People gathered at the Wiradjuri Dreaming Centre on Friday night to celebrate the expansion of a space to share Indigenous culture, and the next step in the Somewhere Down the Lachlan sculpture trail.
Brett ‘Mon’ Garling’s bronze sculpture “Family Matters” was unveiled, featuring two Indigenous women with child returning from gathering food.
A series of story poles, each sharing an aspect of Indigenous culture, have now been installed from the Dreaming Centre to the Camp Street Bridge.
The celebration also marked the completion of an outdoor teaching ampitheatre and building.
Jess Buckman from the Dreaming Centre thanked everyone who had been part of the development.
“Now that we actually have our cultural hub up, we can start teaching traditional dancing, weaving and other workshops,” she said.
“As an Aboriginal youth, I know whilst growing up there was a lack of Indigenous culture and learning experiences.
“To see the younger generations able to grow up and be surrounded by their culture, is amazing.”
Mayor Phyllis Miller said Council was proud to partner with the project.
“These sculptures reflect the community of Forbes’ respect for our Wiradjuri culture,” she said.
She described the sculptures as iconic and unique pieces that set Forbes apart.
“The vision of the inland Sculptures by the Sea is really starting to happen,” she said.
Mayor Phyllis Miller congratulated Forbes Art Society on bringing the project to fruition.
She welcomed Lachlan Shire Council’s general manager to the event, and said she looked forward to working together to build on art tourism as a drawcard to both communities.
Another aspect of the project was the launch of a Wiradjuri Culture website, at wiradjuriculture.com.au.
There is more information about each of the story pole subjects – religion, arts, food, agriculture, technology, domestic life, family, language and organisation – and more.
The Dreaming Centre’s Jess Buckman said the project was a very important step forward.
“I really think that this will be a huge part in closing the knowledge gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous,” she said.
Forbes Art Society’s Dr Keith Mullette concluded the evening by thanking the many people involved in making it happen.
The project received $274,000 in grant money, and he said volunteers had contributed at least that again value in kind.