Garma Festival

Guest Testimonials

“The [Garma] Festival continues to grow and the focus on culture, cultural learning, Indigenous economic development and this information help further develop our students in their cultural and artistic responsibilities and direction in life. [...] It was inspiring to see so many young people, both Indigenous and non-indigenous from all parts of Australia, not only participating in the various workshops, but coming together and sharing and immersing themselves in this very important cultural festival.”

— Kim Walker, Executive Director (NAISDA Dance College) 02/11/2013


“Caulfield Grammar School has found much value in attending Garma. [...] I do hope that we will be able to join the Yolngu clans again in their traditional ceremonial meeting ground at Gulkula come next year.”

— Jeremy Donovan, Development Director & Spokesperson (Generation One)


“I welcome the dynamic and fresh approach currently being driven within the Garma programming and in particular the focus on key Indigenous economic development and strategic issues.”

— Chris Fry, Chief Executive Officer (Australian Government - Indigenous Business Australia) 27/09/2013


“Garma is one of the pre-eminent events in the sphere of Indigenous policy and politics in Australia, particularly the diverse array of influential people, communities and their stories. Garma 2013 was a pivotal moment for the Recognise campaign with the arrival of the Journey to Recognition into the Gulkula site and the key forum. The YYF team did a brilliant job in helping us make the most of this historic moment and advance this important national debate.”

— Tim Gartrell, Campaign Director (Recognise (Reconciliation Australia) 23/09/2013


“We appreciate the unique experience each Garma Festival offers us and the positive impact this event has on the local north east Arnhem community.”

“NAB has been attending the Garma Festival for the past 5 years as we see this event as a key component of our Reconciliation Action Plan commitment to building our Indigenous cultural awareness and engagement. Since 2009, more than 40 NAB senior leaders have attended the Garma Festival, giving them the opportunity to immerse in a remote community, experience a celebration of the Yolngu people and their traditions, and participate in a discussion on important Indigenous issues.”

— Sandra Capponi, Manager - Indigenous Finance & Development (National Australia Bank (NAB) 30/09/2013


“Our organization has been attending the Yothu Yindi Foundations annual Garma event since its inception. [...] The Dhimurru Aboriginal Corporation has found much value in attending Garma and we believe that Australia can benefit from the effective and interactive outcomes derived from this event through first hand interaction with Yolngu people, Yolngu culture, and Yolngu organisations”.

— Wurrulngu Marika, Managing Director (Dhimurru Aboriginal Corporation) 23/09/2013


“We have to date, proudly contributed to the skills and training that has been implemented by the Gumatj Corporation that employs locally skilled people to mill timber, process that timber and then use this for buildings, homes and furniture. [...] Garma provides an opportunity to showcase this work to other communities and industries, as well as government. It provides us an opportunity to learn, to see how we can best participate – particularly with workers having the skills and knowledge recognised through a national training system of competencies.”

— Michael Harman, Chief Executive Officer (ForestWorks Ltd) 01/10/2013


“I personally found Garma so moving this year, to learn about life from our true ancestors of this Great Nation was inspiring and one that I hope to bring my children to next year.”

— Chris O’Brien, Managing Director (Dreamedia) 14/10/2013


“Garma is a vital part of our annual schedule and it brings incalculable value to the whole region economically, culturally and just pure morale.”

— Will Stubbs, Public Officer (Buku-Larrnggay Mulka Centre) 14/10/2013


“Garma was a truly extraordinary experience and a humbling reminder of the need for us to start listening. My colleagues and I were moved beyond words by the Festival; our students described it as one of the best experiences of their lives. I cannot recommend it highly enough and Melbourne Grammar looks forward to continuing the conversations at Garma for many more years to come. It was a privilege and an honour to be involved in 2013.”

— Natalie Charles, Director of Staff/Head of MGS Indigenous Programme (Melbourne Grammar School) 15/10/2013


“Garma presents an extraordinary opportunity to participate in a nationwide debate about Indigenous issues at the highest level whilst simultaneously learning about the creative practices and aspirations of the Yolngu people.”

“I found it inclusive, inspiring and aspirational. Screen Australia is committed to the success of Indigenous storytellers and we are delighted to have been able to participate in Garma.”

— Dr. Ruth Harley, Chief Executive (Screen Australia) 21/10/2013


“Garma is a very special and significant national event and its longevity and influence is a tribute to all involved.   My deep congratulations and sincere appreciation to the efforts of all the Yolngu people, Denise and Sean Bowden, Professor Marcia Langton and all of the volunteers for the enlightening experience that is Garma.  Hopefully see you again next year.”

— Michael Bissell, Principal Consultant - Indigenous, Environment and Water Services (GHD)


“This year’s Garma was a very special event with dedications and tributes to Yolngu heroes and leaders both past and present, I felt so very privileged and fortunate to be there. Words can’t express my experience– time slowed down, I enjoyed spending time with the Yolngu people and I took away much learning and a strong appreciation for the Yolngu ways and culture... Overall for me there was a special energy at Garma that kept me ‘buzzing’ for days and days after.  I am very grateful for the Yolngu people’s willingness to give their time and to openly share so much with us all. Thank you.”

— Jessica (Garma attendee)


“I went to Garma with the philosophy that I was going to challenge myself to slow down and fully appreciate everything around me, to fully appreciate and absorb the Yolngu way. However, I don’t think I was prepared for how life changing the experience was going to be. How I was going to truly see reconciliation in practice.”

— April Long (Garma attendee)


“For me, the access to such forums, discussions, and cultural exchange highlights a key strength of the festival: Garma provides an annual opportunity to come together, listen, share and learn. This open and genuine dialogue is essential to empowering Australia and the co-creation of a future for all Australians. It was a privilege to be involved.”

— Sanchia Scott (Garma attendee)


“The Garma Festival is the opportunity for the ‘Two Worlds’ to dance together, where political initiative, cultural leadership and traditional dance exist in balance and harmony. Garma is where cultural exchange and sharing is not overshadowed by any other political or commercial agenda.”

— Jeremy Donovan, Development Director & Spokesperson (Generation One)


Friday 4 - Monday 7 August

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