20 September 2023

Royston's coming home for Mapoon's milestone event

| Matt Nicholls
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Mapoon’s Royston Sagigi-Baira performing at the Weipa Fishing Classic earlier this year.

AUSTRALIAN Idol winner and Mapoon’s favourite son, Royston Sagigi-Baira, will perform in his home community this Friday.

He’s the headline act as Mapoon commemorates the 60th anniversary of the forced removal of the townspeople.

While it was a dark day for both Mapoon and Australia in general, mayor Aileen Addo said Friday’s event would be a celebration.

“We are about looking forward and celebrating what we have achieved,” she said.

“While what happened was sad and very wrong, Mapoon’s modern history is built on the back of our old people who came back in 1974 and rebuilt the community.

“The future of their children and their grandchildren was at stake and they left a great legacy.”

Cr Addo said she was not sure if any of the remaining Elders would speak at Friday night’s event, to be held near Cullen Point at the site of the Old Mission.

“They will definitely have the opportunity,” she said.

“I’ll speak a little bit about the history of Mapoon and what has been achieved in the last 60 years.”

Friday’s celebrations will start with a game of touch footy, before speeches and the performance of Royston, and will finish with a special fireworks show.

“I think everyone is looking forward to seeing Royston,” Cr Addo said.

“He did come and visit when he was back for the Weipa Fishing Classic, but this will be his first time performing in Mapoon since winning Australian Idol.”

The mayor said there would be “a feast” for those who came along and said those with a connection to Mapoon, including Weipa residents, were welcome to attend.

“I think we’ll see a lot more Weipa people the following weekend when we have our annual Barra Bash,” Cr Addo said.

“It keeps growing every year and we had a lot of Weipa people come up last year and it made it a great event.”

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