated. Though the date was January 1st, many communities combined Australia Day and Centenary of Federation celebrations.

Over 7 million people celebrate Australia Day nationally.

7.5 million people attend Australia Day ceremonies nationally. This figure is unlikely to fall.


Saturday, January 24, 2009

Wecome to Country - Hanging Rock Hall December '08

'Welcome to Country', Party at Hanging Rock Hall.
Just copied this from the ArtNomadix Blog, but it seems the photos didn't copy , so I'll have to put them all in again, but not tonight, see illustrated story at

Finally I have time to write this up.

November 22nd we headed of to the wonderful community made, stone and wood hall, to help brother Michael set up the Chai Tent, for a community party put on to invite some 'new friends to be' from the Mulli Mulli Community, somewhere west of here, in the Kyogle Shire.
Put on with the help of a grant, which enabled the Mulli Mulli people to bring a school bus of kids and teenagers,and a few cars wirh some of the elders, the one and a half hour journey, and paid for food and drinks for them, ably cooked on the BBQ and in the kitchen by the men and women of the Bush Fire Brigade and Hall Committee.

It was a wild and windy day

and the flags and tent were buffeted. and flapped with gusto. but held up ! And the promised Thunderstorm was never seen ...?
I was a wonderful day of two communities coming together and sharing music and dance and cups of Sovereign Tea and Chai !

Local singer song writer Loren, played around sunset, singing about community. I couldn't resist his awesome words, and danced the stories out, for all to see. ( an impromptu performance, as I was, for a long while, the only one dancing, and my style is movement and mime based.)
It made up for two recently missed, cafe concerts he has played, ( I was just saving up for the right venue, Somewhere with lots of space to dance in, on grass!)
My crook hip paid heavily that night as I tried to sleep, rolling round trying to get comfy !

After dark the fire lantern 'Phoenix was placed in it's stand, on the centrally laid fire, (Beautifully built by the 'Fireys',who had their truck on hand for any firey emergencies).
With a north wind, blowing hot all day, it was not, the ideal day to light a fire, but with sunset, the winds dropped back, to a balmy evening, so Fire Ceremony lighting was approved ! Yaay !

Lewis Walker, of the Bundjulung, spoke and played the traditional Welcome to Country, then played, to the Phoenix as the flames took hold, and an awesome sight it was, as the Spirit of the Phoenix was released, to be reborn in us all, in the Spirit of New Friendships !

But the final parting was very moving, as Lewis farewells the Spirit of the Phoenix !

Can you 'see' the 'spirit' leaving the fire .......

There was music and dance in the hall til midnight, with the wondeful 8 person line up 'CBD Dub Collective', and music and dance, out round the fire, til the wee small hours, of a quieter nature. May there be more such gaterings and coming together of community !

( and may there be 'better communication about what time thiings start, an order and a program, known in advance. The Elders and young Mulli Mullians left too early, as they'd arrived at the advertised time, of noon as we had beleived too, that the official 'Welcome to Country was to be held then.)

The Rainbow Chai Tent's Background Story commences.....

I will have to find and scan in some of our older photos from the early days
To see Michael Webb's story of Chai Tent's origins,click this link
Can't seem to copy it from website to here just yet and I've just erased my version just typed for Profile , only to find (Limit1200 Characters only)so I saved the excess but forgot to paste into this blog post before copying Mics early Chai Tent History, which only shows a link, better than nothing I guess for tonight ! Will try and remedy in near future.