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Eel Festival 2018 - FREE Event

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Celebrating Parramatta's Indigenous heritage
SLM's gastronomer, Jacqui Newling, holding an eel with Fred, the Bush Tucker Man. Photo © James Horan for Sydney Living Museums

The popular, annual Eel Festival returns to Elizabeth Farm on Sunday 11 March, celebrating Parramatta's Indigenous heritage and its fascinating story of Country.

Now in its third year, this family-friendly festival celebrates Parramatta's namesake, the eel, and its significance to the local Darug people, known as the Burramattagal, who have gathered for thousands of years during eel season to feast, trade and share their culture.

From 10am, Elizabeth Farm will come alive with a full program of music and song along with traditional and contemporary activities offering visitors a unique opportunity to reconnect with this hugely historical property.

"This is a great occasion for people to be part of a tradition that dates back millennium, of a community coming together on Darug country to share great food and to pass on important stories and knowledge," said Peter White, Head of Indigenous Strategy & Cultural Engagement, Sydney Living Museums.

The festival is presented in partnership with Muru Mittigar Aboriginal Cultural and Learning Centre, a commercially sustainable, Aboriginal-owned social enterprise – creating a better understanding of Indigenous culture to the wider community.

"It is a great honour for Sydney Living Museums to be able to present the Eel Festival at Elizabeth Farm with our cultural partner Muru Mittigar," continued Peter White.

The fun-filled day begins with a Welcome to Country by Darug woman, Leanne Watson, followed by Jessy Mckinless from Nulungu Dreaming, performing the customary Smoking Ceremony.

Visitors can share stories of the Parramatta River, learn Darug language in sessions throughout the day from Muru Mittigar's cultural leaders, Leanne Watson and Rhiannon Wright, and enjoy the ever popular Boomerang painting, inspired by themes from the Eel Totem.

Sample a variety of foods from traditionally cooked eel made by Fred's Bush Tucker and ready-to-eat delicious Indigenous Foods from Kallico Catering. Taste special treats inspired by Indigenous ingredients from Elizabeth Farm Tearooms or watch Sydney Living Museum's colonial gastronomer, Jacqui Newling, as she prepares 'collared eel' from a recipe dating back to 1816.

The day's music line-up includes contemporary Aboriginal performing artist and award winning poet, Gumaroy Newman playing the Yidaki (Didgeridoo), a performance from the acclaimed Mt Druitt Indigenous Choir singing in variety of Aboriginal languages and a special guest appearance from one of Australia's best known and most loved Indigenous music acts, The Stiff Gins.

You can also step inside the colonial homestead and learn more about the connections between the original owners of Elizabeth Farm, John and Elizabeth Macarthur, and the local Indigenous people with curator Dr Scott Hill. A complimentary return shuttle bus service to and from Elizabeth Farm, provided by Sydney Bus Museum, is available from Parramatta Station and Parramatta Wharf.

Start planning your Eel Festival 2018 experience today! See the full line-up of events and activities at
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When: Sunday 11 March 2018, 10am-4pm
Where: Elizabeth Farm, 70 Alice St, Rosehill NSW 2142
Cost: Free event
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