History Beneath the Beauty

$950.00

by Jan Griffiths Gunjaka
75 x56cm
Natural pigment on paper

 

Woorrilbem holds a history. A blast from my grandmother's past as a child she went to this billabong to collect the lily flowers, its bulb, mussels and other edible bush food to take back to her family. One particular day on a usual walk she saw 2 strange men way off in the distance. A manager on horse back and a black tracker leading a donkey with a sack on its back.  They were tracking Aboriginal, Miriwoong people to work for the manager at the station.  As the men came closer, my grandmother slipped into the billabong to hide until the men were out of sight.  My grandmother then got out and started running as fast as she could back to her family, but it was too late as the strange men were already approaching the camp. With mixed emotions my grandmother spoke and pointed at the same time to the strange men, but the black tracker spoke in Miriwoong language and said they were friendly people looking for workers to work at the station for sugar, tea and tobacco as rations and brought flour to make bread as a peace offering,  Some Miriwoong people did go to work for the strange manager man. My grandmother and her family stayed on country.  If we don't carry this story and tell our children the history of Woorrilbem and its beauty will take over and my grandmother's Country will be lost and forgotten forever.

The different coloured lilly pads are my grandmothers emotions flowering through the billabong. The green lilly pads are the original colours covering the history of my grandmother's story.  The straight lines represents the calm relaxing billabong before my grandmother entered the water.