Video Credit: Illuminart
Event Photography and Video Footage
Professional photography and video were taken for promotional purposes at this event. The photos and video footage may be used on the organiser’s social media, website, and other promotional avenues such as news media and TV.
Thousands of South Australians attended the deeply profound and moving Mourning in the Morning event held at Elder Park/ early on 26 January.
After torrential rain the evening before necessitated the cancellation of our Twilight Reflections – First Nations Ceremony event, we carried over several elements to the next day when the sun shone brightly on Kaurna .
‘Respectfully yours’ Segment
At this year’s Mourning in the Morning event, we introduced a new segment entitled ‘Respectfully yours’ where we heard warm words of solidarity from community allies Mr Tukini , Dr Antonio Dottore, and Steve Newman. We also invited all in attendance to write their message of support for First Nations peoples. We received nearly 450 Respectfully cards, collected by a team of exceptional volunteers. We hope to repeat this segment in years to come, capturing as it did piles of respect, hope and love.
We extend our deepest gratitude to all First Nations people, many of whom joined with others with good hearts – friends and allies – on what we know continues to be a difficult day for many. Truth-telling underpinned this important event. We pay special tribute to Uncle Major Sumner and the Tal-Kin Jeri dancers who gifted us with a cleansing smoking ceremony, alongside other Elders and young people who shared inspiring words, performers and speakers, colleagues and volunteers who carried the day. We thank the ADCSA’s First Nations Open Circle, who generously guided our approach.
Aus Lights for Kids offered an enchanting experience for children aged 4 to 8, filled with laughter, entertainment, and the magic of discovery. Mesmerizing performances by renowned groups like Heaps Good Performers and Peter Combe captivated young audiences with music and interactive acts. Families also enjoyed up-close encounters with Australian native animals through a hands-on animal handling experience, providing both education and excitement in a petting zoo-like setting.
Aus Lights on the River was a stunning success. Over 30,000 people gathered in Elder Park/Tarntanya Wama to acknowledge our people across the land. We paid our respects to First Nations peoples with a Welcome to Country by Senior Kaurna Elder Frank Wanganeen featuring Ngarrindjeri dancer Kenny Johnson. We recognise the Australian Defence Force’s participation in the Flag Ceremony with the National Anthem.
We experienced the Respecting Country Parade, as it came across the Adelaide Riverbank Pedestrian Bridge powered by the big sounds of Matsuri Taiko, Japanese drummers, with thousands of communities acknowledging their sense of belonging to this great country and showcasing their cultural identity.
As the sun went down, the illumination and projections came alive thanks to Creative Director Cindi Drennan and her team from Illuminart Stories in Light, who transformed the space with a focus on our sea life and connecting to nature.
We enjoyed the extraordinary performances of Nancy Bates and the Song Birds Ensemble, who represent members of our community who are invisible to most of us. This was followed by reflections from Hup of Chin State in Myanmar, Ananaiasia representing Pacific Islander communities and young Clancy as a fifth-generation Aussie sharing his Prussian heritage and champion swimming and surf lifesaving work. They all offered us insights into our diverse country at this time with deep gratitude.
What followed were exceptional performances by the Adelaide Youth Orchestras, conducted by Keith Crellin OAM, Young Adelaide Voices, Adelaide Choral Ambassadors, and Elizabeth McCall, performing songs we all know well. One Heart Beating, led by award-winning conductor Christie Anderson, brought the crowd together to experience one country, one heart beating. With musical direction by Dr. Julian Ferraretto and expertly emceed by Rosie Panetta, it was a night to remember. And to cap it off, a spectacular cinematic fireworks display lit up the banks of the River Torrens/Karrawirra Parri.
We thank the South Australian community, distinguished guests and our sponsors for joining us and giving thought to the ever-evolving story of our nation as we took time to pause and reflect on being part of a proud, ancient, multicultural nation that values the contribution of every citizen.