Last Saturday, the Office of the Guardian’s beloved safety symbols – OoG and Nunga OoG – walked, danced, and hopped the 3.5km pageant track that led Father Christmas to Adelaide’s Town Hall, and marked the official welcoming of the ‘big guy in red’ to Australia.
This year’s pageant was a special milestone for the Office, celebrating Nunga OoG’s very first appearance. Accompanied by OoG (making his 16th appearance), the safety symbols were crowd favourites, offering an abundance of high fives, selfies, and tail pats!
For those either attending or watching, we hope that OoG and Nunga OoG’s participation provided children and young people in care with a reminder that we are here for them, they are not alone, and they should feel proud and strong for who they are.
What you may not know is that we had two very special guests combating the heat and discomfort of the costumes to bring our characters alive. We give our deep thanks to Jadynne Harvey and William Coulston who took time out of their busy schedules to make this possible.
We know that wearing the costumes and participating in the pageant holds a special place in their hearts. In Jadynne’s words,
“OoG is a really important reminder to everyone who has been in care that they’re not alone, and that there’s always someone looking out for them. I first got involved as OoG at the pageant in 2007, and aside from a couple of COVID-19 interrupted years I’ve been in every pageant since.
“Being able to be part of the Christmas Pageant as OoG has always been very close to my heart, to do my little bit to share OoG’s story with the world and to make the day a little more special for those in care.
It was amazing to join Nunga OoG this year and I hopefully get the opportunity to spend some more time with them at future pageants.”
Like Jadynne, who has been OoG every year since 2007 and marks this occasion on his calendar, William hopes to do the same. As William told us,
“For me, being Nunga OoG is a chance to represent the Indigenous community, particularly those in care. And to give them a chance to use their voice, when mine was locked away.”
In celebrating the approaching festive season, we would like to take a moment to acknowledge the challenge that Christmas presents for many, in particular those who are unable to be with their families and loved ones.
In the hustle and bustle of the remaining weeks of 2023 we acknowledge the importance of going gently, allowing space for sharing and taking opportunities to remind those around us: you are not alone.