It is interesting that anything to do with sport and recreation draws much more enthusiastic government response to funding requests, than any other aspect of life. In particular, arts and culture can sometimes suffer.

The NT Top End Eisteddfod, which ran for 49 years is an example. The program promoted music, artistic expression, dance and many other forms of development. Children and adults, but particularly children from all over the Top End of the NT took part in this program. It lead to the building of confidence and skill, with many going on to great things in their futures.

There were tens of thousands of participants over the years. The program, supported by a volunteer committee, ran for close to a fortnight every year and exposed the brilliance of performers, particularly our young people.

The program lacked for funding guarantees and in the end, half a dozen years ago, finally fell into history. Ask Darwinians and Palmerstonians, those in the rural area, across Arnhem Land and as far south as Katherine and the Rivers District about the program now: They will say ‘what Eisteddfod?’

Every effort the committee made to gain regular and committed funding from the government, the City of Darwin Council essentially failed.

The NT Education Department offered some support and in the end provided administrative assistance.  However, that alone was not enough.

Recent attempts by some stalwarts to revive the program have been rebuffed. A year shy of its half century and six years past its last stanza on stage, the NT Top End Eisteddfod is dead in the water!  What a pity it wasn’t a sporting event.



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