Historic country, culture and art in the depths of Collie was celebrated over the weekend with the return of the annual Roelands Village Festival. Located on the Collie River about 20 minutes from Bunbury, from the early 1940s Roelands Village was a mission for more than 500 children of the Stolen Generation. Now, the Roelands Village is celebrated as a centre of healing and education where people are invited to experience culture on country that is now a crucial part of Australian history. The free community festival on Saturday welcomed people to educate themselves on the importance of country and being connected to culture, as well as supporting Indigenous artists throughout the South West. The village was filled with live music and cultural performances, while visitors enjoyed fun and educational Indigenous workshops and stalls selling food, art and jewellery made by some of the South West’s most talented artists. The festival comes after the Roelands Village was successful in receiving State funding from the Regional Economic Development grant, funding local projects to stimulate economic growth and development in regional Western Australia. Roelands chief executive Les Wallam was just four years old when he first came to the village when it was still a mission, and helped in the fight to reclaim the land 17 years ago. Mr Wallam said he was proud to be able to host Roelands Festival on country that has so much meaning. “We are here to celebrate our beautiful country and the history that happened on these lands,” he said. South 32 technical supervisor Ashley Royston spoke on stage at the festival as a supporting sponsor, saying it was important to remember the history of the former mission. “Today we celebrate the rejuvenation of the village, but we also acknowledge what happened here all those years ago,” Mr Royston said.