Eel festival commemorates indigenous soldiers

TRUMPETERS heralding the arrival of twilight from the waters of Lake Bolac was just one of many highlights of the weekend’s eel festival for organiser Una Allender. 

The trumpeters were part of the twilight celebration, which this year was based around a piece of music composed especially for the festival honouring the indigenous returned servicemen and women in commemoration of the First World War centenary. 

“It started out on the water and then moved on to the shoreline with a display of photos, narrative and singing,” Mrs Allender said. 

“It was just spectacular, but it was just one of many highlights from the day.” 

Mrs Allender said the festival started with a exhibition on Friday night, featuring works from Richard Weatherly and a photographic display by Peter Bakker. 

“Peter’s work was focused on indigenous servicemen in the First and Second World War. He also had a book on display that we will distribute to families,” she said. 

“We also had fabulous music all day. The highlight for me was seeing Neil Murray playing alongside Sammy Butcher. 

“They have known each other for a long time and we have been trying to get Sammy to Lake Bolac for years. It was a wonderful performance and at one stage we had Neil, his family, his band, Sammy, Shane Howard and the festival MC Alec Doomadgee on stage singing.

“Another musical highlight was the performance by the Mik Maks, four brothers from Wickliffe who are a wonderful children’s group. They did a wonderful, high- energy performance that had everyone up dancing.

“The forum went well and we had lots of interesting displays. Overall I’d say it was a fantastic weekend.” 

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