Looking Through Windows: Bourke workshops

Looking Through Windows: Bourke workshops

The ‘Looking Through Windows’ team were working out in Bourke last week holding art, music and media workshops. The workshops were a success with an estimated 30 Elders and community members attending. There were representative from the 10 Nations and clan groups of northwest NSW including the Ngemba, Muruwari, Wangkumara, Kunja, Gamilaraay, Adnyamathanha, Burrabindja, Yawalaraay, Kooma and Kurnu-Baakindji. It’s deadly to be supporting this project and helping create a cultural space that allows the sharing of stories, memories history and experiences.

Looking Through Windows: Art, Music and Media Workshops, Bourke 23-24 May 2017.
Following workshop summary written by Lorina Barker:

The Looking Through Windows project team held art, music and media workshops on Tuesday 23 and Wednesday 24 May 2017 at the Diggers on the Darling, Bourke.

The workshops were a success with an estimated 30 Elders and community members attending the two-day workshops. We had representative from the 10 Nations and clan groups of northwest NSW including the Ngemba, Muruwari, Wangkumara, Kunja, Gamilaraay, Adnyamathanha, Burrabindja, Yawalaraay and Kurnu-Baakindji. Elders and community members shared their stories, memories and experiences about life on the Bourke Reserve, now known as the Alice Edwards Village and what it was like growing up under the Act.  There were also stories about the Aboriginal Housing Relocation Scheme to Newcastle and Sydney for better housing, education and jobs. They also talked about how Murdis (Aboriginal people) slowly moved from the ‘Reserve’ to the edge and eventually into the town of Bourke.

Elders and community members shared their poetry, which musician and artist, Simon Mellor transformed into songs. Brian Smith a local Kunja artist held art workshops and produced a painting, ‘The Gathering’ that captured the spirit of the Bourke workshops and the project objectives. Beth Macraild O’Loughlin took photographs and Laslo Szabo filmed the event, while Lorina Barker led the oral history discussions.

A big thank you to the Bourke community and family members for their support, especially Elva Barker and Lesly Barker for catering morning tea, lunch, afternoon tea and for cleaning the facilities. Thank you to Gwen Barker, community project office for informing and getting people to the workshops and Kimberley Barker for administrative assistance. Paula Wilson for bringing her women’s art group to the workshops. Aunty Guertie Darrigo for showing the old Brewarrina Mission film and for Judy Hyland and Diane Edwards for sharing their poetry with us.

We were entertained by Simon, John Barker and Rick McKellar’s jamming session around the campfire at Elva’s place on Wednesday night and enjoyed chicken soup by Elva and johnny-cakes cooked on the open fire by Gwen.

Thursday we travelled to Brewarrina and met with Brad Hardy, curator at the Brewarrina Aboriginal Museum and visited the Old Brewarrina Mission with Uncle Issac Gordon and Uncle Ray Gunter, Laszlo filmed, Beth took photographs and Lorina led the oral history discussions with Simon strumming out a tune whenever he had a chance. He sang, ‘Bogged On the Old Mission Road’ for Brad and the Uncles at the Aboriginal Museum and for the students in Literacy For Life Program at Blessings. Friday we interviewed Brian Smith about his artwork, which ended the workshops is Bourke.

Thank you to Jeremy Blanch and team at JNC group for their deadly support you helped to bring our Elders and community members at Bourke together to share their stories, memories and experiences. You helped to create a cultural space to celebrate and share our history and culture. We were able to catch up, hang out, to have yarn, a cuppa and share stories of the ‘old days’.

–  Wednesday May 31 2017