miirumalikany parra anyi parraykupa
ngaatjany ngiyany marrung wiyany
Ngarrakay parranypa yurakaykal
Pangaykal ngaatjany kumpakal
In Wanarruwa/Wanaruah/Wonnarua language
‘We acknowledge the Wonnarua people, traditional keepers of this land, and we pay respects to their Elders past present and emerging’
Welcome to Country was always conducted by First Nations people but not as it is done today. Traditionally, if strangers came onto country to pass through or to hunt and gather, the owners would welcome them. They would gather and chat, they would hunt for food, they would gather firewood, berries, nuts & roots. Then they would have ceremony, with dancing, singing & eating from the proceeds of the land … from what mother nature had supplied. Celebrating could go on for days, stories were shared, sacred sites were visited. By doing this people ensured that the strangers would not be considered strangers but friends who shared the spirit of the country, just like the people that lived there.
They believed that once the spirit of the land was in their hearts, then those people would never damage the land – they would love it and care for it like those whose home country it was.
Times have changed, the landscape has morphed to cater for the masses, mines dug to power homes and businesses, progress has developed and determined our landscape. When we go, the land will continue to do as it has always done: the plants will grow, animals will flourish. In the future will the economy (supply & demand) determine the current landscape? How will the landscape look when Liddell has been laid to rest? What is the future for the area and how will it look?
Our artists have been working hard on showcasing how things were, how they are now.
Their interpretation is a vibrant creative expression which encompasses generations, a collective alliance not unlike gatherings of the past, coming together as a collective, respectfully appreciating what everyone has to offer, all points of view considered, and a collaboration employed for the greater good.
Richie and Sue Lawton, for Arts Upper Hunter, 2023