NAIDOC Week celebrated with Coming of the Light festival
TORRES Strait Islander Cedric Auda was around 14 years old when he had his "initiation".
He remembered his big "coming of age" ceremony, attended by aunties, uncles, grandparents and other members of the community.
Yesterday he shared a piece of his story and a small part of his Torres Strait Islands tradition's with The Morning Bulletin at the Coming of the Light festival at the Quay St amphitheatre.
Part of the custom on Boigu Island, where Cedric comes from, is that young males cannot shave their facial hair until they kill an animal on their first hunt, Cedric said.
The hunt expedition was usually in the company of uncles, according to Cedric.
Once the young men made their first kill, their relatives would see the deed as a sign of the male's ability to provide for his family.
He would then make the transition of becoming a man, by learning other important values and traditions.
It was by then, the young man could then have his facial hair shaved.
Cedric and scores of other Indigenous Rockhampton residents of Torres Strait heritage yesterday celebrated the coming of Christianity to their islands with a series of traditional dances.
The celebration yesterday heralded one of the first Central Queensland events to celebrate NAIDOC Week.
"The Coming of the Light dance is important for us because when Christianity was introduced, there was more peace between the Torres Strait Islands... we could share the beauty of our islands with each other," Cedric said.
Christianity was first introduced to the Torres Strait Islands in 1871.
Freshwater turtle: Milbi
Rockhampton: Randu/Wura Nharni
Marlborough: Wandu Wangin
Moore's Creek: Mogool
What is NAIDOC week?
NAIDOC Week is held in the first full week of July. It is a time to celebrate Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and an opportunity to recognise the contributions that Indigenous Australians make to our country and our society.