Everett Johnson at day 2, Saturday 25 May of the 2019 Gladstone Region 1770 Festival, held at the 1770 SES Festival Grounds.
Everett Johnson at day 2, Saturday 25 May of the 2019 Gladstone Region 1770 Festival, held at the 1770 SES Festival Grounds. Matt Taylor GLA250519FEST

Indigenous culture plays big role at 1770 fest

FIRST Nation people were celebrated at 1770 on Saturday as the Gladstone Region 1770 festival commemorated every aspect of the town's history.

It was the 27th year Merv Johnson performed the indigenous Welcome to Country as part of the official opening, with the youngest of his six sons, Everett, leading a dance performance.

"We still abide by traditional ways and laws. When you do a Welcome to Country you have the traditional owners from the local area to make sure we pass on the good spirits to the people of the festival," Everett said.

 

Day 2, Saturday 25 May of the 2019 Gladstone Region 1770 Festival, held at the 1770 SES Festival Grounds.
Day 2, Saturday 25 May of the 2019 Gladstone Region 1770 Festival, held at the 1770 SES Festival Grounds. Matt Taylor GLA250519FEST

"We all came up here since we were little and it was all dirt roads, and the festival has grown since then.

"But that's what it's all about, sharing, and with our extended family they've heard about the festival and have come from all over Queensland, which is pretty special."

Festival volunteer Amber Rodgers said while the festival celebrates Lieutenant Cook's landing, it was important to identify it wasn't the start of 1770's history.

 

Day 2, Saturday 25 May of the 2019 Gladstone Region 1770 Festival, held at the 1770 SES Festival Grounds.
Day 2, Saturday 25 May of the 2019 Gladstone Region 1770 Festival, held at the 1770 SES Festival Grounds. Matt Taylor GLA250519FEST

"This place wasn't just discovered then (when Cook landed), we already had First Nations people and we're celebrating with them today about our wonderful community and the whole area that we have."