A project hosted by the Wiradjuri Study Centre, as part of our Big Skies Collaboration, in the small inland town of Condobolin, to recover, record and share Wiradjuri skystories and other knowledge, and to celebrate 60,000 years or more of cultural continuity. This project is currently funded by the Copyright Agency’s Cultural Fund, with in-kind support from other project partners.
10 October 2017: Some of Condobolin’s Wiradjuri elders and their supporters took a bus trip to Seven Sisters Ridge and enjoyed a picnic beside Gunningbland Creek. The excursion was organised by the Study Centre’s Event Manager, Kristi Hoskins, to introduce elders to our Wiradjuri Skywriters Pilot Project. Rebecca Shepherd, from the Callara Family History Group and the Murie Elders Project, also introduced her remarkable family history archive which includes photos of past elders who had worked on Burrawong and other pastoral stations surrounding the Seven Sisters.
Many on the bus trip, including Marlene Coe from Yawarra Aboriginal Corporation Aboriginal Disability Service, had never heard of the Seven Sisters Ridge before this excursion because the stories had not been passed on to them.
“For me, the trip was a big, eye-opening experience’,” Ms Coe said. “I am now beginning to understand how significant the Seven Sisters Ridge and its stories must have been to our ancestors, and I want to know more. After that trip, I feel it’s very important that we recover and record these old stories and pass them on to our younger generations.”
11 September 2017: Wiradjuri Study Centre staff and Board members met with Big Skies Collaboration’s Merrill Findlay and Rebecca Shepherd, from the Callara Family History Group and Murie Elders Project, to plan our Wiradjuri Skywriters Pilot Project’s first community ‘yarn-up’ with local elders. The ‘yarn-up’ will include a bus trip to Seven Sisters Ridge near Yarrabandai, a community picnic, and a lot of storytelling. We also discussed the proposed 2018 StarFest and confirmed details of the Centre’s contract with Merrill, who will be facilitating these projects in consultation with others. (The contract was signed the following day.)
22 August 2017
Wiradjuri Condobolin Corporation’s Chairperson Ally Coe, Board member Dawn Johnson, and Study Centre staff members Vicki Swadling (Finance Manager) and Kristi Hoskins (Event Manager) met with Merrill Findlay to discuss the Wiradjuri Skywriters Pilot Project and the associated proposal for an indigenous StarFest to be held in 2018.
The Wiradjuri Condobolin Corporation (WCC) board formally approved both projects at their meeting on 24 August 2017.
The StarFest will be hosted by the Wiradjuri Study Centre with project partners and will draw on the work of cultural astronomer Trevor Leaman and his Wiradjuri Astronomy Project, and constellation art work by Wiradjuri artist Scott ‘Sauce’ Towney from Peak Hill. It will also involve Wiradjuri fibre artist Bev Coe and the Sista Shed artisans, the Murie Elders Project, and, we hope, many other organisations, government departments, astronomers, universities and individual supporters, as well Big Skies Collaborators, including David Clarkson and his Big Skies Theatre Project.
Sista Shed meeting
Acclaimed fibre artist Bev Coe, who shares her knowledge and skills with other women at the Wiradjuri Study Centre’s Sista Shed, proposed some exciting ideas about weaving Wiradjuri skystories into three-dimensional forms when she met with Rebecca Shepherd and Merrill Findlay in August.
This project will be undertaken in late 2017 and 2018 with Condo’s Wiradjuri community and partner organisations, including Arts Outwest and Red Room Poetry, the Sista Shed, and Callara Family History Group.
First discussions about the Wiradjuri Skywriters Pilot Project and our first funding application.
Page created 27 April 2017. Last updated 14 October 2017.