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Mural kangaroo

Mural and sign unveiled

Dharawal Mural tells an ancient story


Dharawal mural and sign

A special recognition event for the Dharawal Mural was held at ANSTO on 14 December 2017. Dharawal Elder Les Bursill delivered the Welcome to Country in Dharawal language. Bruce Howell, who prepared information and images for the interpretive sign and fact sheet, spoke about the significance of the mural at the event.  Both Bursill and Howell were advisors for the project. The painting was undertaken by art teacher Rick O'Brien and Strong Brother Strong Sister Indigenous students from Endeavour Sports High School. 

Read the media release

Welcome to Country in Dharawal language

Na niya Gomerada.
Bereewagal, naa niya.
Yura ngura dyi ngurang gurugal
Gunnemangai mareiin Ngura
Mai Burbai Murrawe Yunbulali Biamee
Ngoon dyalgala niya,
ngoon bamaraadbanga ni.
Mari ngurang niya mudang yura ngurra
Dyi nga ni nura.

People who come from afar, I see all of you.
Aboriginal people camped here, at this place, long ago.
But this is also My Camp
Here I see a sacred place
a rock wallaby, red kangaroo, two men and a creator spirit
We embrace all of you;
we open this place to all of you.
We lend this place to all of you while we sleep.
Here I see my country

Kindly provided by Dharawal Elder Les Bursill

Commentary on Dharawal Mural 

Official group Dharawal Mural opening
(Left to right) Dharawal Elder Les Bursill, art teacher Rick O'Brien, students, Darcey Moran, Ella Robinson, and Bruce Howell

"The Aboriginal landscape of Bardens Creek needs a little help to have its story told – that is what inspired the creation of this mural – the mural speaks of a different time and a different culture.

It speaks of a place of stone tool manufacture. There are at least eight sites in the valley where there are grooves in the rock that have resulted from shaping stone axes; and there are two more such grinding sites in the next valley to the north, in the upper reaches of Mill Creek.

It speaks of a place of artistic expression. There are four known rock engravings, and several shelter sites that contain charcoal and red ochre art that tells us something of what was important to the people who occupied the valley over time, thousands of years at least – people of the Dharawal language group, and presumably people from neighbouring language groups who likely visited this area from time to time.

Three sites in the upper Mill Creek/Bardens Creek catchment, all within 2.5km from ANSTO that have been radiocarbon dated, one at around 1,650 BP, another at around 2,200 BP, and a third site that has a sequence of datings of 550, 1,000, 2,150 and 2,700 years BP. These dates give us an idea of at least how long the valley has been visited.

Although those people no longer occupy that valley in a physical sense, they do in a spiritual sense – they’ve left the signs of their lives written in and on stone, a powerful reminder of the deeper history of this place.

We acknowledge and pay our respects to those people through this mural.

We hope that the mural helps to bring new life to the drawings, the engravings and the worksites that still exist in Bardens Creek Valley."

Kindly provided by Bruce Howell


ProjectsCultural heritage