Mural Highlights Conservation Lands Dreaming Story

Artists and collaborators come together to celebrate the completed mural. Photo by Marian Sampson.

FROM a dreary grey blank wall the Donald Street East Car Park has been transformed into a a work of art that tells a story.

Proud Worimi man Jason Russell has transformed the wall with a mural “Conservation Lands – Dreaming Stories as told by Worimi Elder Graeme Russell.

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The story is reprinted with the permission of the artist Jason Russell.

“A LONG time ago the land was very flat, and bush grew next to the shore.

“The Worimi hunted the animals in the bush and caught lots of fish from the beach, the women also gathered up many pipis that were buried in the wet sand along the beach.

“One day everyone was out hunting and gathering for the day, Malu, the spirit of storms, lightning and thunder appeared. Bringing with him, his brother, Wuruma, the wind spirit and his sister, Garuwa the sea spirit.

“Together they brought a great storm upon the land.

“Wuruma the wind spirit with his powerful breath caused the wind to blow strong.

“Garuwathe sea spirit caused the waves to crash heavily on the beach.

“The Worimi were very afraid because they thought they had done something wrong and were being punished by Mula, Wuruma and Garuwa.

“They had never seen such terrible weather ever. A wise old Worimi man called ‘Bupu’ said to his people ‘We must gather up all of the children and our possessions and move inland for safety. Hastily’.

“The Worimi left their camps and fled to Danilbaa (Tanilba Bay).

“Garuwa became angrier and angrier making the waves higher and higher, Waruma blew stronger, eventually smashing and ripping out trees and bushes that grew along the beach.

“Wuruma blew so ferociously that the sand from the beach formed large sand hills where the bush was.

“The storm had lasted for many days, finally, Djuukan, the sun spirit, came out from behind the clouds, bringing warmth to the land causing Mula to disappear.

“Wuruma turned into a soft breeze and Garuwa calmed the ocean.

“The Worimi were happy that Mula had gone and decided to return to their camp and settle into normal ways of living, hunting and gathering.

“When they got to the edge of the bush, they were very surprised at what they saw.

“Wuruma had pushed the sand from the seashore and formed large sand hills.

“The Worimi people noticed that there were also freshwater lagoons between the high sand hills and the seashore.

“It was a really beautiful sight, the old landscape had been destroyed by the fierce storm, but now a new landscape had been created, one that was filled with animals and birdlife, which they lived on for thousands of years.”

For Jason, the artwork takes him back to his youth.

Jason approached council explaining his idea to transform the blank wall with a mural.

It took quite an effort but after engaging with Business Port Stephens and Port Stephens Council the collaboration came together to make this mural a reality.

Soon a QR code will be installed at the site sharing the story and the artist’s biography.

Jason Russell grew up in Port Stephens – now he is back sharing his art, his knowledge and his love for his country.

Jason has a gallery Koori Colours at Tanilba Bay and is working on other community art projects in the region.

Port Stephens Mayor Ryan Palmer told News Of The Area, “this is a fantastic community project here with lots of partners involved that brought this together.

“It’s vibrant for our town centre – I actually have a similar artwork which I bought from Jason that I have in my office so I am a very big fan of Jason and the work that he does and Kez through their business, it has really uplifted the area here and that’s what we want to see in the town centre.”

Bill Knaggs from Ray White Real Estate and Rowena worked with the landlord to grant approval for the wall to be painted.

Bill Knaggs said, “it changes this from being just a car park to becoming more or less a tourist attraction in its own right.

“[It’s] a great addition to the town.” he said.

Mel Turner of Destination Port Stephens, “this is sensational for the tourism sector to be able to tell that consistent story about our cultural background and this will add a highlight to some cultural and artisan trails which are planned for the region.”


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