Ayers Rock Resort

Tjungu Festival Highlights & Artist Bios

The inaugural Tjungu Festival 24 to 27 April 2014 at Voyages Ayers Rock Resort was an outstanding success. Tjungu (pron. tjoo-ngoo), means meeting or coming together in local Anangu language, celebrates the best of Australian Indigenous culture.

During the four-day family friendly festival the Resort was humming with activity from sunrise to sunset and beyond. Highlights of the Tjungu Festival included a local Anangu Welcome to Country, a fantastic line-up of traditional and contemporary Indigenous musicians and bands including Shellie Morris, Casey Donovan, Warren H Williams and Marcus Corowa, and a short film festival celebrating Indigenous culture on screen.

Indigenous model Samantha Harris mentored and guided local youngsters and lead a special fashion parade. Celebrity chef Mark Olive hosted a gourmet bush tucker master class for agroup of 250 guests and fans followed by an exclusive dining experience under the stars at Tastes of Tjungu. And young and old were thrilled as local teams clashed in the AFL Tjungu Cup, featuring prominent AFL player Michael O'Loughlin.

> View the Photo Album of the 2014 Tjungu Festival
> Download the 2014 Tjungu Festival Events Schedule (PDF)


Samantha Harris
Drum Atweme
Bush Tucker
Maruku Arts Markets
Wakagettig Dance Troupe
MArcus Corowa
Manta Trio

Music on the Main Stage

Hosted by MC Shelley Ware, the Resort Town Square will be alive with music and interactive pop-up performances throughout the Festival. Gather on the central lawn to discover the distinctive and diverse Indigenous sounds of Marcus Corowa and his band, hip-hop artist DukeBox, three-time Aria nominee Warren H Williams and Manta's fusion of Indigenous, classical and folk music.

Adding to the vibrant Festival atmosphere will be local young performers, Drum Atweme with their joyful drum and dance performances and Ninja Circus with their dynamic and highly energetic acrobatic routines.

Indigenous Short Film Festival

Grab a picnic basket, sit back and enjoy world class Indigenous short films at the Tjungu Festival's outdoor cinema on the Town Square Lawn. The Tjungu Indigenous Short Film Festival will showcase films carefully chosen for their humour, awareness, positivity, authenticity and warmth, giving great insight into both contemporary and traditional Indigenous culture across Australia.

The first half of the evening offers a family friendly collection, before embarking on a more robust and often poignant selection of films following the intermission.

Mutitjulu Foundation Charity Auction

Hosted by local personality Chris Hill, this fun charity auction held during the intermission of the Indigenous Short Film Festival will give you the opportunity to bid on a range of high-end Indigenous products as well as local tours and experiences to enjoy during your stay. Proceeds go to the Mutitjulu Foundation, which supports local Indigenous communities in the vitally important areas of health and education.

Cultural Markets

From lifestyle, fashion and beauty to art and native bush tucker, our market precinct supports Indigenous businesses and offers a wide variety of produce - an opportunity for you to engage with the makers of these authentic and beautifully crafted products and purchase gifts and mementos to take home.

Tastes of Tjungu

An event not to be missed, your Tastes of Tjungu experience begins in the afternoon with a Master Class by well-known Indigenous chef Mark Olive, also known as "The Black Olive".

Your experience continues one hour before sunset when you're taken to a remote desert dune top. As the sun sets over Uluru enjoy canaps and sparkling wine. As darkness falls, enjoy the sweet sounds of the local Mutitjulu Ladies Choir lead by one of the most soulful Indigenous singers in Australian history, Shellie Morris. Wander down to join your table of fellow travellers for a three course contemporary bushtucker inspired plated menu by "The Black Olive", matched with Australian wines, while Shellie Morris creates an unforgettable ambience with a combination of spirit, soul and style.

As the night sky twinkles to life, settle back and listen to our resident star talker decode the southern night sky. Locate the Southern Cross, the signs of the zodiac, the Milky Way, as well as planets and galaxies that are visible only due to the exceptional clarity of the atmosphere in the outback.

Enjoy tea or coffee and a glass of port before you head back to the Resort with memories that will last a lifetime.

Duration: 1 hour afternoon master class / 4.5 hour dining experience
To avoid disappointment pre-booking Tastes of Tjungu is highly recommended
Adults $250 | Child (10-15 years) $125 | Children 10 year and over are welcome

Tjungu Uluru Sunset

Tjungu Uluru Sunset offers an affordable, intimate and family friendly pre-dinner option. Watch as the sun sets over Uluru from the Resort's Imalung Lookout - the perfect spot for a casual yet sophisticated event experience, sipping a cold beverage, sampling outback canaps, as you listen to the unique sounds of Manta Trio's fusion of Indigenous (yidaki "didgeridoo"), classical (cello) and folk (acoustic guitar) music.

To avoid disappointment pre-booking Tjungu Uluru Sunset is highly recommended
Adult $50 | Child (10-15 years) $15 | Children 9 years and under free of charge

Tjungu Cup

Echoing Tjungu Festival's theme of 'meeting together' the Inaugural Tjungu Cup will bring together players from the Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytajatjara lands for an Indigenous AFL match. These young local teams will be mentored by Indigenous AFL hero Michael O'Loughlin, who will coach the players and provide a motivational talk about his rise through the ranks of AFL to become a highly regarded ambassador for not only the game itself, but also Indigenous and non-Indigenous sports lovers. You will get to experience Michael's involvement with the teams and have the opportunity to meet him. Half time entertainment by the Mutitjulu Ninja Circus and Drum Atweme will delight the crowd. 

Final Night Concert & Fashion Parade

The Festival's final night celebration will take you on an exciting, upbeat journey to explore and enjoy Indigenous fashion and music. The evening begins with one of the nation's most loved singer/songwriters - Warren H. Williams.

Indigenous fashion icon and top model Samantha Harris will lead a fashion parade showcasing Indigenous fashion, textiles and accessories. Samantha will provide guidance to the local Indigenous and non-Indigneous young women who have volunteered as models.

This fun filled evening of fashion and music culminates with a two-hour concert by one of Australia's most versatile Indigenous entertainers - Casey Donovan. Casey and her band will ignite centre as you dance and celebrate the final night of the Festival.

Indigenous Cultural Activities

In addition to the Festival events you can enjoy a wide range of Indigenous daily activities that are on offer at Ayers Rock Resort, including:

Guided Garden Walks
Join an Indigenous guide who will take you on a journey around a Red Centre backyard, highlighting local flora as you stroll through the hotel's garden. Learn how Indigenous people traditionally lived by using the bush for food and medicinal purposes.

Bush Yarns
Be captivated by yarns told by Indigenous storytellers about Aboriginal history, culture and traditional techniques used on the land. Learn about an Indigenous man's "survival kit" including weapons such as katjii (hunting spears), tjutinpa (clubs), kali (boomerangs) and miru (spear thrower) or learn of the traditional tools and techniques indigenous women use to gather bush tucker in the harsh semi-arid desert climate.

Spear & Boomerang Throwing
Join an Indigenous guide and lean how to throw a spear or a boomerang. Fun for the whole family!

Cultural Dance Workshop
Learn Aboriginal dance movements like the emu and kangaroo, to the sound of traditional instruments and songs by our Indigenous dance troupe. Afterwards, an opportunity to share your new found talents at the Wakagetti Cultural Dance performance.

Wakagetti Cultural Dance Performance
Wakagetti, meaning "dance", will open your mind and heart to indigenous culture through an authentic dance performance. Participate in cultural dance, learn about each performer's heritage, and take a moment to interact with the troupe.

Interactive Didgeridoo Playing
Listen to the enchanting sounds of the didgeridoo while enjoying lunch at the Resort Town Square. Male guests have the opportunity to try it for themselves.

Traditional Aboriginal Games
"Yiri" is a traditional aiming or accuracy game which taught Aboriginal children hunting skills. Traditionally, spears or rocks were thrown at a moving target, either pieces of wood or bark floating on running water, or a possum-skin ball rolled between two people. In a modern twist on the game, competitors will use tennis balls to throw at a moving target. How accurate are you?

Tjungu Festival 2014 - Artists

Mark Olive

Mark Olive, known as 'The Black Olive' is Australia's most celebrated and renowned Indigenous chef. He has been cooking for more than 30 years and his charismatic style and creative approach to food have developed him an esteemed reputation and a large following in Australia and around the world.

Samatha Harris

Samantha Harris has been modelling since the age of 13. She has featured on the cover of Australian Vogue, been appointed a fashion ambassador for David Jones, and has walked the runway for some of Australia's most loved labels. Samantha Harris is not only a successful Indigenous model but a role model for other young Indigenous Australians.

Casey Donovan

Casey Donovan is one of Australia's most versatile Indigenous entertainers. After a meteoric rise to fame at the age of 16, she became the youngest ever winner of Australian Idol. Casey has gone on to make an indelible mark on the Australian theatre and music scenes.

Shelley Ware

MC Shelley Ware, a member of NITV's Marngrook Footy Show team, is one of Austraia's most respected and recognised female presenters of AFL football. For the past decade, Shelley has worked in the media as a radio and television presenter on both local and national AFL football news shows. Shelley's role on The Marngrook Footy Show includes her own segment, Around The Grounds, in which Shelley discusses events, and local issues, from various Indigenous communities around the country.

Michael O'Loughlin

Michael Kevin O'Loughlin is a former professional Australian Rules Footballer, who played his entire AFL career with the Sydney Swans. O'Loughlin is one of the most decorated Indigenous Australian players in the history of the AFL recognised through being named a member of the Indigenous Team of the Century. He is just the third player with Indigenous heritage to play 300 AFL games. He is currently the QBE Sydney Swans Academy Head Coach and was appointed in November 2013.

Shellie Morris

Shellie Morris is an Indigenous Darwin-based singer-songwriter performing and recording earthy and honest acoustic songs with contemporary instrumentation. Member of the Black Arm Band, Shellie has shared the bill with touring artists including Yothu Yindi, Sinead O'Connor, Meshel Ndegeocello, Rickie Lee Jones, Grinspoon, You Am I, Tiddas, Jimmy Little, and Magic Dirt.

Bush Tucker

Warren H Williams, one of Australia's favourite singer/songwriters, has a powerful voice, strong messages, wicked sense of humour and gentle manner. The three-time ARIA nominee, Golden Guitar winner and Deadlys Award winner has been a professional musician for the past 20 years but says music has been in his blood since he was born in Central Australia.


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