Gumnbaynggirr artwork features at Coffs Harbour Services NSW Centre

Coffs Harbour Service NSW staff with artist Ruben Browne.

SERVICE NSW’s Aboriginal Artwork Initiative has launched at the Coffs Harbour branch, the fourth out of ten Service Centres to participate.

Established following staff and customer feedback, the initiative aims to strengthen engagement with and acknowledgement of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples as well as make local service centres more welcoming for all people.

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A dotted painting by Gumbaynggirr artist Ruben Browne, titled ‘Gumbaynggirr Country Reflection’, is now on display at the Coffs Harbour Service NSW Centre.

Ruben’s painting tells a story of the connection from the Gaagal (ocean/sea) winding along the Coffs Creek estuary waterway connecting the bush walking tracks to and from an old Aboriginal campsite.

“The inspiration for this painting was to highlight past local Aboriginal Gumbaynggirr people who lived at the old Aboriginal campsite at Fitzroy oval – a meeting place or a yarning circle in our culture,” said Ruben.

The artwork was selected by Aboriginal Elders from the Coffs Harbour and District Local Aboriginal Land Council and Garlambirla Elders Group.

Service NSW Regional Manager Jeremy Conlon, who covers the Coffs Harbour Service NSW Centre, told News Of The Area, “Feedback from team members has been incredibly positive with Coffs Harbour Service NSW Centre staff enjoying learning more about Gumbaynnggirr culture and the artist Ruben’s story.

“Team members have found the colours of Ruben’s artwork really soothing and participating in the Aboriginal Artwork Initiative has been a good way for them to connect with local Aboriginal Elders.”

“Coffs Harbour Service NSW Centre looks forward to continuing to build our relationship with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.”

Jeremy thanked Ruben for sharing his artwork and helping “educate us about the Gumbaynggirr people – their rich history, culture and their stories”.

“I hope local customers will stop to view, enjoy and reflect on Ruben’s artwork when they visit the Service Centre, ensuring we continue to strengthen our bonds with the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community.”

Ruben hopes that sharing his artwork with Coffs Harbour Service Centre begins to embed workplace and community inclusiveness.

“I feel it is not only important for this art initiative but all government and non-government services to aim to recognise and consult with local Aboriginal community members to further develop cultural acknowledgement and programs within the area.

“My father taught me art from an early age and influenced my artistic development with his inherent cultural knowledge and artwork which has continued to keep me connected to my culture and heritage.”


Ruben Browne’s dotted painting, ‘Gumbaynggirr Country Reflection’, is now installed at Coffs Harbour Service NSW Centre.

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