Monday, 23 September 2019

Visit to Djab Wurrung & Gunditjmara Country Tour

Images from a four day trip across western Victoria to visit indigenous cultural centres, architecture and farming sites.

Rock art, Northern Gariwerd,

Djab Wurrung Country

“Bunjil Shelter sits within the Gariwerd, a cultural landscape that supports our people both physically and spiritually. Bunjil created our land, our people, the plants and animals, our religion and the laws by which we live. He is the leading figure in our spiritual life, essential in teaching our young people the importance of our laws and beliefs,” Levi Lovett, local custodian, Parks Victoria.

Fencing required to protect this rock art site. 

Brambuk Cultural Centre

Gunditjmara Country

Mackenzie & Fish Falls Walk



Tower Hill Bush Tucker Tour with Jackie

Wattle seed baked into a loaf, uncovered by a plough in 1938

Bush Tucker - images only didn't take notes!

Warrigal Greens


 Spring babies. Animals reintroduced to the park in 1960s.


Robin Boyd designed Natural History Centre, 1967

Colleen helps a turtle across the road and to the lake.

 Winda-Mara Aboriginal Corporation Office in Heywood. 

Image of original possum skin cloak in Museum Victoria from seven Gunditjmara elders from the Lake Condah Mission c. 1870s and new cloak make with Vicki Couzins

 Budj Bim Tour

Spring fed water way that cuts through the massive lava flow that is Budj Bim area. 


Opening always faces north-east towards kind weather

Interior of stone houses package out with clay.

Blackwood rafters, black wattle fill, clay, flowering bush on roof

The Budj Bim Cultural Landscape, located in the traditional Country of the Gunditjmara Aboriginal people in south-eastern Australia, consists of three serial components containing one of the world’s most extensive and oldest aquaculture systems. The Budj Bim lava flows provide the basis for the complex system of channels, weirs and dams developed by the Gunditjmara in order to trap, store and harvest kooyang (short-finned eel – Anguilla australis). The highly productive aquaculture system provided an economic and social base for Gunditjmara society for six millennia. The Budj Bim Cultural Landscape is the result of a creational process narrated by the Gunditjmara as a deep time story, referring to the idea that they have always lived there. From an archaeological perspective, deep time represents a period of at least 32,000 years. The ongoing dynamic relationship of Gunditjmara and their land is nowadays carried by knowledge systems retained through oral transmission and continuity of cultural practice.

Massacre Sculpture - Victoria 
Initiated by Regional Arts Victoria in partnership with Lake Condah Sustainability Development Project as part of a statewide initiative called ‘Fresh and Salty, artists Carmel Wallace and Vicki Couzens designed a sculpture with artistic references to the traditional use of water by Indigenous and European people. 


Remains, Lake Condah Mission

End of tour with Braden, Veronica, Robyn, Kath, Me & Colleen

Monday, 29 July 2019

Black Finch Project

Huge nod to THE AMAZING Charlotte Watons for creating and curating this project. 

From her and to date:
The last week or so has seen my phone drain its battery all over again, with multiple articles coming through the media in response to the project. In case you missed them:
Protest art: rallying cry or elegy for the black-throated finch? - The Conversation*
(*This article was done without any interviews or requests for information on the project. So interpret how you will!)
The artwork count is now around 1440, and new subscribers continue to join the project. If you have finished and sent your artwork, the survey will remain open for your feedback until 22nd August.

Most importantly, I didn't wait politicians to end of with a work of art that they could admire and 'forget' the politically action that we artists were requesting.

The resulting work was an action. The work, a hand built black finch form was not fired. The request was to submerge it in water, 'at the place where you make important decisions'.

The raw clay sculpture would then dissolve and disappear, a metaphorical action of what was happening to the Black Throated Finch.



Wrapping raw clay sculptures in black 'shrouds' for delivery in tubes with instructions enclosed.

Be careful.
This is a handcrafted clay bird, little more than dried mud.
It is fragile, birds are fragile as is our earth.
I have made and sent you this small sculpture to call your attention to the plight of the Black Throated Finch.

I ask this of you: an action and reflection.

Find your favourite office glass, fill it with water.
Place this glass in the space where you make your most important decisions.
Take your clay finch and gently drop it into the glass of water.

Watch intently or glance occasionally and you will see the form slowly dissolve.

Every action has a consequence.

I implore you to block the proposed Adani Carmichael mine which will certainly contribute to the mass extinction of the Black Throated Finch.

It is as simple as this single action but the repercussions will be great.

Yours sincerely, Robyn Phelan
Black Finch Project


Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk
PO Box 15185City East, Queensland 4002

QLD Minister for Environment (and the Arts), Leeanne EnochGPO Box 5078BRISBANE QLD 4001

Federal Environment Minister, Sussan LeyPO Box 672Albury, NSW, 2640

PM Scott MorrisonPO Box 6022, House of Representatives, Parliament HouseCanberra ACT 2600
Senator Matt CanavanPO Box 737Rockhampton QLD 4700