Mural is one step forward towards reconciliation

READY TO PAINT: Amanda Levett, Janice Cassidy, Betti Punnett, Bob Glanville, Peg Pigram, Don Elphick, Judy Johnson and Paula Maher at Apex Park. Photo: Declan Rurenga
READY TO PAINT: Amanda Levett, Janice Cassidy, Betti Punnett, Bob Glanville, Peg Pigram, Don Elphick, Judy Johnson and Paula Maher at Apex Park. Photo: Declan Rurenga

An unassuming public toilet block in Apex Park will soon be making a bold message about diversity in time for reconciliation week.

Instead of bricks and mortar – a mural depicting Cootamundra’s diverse community and acknowledging the original custodians of the land will be unveiled later this month.

This week, the mural started coming together as the first licks of paint were laid.

Amanda Levett created the design which features the town’s diverity. Miss Levett said she got involved through the Yarra Hub.

The hub, held every Monday at Cootamundra Public was started to share Wiradjuri painting, and this term will share the Wiradjuri language. The idea has evolved from there and Cootamundra-Gundagai Regional Council have approved the mural.

Amanda Levett adds the first coat of paint.

Amanda Levett adds the first coat of paint.

“I hope it becomes more than one mural because there’s little acknowledgement and representation of the traditional custodians,” Miss Levett said.

"This is a step on the journey of reconciliation between all people.”

Wiradjuri elder Uncle Bob Glanville said the mural was a positive step.

“It encourages people to look at the history of Aboriginality here in Cootamundra, especially considering the history of the Cootamundra Girls Home,” Mr Glanville said.

He said history had a way of misconstruing how the girls taken to that home were remembered.

While there had been change in government policy, Mr Glanville said governments were reperesentative of the community.

“The community has to come to terms with what was done and the sad history of the past,” he said.

“This painting is only one step. It’s recognition of the Aboriginal community in Cootamundra and its history.”

As well as people, the mural will depict the local Wiradjuri totem of the Eastern Long-Necked Turtle.

The name of Cootamundra is derived from a translation of Wiradjuri, Gudhamang-dhuray, which describes the district as the turtle’s breeding ground. The finished mural will be unveiled for reconciliation week and members of the community can add to the mural between 2pm and 3pm on Wednesday, May 16.

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