I was fortunate enough to win Artist of the Year, 2018 Mount Isa NAIDOC Awards. 

I couldn’t be there to receive the award in person, so my Mum & Dad went & received on my behalf. Didn’t they look lovely!?

There were a few technical difficulties which meant my speech couldn’t get played.

So here it is instead:

Good Evening Everyone

I am paying my respects to & acknowledge the Kalkadoon people, the traditional owners of the land on where we live and work here in Mount Isa. I acknowledge & pay my respects to the elders - past & present. I would also like to acknowledge that music, art, dancing and singing has been performed on this country for a very very long time.

Thank you for the award of Artist of the Year, 2018 Mount Isa NAIDOC Awards. I am very sorry that I cannot be there tonight. I had a prior engagement organised and booked before I found out I would be receiving this award.

There are family members to thank. It goes without saying to thank my Mum, Miss Dixie. As the 2018 NAIDOC theme is “Because of her, we can!”, my Mum has encouraged, supported and helped me many times throughout the years so all I could do was go and sing. Strong women have strong men in their lives and my Father and Brother were equally supportive, encouraging and helpful in letting me pursue my performing arts career. So I give my thanks and love to my family.

Mount Isa is the place where I first starting singing and it is the place that has nurtured my performing arts career. From the humble beginnings of my stage that was my parents living room in Clarke Street, Townview, then to the RSL Club with the Spinifex Country Music Club, eisteddfods at the civic centre, local talent quests, Brisbane with the Queensland Theatre Company, London at the Barbican Theatre, with two whirlwind trips to Kabul, Afghanistan with the Australian Defence Entertainment Group. I have never wanted to do anything else except for sing, perform and play music in a band and I am very fortunate enough that I have been able to do this.

In 2003, I began the creative process of writing a musical theatre piece inspired the memories and stories of my Great-Grandmother, Flora Hoolihan. Granny Flora gave me her stories and I turned them into song with the help of a creative team based in Brisbane Little Birung is a show pays tribute to all the ladies in my life, showcasing their experiences raising families and keeping families together in tough times - all the way from first contact when non-Indigenous people came, until now. It’s only fitting that this year’s NAIDOC theme is “Because of her, we can!”. But really I have to say “Because of them, I am!”

#naidoc2018 #BecauseOfHerICan

Megan Sarmardin