- Dates13-14 December, 2022
- LocationsDrill Hall Gallery, ANU School of Music, Kambri Cultural Precinct
- Registration Link
- Gather 'Round People Registration
Join Professor Brenda L. Croft, eminent guests and panel members in a two-day symposium centered on ‘Murrudha: Sovereign walks – tracking cultural actions through art, Country, language and music’ (2020 – 2025) and the exhibition ‘Still in my mind: Gurindji location, experience and visuality’, currently at the Drill Hall Gallery. Panels will explore and reflect on topics such as: contemporary and historical cultural sovereign actions, personal and collective reflections; ancestral obligations and cultural continuity; and oral history storytelling through song and language.
The symposium is preceded by an evening welcome event and special screenings on Monday 12 December at the National Film and Sound Archives; and includes two days of stimulating panel discussions associated with the ANU Indigenous Health and Wellbeing Collaborative Scheme project, ‘Murrudha: Sovereign Walks – tracking cultural actions through art, Country, language and music’ and the collaborative exhibition ‘Still in my mind: Gurindji location, experience and visuality’. Details at bottom of this page.
Tuesday 13 December will focus on ‘Murrudha: Sovereign Walks – Track #3’, Wednesday 13 December will focus on ‘Still in my mind: Gurindji location, experience and visuality. The symposium culminates on the evening of Wednesday 14 with ‘Gather Round People’, free performance with Alinta Barlow, Jye Cole, Dale Huddleston, Djinama Yilaga celebrating esteemed First Nations Knowledge Holder and Songman, Dr Kev Carmody’s ANU Honorary Doctorate Award, 2022.
The symposium is free, however, due to space limitations and for catering purposes, online registrations are essential. Please register here: https://symposium-murrudha-simm.eventbrite.com.au
‘Murrudha: Sovereign Walks- Tracking cultural actions through art, Country, language and music’ is supported by ANU Indigenous Health and Wellbeing Grand Challenge, and College of Arts and Social Sciences. Read more about it here: https://dhg.anu.edu.au/news_post/background-to-murrudha-sovereign-walks/
Monday 12 December
Special Welcome Event
6:30pm-9:30pm, National Film and Sound Archive, McCoy Circuit, Acton
Q+A discussion with Jim-puralia Everett-meenamatta, cultural advisor on ‘The Nightingale’ (2018), prior to screening of:
- Excerpt of Nangar/Yangar/Jimmy Clements attending opening of Parliament House, 9 – 10 May 1927, in ‘Birth of White Australia’ (1928)
- ‘The Nightingale’ (2018): Set in 1825, Clare, a young Irish convict woman, chases a British officer through the rugged Tasmanian wilderness, bent on revenge for a terrible act of violence he committed against her family. On the way she enlists the services of an Aboriginal tracker named Billy, who is also marked by trauma from his own violence-filled past.’
Register online: tickets.nfsa.gov.au/Events/THE-NIGHTINGALE-Q-A
Tuesday 13 December
Murrudha: Sovereign Walks – tracking cultural actions through art, Country, language and music (Track#3) focus
9:30-10:00AM, Forecourt, Drill Hall Gallery
Welcome to Country/ Acknowledgement of Country
Paul Girrawah House JP, Senior Community Engagement Officer, Office of the Vice President, First Nations Portfolio
10:15-11:00AM, Drill Hall Gallery
Public Programs & events overview
Dr Brenda L Croft Professor, Indigenous Art History & Curatorship, ANU; Team Leader, Murrudha: Sovereign Walks; Curator, Still in my mind: Gurindji location, experience and visuality
11:00AM-12:30PM, Drill Hall Gallery
Panel 1: Plenary session – Sovereign actions, diverse reflections, past & present
Dr Brenda L Croft
Dr Aunty Matilda House, Ngambri Elder
Jim-puralia Everett-meenamatta (First Nations clan plangermairreenner of the Turbuna (Mt Ben Lomond) people, Tasmania.
Dr Valerie Cooms, Nunukul people, CAEPR Director; Quandamooka | Minjerribah (North Stradbroke Island), Qld.
Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for special dietary requirements by Friday 9 December.
1:30-2:30PM, Drill Hall Gallery
Panel 2. ‘Murrudha: Track #3’ Brungle Community – Cultural Continuity and connections
Dr Jilda Andrews (facilitator)
Aunty Sue Bulger
Aunty Phyllis Freeman
Dr Lois Peeler AM
Aunty Sonia Piper
Aunty Bronwyn Penrith
& other Brungle community members
2:30–3:30PM, Drill Hall Gallery
Panel 3. ‘Murrudha: Track #3’ Caring for Country, Culture, Collections & People – Ancestral obligations
Professor Jamie Pittock (facilitator)
Paul Girrawah House
Dr Jilda Andrews
Leah House, Aboriginal Tent Embassy youth representative
Afternoon Tea (catered)
Contact email@example.com for special dietary requirements by Friday 9 December.
Wednesday 14 December
Still in my mind: Gurindji location, experience and visuality focus
9:30-10:30AM, ANU School of Music Level 5, Lecture Theatre 3, William Herbert Pl, Canberra ACT
Panel 1. Q+A with Kev Carmody and others – oral history storytelling through song and language
Professor Brenda L Croft (Facilitator)
Dr Kev Carmody
Brenda Gifford, Ngarra Burria: First Peoples Composers Alumnus, independent composer/musician
Cheryl Davison, Iris White, Djinama Yilaga representatives.
Will Kepa, Manager, Yil Lull Studio, ANU School of Music, musician/producer
11:00AM-12:00PM, Drill Hall Gallery
Panel 2. Collaborative partnerships: Artists, art centres, communities, universities – creative-led research
Professor Brenda L Croft, ‘Still in my mind: Gurindji location, experience and visuality’, curator and participating artist
Dr Felicity Meakins, UQ Node, Centre of Excellence for the Dynamics of Language
Leah Leaman, artist/Gurindji Knowledge Holder
Penny Smith, Manager, Karungkarni Art & Culture Aboriginal Corporation
Justin Paddy, Gurindji Knowledge Holder
Timothy Donald, Gurindji Knowledge Holder
Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for special dietary requirements by Friday 9 December.
1:00-2:00PM, Drill Hall Gallery
Panel 3. 1966 – 2022: recollections from the Walk-Off journey to now – freedom?
Professor Brenda L Croft (facilitator)
Kerry Gibbs, Gurindji Walk-Off supporter & activist
Dr Lyn Riddett, Gurindji Walk-Off supporter & activist
Maurie Ryan Japarta, Gurindji Knowledge Holder & activist
Josie Crawshaw, Gurindji Knowledge Holder & activist
Dr Hannah Middleton, Gurindji Walk-Off supporter & activist (via Zoom)
2:00–3:00PM, Drill Hall Gallery
Still in my mind tour by curator Professor Brenda L Croft
Visions of Australia
DHG Members /Friends
Advancement/Donor Relations representatives
Wednesday 14 December
Gather ‘Round People
Manning Clark Hall,
Kambri Precinct, ANU
Free Ticket link
Performance celebrating Dr Kev Carmody headlined by Electric Fields, featuring
In association with ANU CASS, ANU IHWGC ‘Murrudha: Sovereign Walks (Track #3)’, and ‘Still in my mind: Gurindji location, experience and visuality’, Drill Hall Gallery.
‘Murrudha: Sovereign Walks – Track #3’ is part of ‘Murrudha: Sovereign Walks- Tracking cultural actions through art, Country, language and music’, supported by ANU Indigenous Health and Wellbeing Grand Challenge, and College of Arts and Social Sciences.
‘Still in my mind: Gurindji location, experience and visuality’ is developed in partnership with UNSW Galleries, UQ Art Museum, and Karungkarni Art and Culture Aboriginal Corporation, an Australian Research Council Discovery Indigenous 2012 Award with support from UNSW Art + Design, ARC Centre of Excellence for the Dynamics of Language, UQ Node, Postgraduate Research Award 2015 and the Berndt Research Foundation. Tour presented by Artback NT and supported by Visions of Australia. This project has been assisted by the Australian Government through the Australia Council for the Arts.
Cover Image: Installation image from Still In my Mind: Gurindji location, experience and visuality at the Drill Hall Gallery.
Special thanks to Electric Fields, Diana Sautell, performers & all personnel associated with ‘Gather ‘Round People’ celebration at Manning Clark Hall, Kambri Precinct, ANU; Andrea Morris, ANU Advancement & IHWGC Executive for their support for these connected events.
We acknowledge and celebrate the First Nations Peoples on whose traditional lands we meet, and pay our respect to the Elders past and present.
The Drill Hall Gallery acknowledges the Ngambri and Ngunnawal peoples, the traditional custodians of the Canberra region, and neighbouring clans/nations, and recognises their continuous connection to culture, community and Country.
Buy Now / $25 + $10 postage
- TitleStill In My Mind: Gurindji location, experience and visuality
- SpecsSoftcover, 150 pages
- PublisherPublished 2017 by University of Queensland Art Museum
- DetailsBrenda L. Croft, Penny Smith, Felicity Meakins
- Price$25 + $10 postage / Buy Now
Dr Jilda Andrews is a Yuwaalaraay woman, cultural practitioner and researcher based in Canberra. Jilda draws from her heritage to investigate the connectedness of land, story and culture to objects in museum collections. Her focus on material culture and their associated stories continue to push the definition of custodianship, from one which is focused on the preservation of objects, to one which strives to maintain connections between objects and the systems which produce them.
Alinta Barlow is a proud Ngunnawal woman who was born and raised in Canberra. She started writing songs when she was 15 and completed her Bachelor of Music with the University of Newcastle in 2015. She has been incorporating the Ngunnawal language into her songs for the past year and hopes to continue writing songs about country for many years to come. She will be accompanied by the amazing Will Kepa on guitar for her performance.
Coral Bulger is a Wiradjuri l Elder and Knowledge Holder from Brungle Aboriginal Community.
Sue Bulger is a Wiradjuri Elder who grew up on the Brungle Mission. She is Brungle-Tumut Local Aboriginal Land Council (LALC) CEO and created history by becoming the first Indigenous Mayor of Tumut.
Jye Cole Hopkins is a Luritja/Warumunga singer/performer living on Ngambri/Ngunnawal Country.
Dr Kev Carmody is one of Australia’s pre-eminent singer songwriters, a wordsmith whose often politically charged and socially aware lyrics early in his career found him described as “Australia’s black Bob Dylan”. Of Aboriginal and Irish heritage, both cultures famous for oral histories in song, Kev was born to be a story-teller. Arguably his best-known composition (with Paul Kelly) is ‘From Little Things Big Things Grow’, based on the story of The Gurindji Strike and Vincent Lingiari as part of the struggle for indigenous land rights and reconciliation. This song won Heritage Song of the Year at the 1994 Country Music Awards of Australia. Kev began writing songs in the mid 1960s. He released his first album ‘Pillars of Society’ in December 1987, one of the most powerful protest albums, from Australia or anywhere else, fuelled by anger at injustice and hypocrisy. Rolling Stone magazine described the album as “The best album ever released by an Aboriginal musician and arguably the best protest album ever made in Australia”. His 2007 album ‘Cannot Buy My Soul’ was refreshed in 2020, a double album of original Carmody songs and those same songs reinterpreted by some of this country’s most respected performers: Paul Kelly, Courtney Barnett, Archie Roach, Bernard Fanning, John Butler, Steve ¬Kilbey, Kate Miller-Heidke, Alice Skye, Kasey Chambers, Jimmy Barnes, Troy Cassar-Daley, Missy Higgins, Augie March, Electric Fields and others. The Australian described it as “not just a simple tribute album. It is a showcase of Kev’s enduring power as a songwriter and performer, and in the great ¬tradition of Indigenous storytelling, a passing on of his songs to younger generations and beyond.” John O’Donnell, Head of EMI Music, which produced the album said, “I do think this work, and Kev’s words, his songs, need to be spread as far as they can be spread, these are history lessons… that sounds a little corny but they are living histories that need to be retold and not forgotten… Many of the stories around black deaths in custody, around the Stolen Generations, these things all happened in my lifetime and it’s quite gobsmacking to think that not that long ago Indigenous children were taken away from their parents, that we’re still living in an era when black deaths in custody is still an issue, is still a problem.” Kev has received numerous significant awards and acknowledgements throughout his distinguished career.
In 2022 Kev will receive an Honorary Doctorate from the ANU for his For exceptional contribution to the creative arts and his advocacy and promotion of First Nations Knowledges, Storywork and Rights through Storytelling, Oral History and Music.
Dr Valerie Cooms belongs to the Quandamooka people of North Stradbroke Island or Minjerribah. Valerie is currently the Chair of the Quandamooka Yoolooburabee Registered Native Title Body Corporate, and is the Director of the Centre for Aboriginal Economic Policy Research (CAEPR). Valerie holds a PhD from ANU and has worked in Native Title as CEO of Queensland South Native Title Services and a Member of the National Native Title Tribunal.
Cathy Craigie is a Gamilaraay and Anaiwon woman from northern NSW and has worked in media and the arts for over 20 years. Cathy has also worked in Aboriginal Affairs for over thirty years. One of the original founders of Koori Radio and former Director of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Arts Board of the Australia Council, Craigie was also Deputy Director-General of the NSW Department of Aboriginal Affairs. Cathy’s experience ranges across disciplines and she has worked in health, housing, environmental, legal, media and the arts. She is particularly interested in First Nations’ stories and their relevance today, and is currently developing a play transforming the Gamilaroi traditional story of the Seven Sisters constellation. She has written several plays and essays and has worked part time as an Aboriginal arts consultant.
Josephine Crawshaw is a Gurindji elder and descendent of the Stolen Generations and a long-term advocate and activist for the recognition of the sovereign rights of First Nations Peoples.
Josie has been a founding member of national and international political organisations such as the Aboriginal Provisional Government, Top End Aboriginal Coalition and National Coalition of Aboriginal Organisations. Her decades of activism include organising a 1000-person convoy from the NT to Sydney to protest during the Bicentenary celebrations in 1988.
Her professional career has seen her appointed as the Top End Commissioner and ATSIC Commissioner; NT State Manager of the Department of Employment and Workplace Relations; and Foundation CEO of the Peak Body for Aboriginal Children, Youth and Families in the Northern Territory, known as SAFNT. A sabbatical took her across the USA and Canada to study Treaties and Self Determination for First Nations Peoples and, over two decades, she helped draft the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. More recently, she was the Top End Coordinator, Delegate and National Co-Chair of the Statement from the Heart Working Group.
Her current activism is as a founding member of the ‘Close Don Dale Now’ movement to shut down Darwin’s infamous youth prison and implement the recommendations of the Royal Commission into the Protection and Detention of Children in the Northern Territory.
Professor Brenda L Croft is from the Gurindji/Malngin/Mudburra peoples from the Victoria River region of the Northern Territory of Australia, and Anglo-Australian/German/Irish/Chinese heritage. Brenda is privileged to live and work on the unceded sovereign lands of the Ngambri/Ngunnawal Peoples. Brenda’s four decade multi-disciplinary practice-led research encompasses critical performative Indigenous auto-ethnography, representation and identity, Indigenous Storywork and creative narratives, installation, multi-media and multi-platform work, particularly a in long-standing engagement with patrilineal family and community members, both on traditional homelands and also as part of dispossessed, Gurindji-affiliated communities.
In 2021 Brenda was awarded a Doctor of Philosophy (UNSW), receiving a UNSW Dean’s Award for Outstanding PhD Thesis for Kurrwa (stone tool/axehead) to Kartak (container, cup, billycan, pannikin): hand-made/held-ground. Her PhD included the exhibition Still in my mind: Gurindji location, experience and visuality. In 2021 Brenda received an AIAH Art History Research Grant (Indigenous Australian), for Semester 2, 2022, OSP (Outside Study Program) for the project: Reimagining the North Australian Expedition 1855-56. She will be based at ANU North Australia Research Unit, CDU, Darwin, NT. In 2022 Brenda was selected for a AAANZ Early Career Publishing Program for her thesis. In 2023 Brenda’s series ‘Naabami (thou shall/will see): Barangaroo (army of me)’ will be exhibited in Sydney Festival (dual sites); and The National 4, Art Gallery of NSW. In 2023 – 24 Brenda will be the Gough Whitlam and Malcolm Fraser Chair of Australian Studies at Harvard University, undertaking a placement with the Department of History of Art and Architecture and Department of Art, Film, and Visual Studies, engaging with colleagues in the Harvard University Native American Program, and outside the university.
Cheryl Davison & Iris White, with Djinama Yilaga: Cheryl is a Dhurga/Ngarigo/Walbunga visual artist and performer. The Djinama Yilaga Choir is an intergenerational Yuin choir, establish in 2019 and led by renowned Walbunga/Ngarigo artist, Cheryl Davison. Djinama Yilaga perform songs in Dhurga language. Yuin people were often multi-lingual, speaking and understanding languages of neighbouring and visiting groups. Dhurga was spoken and understood by many within the 13 tribes of the Yu in Nation. It was the dominant tongue of the Walbunga people of the Broulee region and the Brindja Yuin people of Moruya. The choir emerged as a mechanism to revitalise language through song, following a unique pedagogy established by Westpac scholar, Dr Lou Bennett AM. The community led project, supported by Dr Lou Bennett was initially funded by the National Museum of Australia and Four Winds,Bermagui. The choir has gone from strength to strength and is continually requested to perform at local and national events. In 2021 they performed at the Easter Four Winds Festival to great acclaim, and to a sold-out show at the National Museum of Australia.
Timothy Donald Japarta is a Gurindji Knowledge Holder from Kalkaringi community in the Northern Territory.
Jim Everett – puralia meenamatta. Born at Flinders Island, Tasmania in 1942. He is from the clan plangermairreenner of the Turbuna (Mt Ben Lomond) people in Tasmania. Jim left school at 14 years to start work. His working life includes 15 years at sea as a fisherman and merchant seaman, 3 years Australian Regular Army, a steeplejack, rigger, and many other skilled jobs. Jim has had over 50 years formal involvement in the Aboriginal Struggle. With a long history in government Aboriginal Affairs, and community organisations, he has travelled Australia, and overseas, visiting remote Aboriginal communities. Jim began writing poetry at an early age. He wrote his first play, We Are Survivors, in 1984, produced, directed, and acted in it. His written works include plays, short stories, and political papers. Jim has produced and been associate producer in many documentary films and a major feature film, and is published in many anthologies. Jim currently lives on Cape Barren Island writing and researching Aboriginal philosophy for a Masters degree at UTAS.
Electric Fields is a potent new music bringing together the brilliance and creativity of music producer and composer Michael Ross, with the mesmerising sensitivity of Zaachariaha Fielding – whose rare and beautiful voice has been described as ‘taking soul to the stratosphere’. These two feminine brothers create a striking and haunting merging of living traditional culture with electronic music. Co-writing music and delivering an evocative and memorable live performance experience, Electric Fields bring moments of breathtaking beauty and power to the stage. Often featuring Zaachariaha’s traditional languages of the Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara people, Electric Fields music ranges from soulful pop to epic-scale electronic works, through to intensely intimate story-songs.
Reflecting the phenomenal trajectory Electric Fields have been on since their first appearance only 3 years ago – they took out 5 significant Australian music awards within a year of their debut EP release, and were signed-up with SonyATV in their first year. They received another 4 awards in the following year, played for a massive New Year’s Eve event to an audience of 40,000, were booked to play WOMADelaide 2017, hit No1 on Radio Adelaide’s Most Played, went on high rotation on Fresh FM, and are receiving airplay on Triple J.
Electric Fields recent sublime version of Kev Carmody and Paul Kelly’s 1990 land rights anthem ‘From Little Things, Big Things Grow’, has reinvigorated this testament to self-determination through historical and contemporary First Nations languages, profoundly voiced by Lingiari and Zaachariaha.
Buddy Freeman is a Wiradjuri Elder from Brungle Aboriginal Reserve at the Northern foothills of Kosciuszko National Park.
Dean Freeman is a Wiradjuri man from Brungle Aboriginal Reserve at the Northern foothills of Kosciuszko National Park. His parents Buddy and Phyllis are also Wiradjuri. He works for ACT Parks and Conservation as Aboriginal Fire Management Officer. For twenty years, he has worked in cultural heritage with NSW National Parks (Tumut) and now ACT Parks, where he leads the cultural burning program. He enjoys locating and protecting cultural sites as an Aboriginal man, as well as fighting fires on Country as part of his cultural obligations to his family. His links with the ACT Aboriginal community are through his father. Through this knowledge, he is able to pass on information to the community, but most importantly, he can receive cultural knowledge from the Elders, and pass on as appropriate. During bushfires, he has helped locate and protect unrecorded sites that remain unrecorded. In 2021 Dean received an ACT NAIDOC Week Caring for Country Award for his twenty five years dedication tending to his traditional lands and for his work as a Murrumbung Ranger. Also in 2021 Dean was awarded the Culture on Country Award at the Brungle NAIDOC Ball. Dean is a key partner and advisor on Murrudha: Sovereign Walks.
I am a Wiradjuri man from Brungle Aboriginal Reserve, located at the Northern foothills of Kosciuzcko National Park, New South Wales. Both my parents are also Wiradjuri. I have been involved in the protection of Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal Cultural Heritage sites both on and off various NSW Parks estates. Locating cultural sites and implementing strategic protection methods is something I enjoy as an Aboriginal man as well as fighting fires on “Country” which is part of my cultural obligations to my family.
I have links to the ACT Aboriginal community through my father, and through this knowledge I am able to pass on information to the community, but most importantly I am able to receive cultural knowledge from Elders. I can then pass on this knowledge to others as appropriate and have assisted to locate sites that have not been recorded on any database, therefore giving them the proper protection measures they need. I have also escorted ‘dozers in the construction of control lines during wildfires in Kosciuszko National Park in New South Wales, and Namadji National Park in the ACT, due to my expertise in locating Aboriginal Cultural Sites within the landscape.
I have also used predictive modelling to locate and record, manage and interpret Aboriginal sites to ensure their protection. I have an extensive background with identifying Aboriginal-modified trees (scar trees) throughout the landscape at risk from fire activities. This has allowed me to implement protection measures, for example, the limited use of retardants near rock surfaces for the survival of Aboriginal rock art and stone arrangements, including the clearing of fine fuels from the base of Modified Trees. I am currently advising and contributing to the first Indigenous Fire Management Framework for the ACT which will be aligned with local Aboriginal community aspirations and the National Bush Fire Council initiatives.” – Dean Freeman
Phyllis Freeman is a Wiradjuri Elder from Brungle Aboriginal Reserve at the Northern foothills of Kosciuszko National Park.
Kerry Gibbs was 14 years old when he travelled with Brian Manning, Dexter Daniels and Robert Tudawali in Manning’s 1960s Bedford TJ Series truck, taking supplies to the Gurindji strikers. Kerry’s parents George and Moira established the Northern Territory Council for Aboriginal Rights (NTCAR) with Manning in 1961. NTCAR played a major role in supporting the Walk-Off. Gibbs and Manning were brothers-in-law and remained lifelong comrades. After Manning’s death, Gibbs was made custodian of the iconic Bedford truck, which he donated to the National Museum of Australia in 2016.
Brenda Gifford is a First Nations, Yuin woman originally from the Wreck Bay area. Her country, community and culture are the basis of her arts practice. She is a contemporary classical composer and creates music for ensembles, orchestras, choirs, dance and theatre performances, and festivals. She works collaboratively and is a classically trained saxophonist and pianist. Her music has been performed at venues such as the Sydney Opera House and internationally, and is available through ABC Classical & Jazz Music. As a composer and classically trained saxophonist and pianist Brenda has performed solo and with other jazz, classical and rock musicians at a wide variety of Australian and international venues. This includes the Bart Willoughby Band, the Kevin Hunt Trio, Black Arm Band, events and concerts such as the Byron Bay Blues Festival, Enlighten, Yabun and NAIDOC Weekevents. In 1980–90, as a saxophonist and member of the band Mixed Relations (Bart Willoughby), Brenda toured extensively through Aboriginal communities, Australian cities and towns, NZ and the Pacific Islands, USA, Europe and Hong Kong.
Original commissioned compositions (recent) include:
2022 – Moriyawa/Whale Melbourne International Jazz Festival / Australian Art Orchestra; Dundun/Firestick, ABC Jazz NAIDOC, Sandy Evans group, ABC Best of Jazz 22 Album;
2021 – ‘Minga Bagan (Mother Earth)’, Cycles Concert, Sydney Chamber Choir, Sydney Festival; Yawa, (Talk)’, developed as part of Brenda’s Ensemble Offspring Inaugural First Nations Composer in Residence;
2020 – Djiribawal. including ‘Bagan’, ‘Miriwa’, ‘Ngadjung’ and ‘Ganji’ for the Australian Art Orchestra and the 2021 Canberra International Music Festival; ‘Wagan (Crow)’ with Wiradjuri dancer, Joel Bray for the Sydney Dance Company; Sydney Symphony Orchestra 50 Fanfares project;
2019 – ‘Mungala (Clouds)’ performed by Prof. Claire Chase, National Sawdust Season, New York, CWP;
2018 – ‘Gamabambarawaraga (Seasons)’ redeveloped with ‘Rompy Stompy Crab,; ‘Plover Bird’, and ‘Ghadu (Sea)’ for Music for the Dreaming album for CD, podcast and concert series, Sydney Opera House with Ensemble Offspring, ABC KIDS Listen and ABC Classic Music. Nominated for an ARIA in 2019; ‘Gamabambarawaraga (Seasons)’ suite for the Canberra International Music Festival. The world premiere performance of the work opened the festival in 2018. The suite includes ‘Bardju (Footprints)’, ‘Galaa (Summer)’; ‘Dhugarwara (Winter)’; ‘Gambambara (Spring)’; ‘Dhawara (Moon)’, which have all been recorded and released as separate pieces.
Music residencies and music programs (recent):
2022 – Peggy Glanville Hicks Residency;
2020-21 – Masters in Composition with Professor Liza Lim, Women in Composition Program, Sydney Conservatorium of Music; Ensemble Offspring Inaugural First Nations Composer in Residence. Brenda worked and toured with the ensemble’s virtuosic instrumentalists and is created a new commissioned work to be premiered by Ensemble Offspring in 2021;
2019 – Bundanoon Trust First Peoples Residency, NSW;
2017-18 – Participant, Ngarra-burria: First Peoples Composers program with Christopher Sainsbury, through the Australian National University, Australian Music Centre, Moogahlin Performing Arts and Eora College.
Aidan Hartshorn is a Walgalu man of the Ngurmal Nation, situated in the foothills of the Snowy Mountains region in New South Wales. Aidan was raised by his parents who are both of colonial and Indigenous decent. Aidan is the Wesfarmers Indigenous Assistant Curator at the National Gallery of Australia and a Research Assistant on Murrudha: Sovereign Walks – tracking cultural actions through art, Country, language and music. In 2016 he enrolled in the Australian National University School of Art and Design, joining the sculpture department, where he found a passion for crafting objects that were tied to his dual cultural background and other interests. Since completing his undergraduate degree in 2019 – the first in his family to do so – gaining a Bachelor of Visual Arts majoring in Sculpting. Aidan is currently a Research Assistant on Murrudha: Sovereign Walks and Associate Lecturer, Contemporary Art, ANU School of Art & Design. He is also a practicing artist, undertaking creative-led research towards his MPhil at ANU.
Shane Herrington is a proud First Nations Wolgalu/Wiradjuri man from the Brungle and Tumut valley. I have worked with National Parks Tumut for 15 years on Country delivering cultural education in my role as Aboriginal Discovery Ranger. My dedication has been driven by the knowledge and vision passed on to me by my community, elders and family. I am dedicated and passionate about preserving and protecting my culture and passing on my knowledge through hands on learning and practical experiences, teaching men from around the Riverina how to make traditional bark canoe’s is just one component of knowledge shared with First Nations People. Protecting my culture by sharing my knowledge to ensure its ingrained into the minds of the next generation of first Nations knowledge holders and teachers. Sharing my family stories and wisdom is heightened when delivered on my people’s country. Shane is a key partner and advisor on Murrudha: Sovereign Walks.
Leah House is a Ngambri-Ngunnawal woman who acknowledges her ancestors in the ACT and surrounding regions. Having grown up in her community, Leah draws on her childhood and lived experiences to guide her. Leah began her career helping Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people access education and strengthen their cultural identities. In 2018, Leah was awarded ACT Public Education Volunteer of the Year for her contribution to Namadgi School and ACT public education.
Journeying into the community legal sector, Leah supported Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women engaged with the legal system and helped women at Alexander Maconochie Centre reintegrate into the community. As a member of the ACT Domestic Violence Prevention Council’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Reference Group, Leah works closely with the community and government to address domestic and family violence.
Now an Aboriginal Victims Liaison Officer at the ACT Human Rights Commission, Leah works with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander men, women and children who have been victims of crimes. As a proud advocate and dedicated supporter of the Aboriginal Tent Embassy, Leah would like to see the Elected Body become more grassroots. To her this means more community voices at the table with local government.
Paul Girrawah House JP is a Ngambri-Ngunnawal custodian with multiple local Aboriginal ancestries from the Canberra region, however identifies as a descendant of Ngambri – Walgulu man Henry ‘Black Harry’ Williams and Ngunnawal – Wallaballoa man ‘Murjinille’ aka William Lane (‘Billy the Bull’), including Wiradjuri ancestries. Mr House began his public service career in the Commonwealth Department of Aboriginal Affairs, and has since occupied various positions across both New South Wales and Commonwealth public sector agencies. Paul is a passionate advocate for Ngambri community and is a key advisor and partner on Murrudha: Sovereign Walks, selecting the language term to lead the project. Paul is Senior Community Engagement Officer, Office of the Vice President, First Nations Portfolio, ANU.
Dr Aunty Matilda (Williams) House was born in 1945 on Erambie Aboriginal Reserve, Cowra NSW, and raised at Hollywood Aboriginal Reserve, Yass. Matilda is a proud Ngambri-Ngunnawal woman who has a long and respected association with the ANU, acknowledged with an Honorary Doctorate in 2017. She was instrumental in establishing the Tjabal Indigenous Higher Education Centre in association with the Indigenous students on campus in 1989. Matilda’s ties with the ANU have been an extension of her determined pursuit of social justice for Indigenous people in the wider community. She was a tireless supporter of the Aboriginal Tent Embassy when it was established in 1972, helped to establish the Aboriginal Legal Service in Queanbeyan in the 1980s and has served as a member of the Aboriginal Justice Advisory Committee. Matilda established and is now Chair of the Ngambri Local Aboriginal Land Council, and is a member of many Canberra and Queanbeyan Indigenous committees and organisations. She has been a key supporter and partner on Murrudha: Sovereign Walks, especially championing the 1873 walk from Queanbeyan to Cooma by First Nations Elder, Nellie Hamilton.
Dale Robert Huddleston is a renowned singer, songwriter and artist. He is a draw card at events and festivals. As a “jack of all trades” he curates and gathers First Nations performers and artists, hosts artistic workshops and is a stand-out musician in his own right. Dale won’t tell you himself, but he has supported the likes of Jessica Maubouy, Troy Cassar Daley, Casey Donovan, Archie Roach, Yothu Yindi, Jimmy Little, Blue King Brown, Russell Morris, Shane Howard & Goanna.
When you hear the smooth country-rock tones of Dale, it won’t surprise you to know he is a returning performer at the Tamworth Music Festival. He will, however, leave you wondering why an agent from Nashville hasn’t yet poached him from the Australian music scene! That is, until you hear the love of his country in the title track from one of his albums ‘Home is where the heart is’. An upbeat track, with ethereal tones of the solo electric guitar and a stirring anthem about the call of country.
Dale writes a blend of songs about Aboriginal culture and a connection to land, people and family. He is a gifted musician, and plays the guitar and the didgeridoo. He has released five albums. His most recent album, ‘Simple Things’, is a stand out collection of lyrics and music composed by Dale. The title track, a heart-warming song about his daughter, is a classic country music ballad.
His artwork has featured on the shirts of Super Rugby Club, the ACT Brumbies, at the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games, the National Museum of Australia and his murals are a talking point around the Canberra region. As an artist, Dale paints on canvas, bark, buildings and does elaborate woodcarvings and designs. You can find his paintings displayed at Burrunju Aboriginal Gallery and his other creations are available on this site.
On top of all this, Dale is a prominent figure in community. He uses his talent to teach young people art and music as part of his work with Aboriginal youth corporation, Gugan Gulwan. He has been supporting events and emerging and established artists and musicians in the local Koori community for decades. Dale has cultural ties to the Mara/Ngandi/Ritharrngu language groups in the Roper River region of East Arnhem Land, NT, through his father. He has cultural ties with the Wiradjuri people and the Talbragar people, NSW, through his mother. Dale is also a former Rugby star.
Will Kepa is a proud Iamalaig man from the Kulkalgau Clan of Iama (Yam Island) and the Kulkalgal Nation of Central Zenadth Kes (Torres Strait Islands). A multi-instrumentalist, session musician, music producer and sound engineer, is currently studying a Bachelor of Music – Composition for Film and Video Games. He has spent his career recording and producing more than twenty albums of traditional, sacred, and secular music from remote Indigenous communities throughout Cape York and the Torres Strait Islands – in addition to countless mainstream contemporary recording projects; written jingles for T.V. and Radio, score and design film music; toured abroad with national and international performing artists, and also maintains a parallel career in the live Audio-Visual industry. He established and is currently leading Yil Lull Studio at the ANU School of Music while carrying out his part-time study commitments.
Leah Leaman Yinpingali Namija is a Gurindji artist who was born in 1971, making her among the younger member artists of Karungkarni Art and Culture Aboriginal Corporation. Having grown up with her family at Daguragu, Leah is particularly close to her aunt Serena Donald, and together they previously worked for the Central Land Council’s Murnkurrumurnkurru Rangers. Both women are active members of the Kalkaringi Church. She has worked closely with her grandmother Violet Wadrill Nanaku to learn about bush medicine, and Leah’s highly sought after artworks often reference bush plants. She also works as a translator and transcriber and is fluent in several Aboriginal languages of the Northern Territory.
Professor Felicity Meakins is Deputy Director of the UQ Node of the ARC Centre of Excellence for the Dynamics of Language. She is a Fellow in the Academy for Social Sciences Australia (ASSA), and is a field linguist who specialises in the documentation of Australian Indigenous languages in the Victoria River District, Northern Territory, and the effect of English on Indigenous languages. In her capacity as a community linguist and academic, Felicity has facilitated language revitalisation programs, consulted on Native Title claims, and conducted research into Indigenous languages for over the 16 years. She has compiled grammars, ethnobiologies, bilingual text collections, and dictionaries of traditional Indigenous languages and has written numerous papers on language change in Australia.
Dr Hannah Middleton was born in England in 1942. She graduated from London University in 1964 with a degree in African Studies. From 1970 to 1971, she lived at Daguragu with the Gurindji and completed her PhD on the Aboriginal land-rights campaign. After teaching at the University of New South Wales, she edited the newspaper of the Communist Party of Australia (CPA) and later became CPA General Secretary. A longtime peace activist, Hannah has written on Indigenous issues and the environment, including But now we want the land back (Sydney: New Age Publishers, 1977).
Monica Morgan is a Yorta Yorta woman and Chief Executive Officer of Yorta Yorta Nation Aboriginal Corporation (YYNAC). Yorta Yorta country surrounds Dhungala (the Murray River), roughly from Albury-Wodonga in the East to Cohuna in the West, and Kaiela (the Goulburn River) to the south beyond Shepparton. Monica has been an activist for over fifty years, fighting for the self-determination of her people and to protect Country from threats ranging from logging and poor river management to climate change. She has been a key figure in the establishment of many Aboriginal organisations including the Yorta Yorta Nation Aboriginal Corporation and successful campaigns such as the creation of the Barmah-Millewa National Parks.
Justin Paddy Japarta is a Gurindji Knowledge Holder from Kalkaringi community in the Northern Territory.
Dr Lois Peeler AM is of Yorta Yorta and Wiradjuri heritage by her mother and Wurundjeri Heritage by her father. She is the Executive Director and Principal of Worawa Aboriginal College. Lois’ up-bringing included family life on the Cummeragunja Aboriginal Reserve and the river flats of Mooroopna where activism for improved conditions for Aboriginal people was deeply embedded. She grew up surrounded by strong men and women who, based on their lived experience, led the fight for equal rights for Aboriginal people to education, healthcare, housing, legal services and social justice.
Lois has had a diverse career in the music industry, public service, community development, social activism, tourism, community development and Aboriginal education. One of the original members of The Sapphires, an all-girl singing group from the 1960s, she is also acknowledged as Australia’s first Aboriginal model and TV presenter.
A dynamic contributor to Aboriginal affairs Lois has held many positions in the government, community, corporate and philanthropic sectors. Following a successful career as a fashion model, and a stint of living overseas, Lois began her career in the community sector and Victorian Public Service Board where she had responsibility for a number of staff and managed implementation of the Aboriginal Employment Strategy across the Public Service.
After the VPS, Lois was elected Chair of the Binjirru Regional Council of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission (ATSIC), for the eastern region from Wodonga to Cann River in Gippsland, held for three consecutive terms. She was a Director of the Indigenous Land Corporation, Land Enterprise Australia and Parks Victoria Board member. She has held numerous esteemed positions throughout her working life.
In 2014 she was made a Member (AM) in the General Division of the Order of Australia for service to the Indigenous community as an educator, advocate and role model. In 2017 she was Senior Victorian of the Year and awarded a Doctor of Social Science, Honoris Causa, by RMIT University. In 2020 she was inducted into the Victorian Women’s Honour Roll.
Lois is currently Chair of the Department of Justice Eastern Metropolitan Regional Aboriginal Justice Advisory Committee (RAJAC), a member of the Aboriginal Justice Caucus and statewide Aboriginal Justice Forum and Chair of the Aboriginal Independent Prison Visitors Program. Lois is a member of the Museums Victoria Aboriginal Cultural Heritage Advisory Committee. Lois was awarded the 2022 NAIDOC Female Elder Award.
Lois has a strong commitment to the education and preservation of Victorian Aboriginal history and culture. She has delivered an annual Oration for both the University of Melbourne (2020) and Swinburne University (2020) where her respective topics were on Aboriginal Oral History and Enduring Legacies.
In her current role as Principal of Victoria’s only Aboriginal school Lois has established a Dreaming Trail, History Walk and in collaboration with the Parliament of Victoria, has developed education resources on Aboriginal Change Makers for Victorian schools. She is currently involved in the development of an Aboriginal Resource Centre and Professional Learning Institute on College grounds. The Keeping Place will focus on the preservation and protection of culture through maintaining a repository for archival material, artefacts and cultural story providing ongoing connections for Aboriginal people affected by government removal policy, the education of Aboriginal youth and the broader community.
Bronwyn Penrith is a widely respected Aboriginal Woman who has had a lifelong commitment and engagement with her Community. She holds Family responsibilities of Mother, Grandmother and Great Grandmother earning the role of “Ngyina/ Stand Between”.
Bronwyn has worked in the Private Sector as Consultant and Facilitator. Holding memberships on many Boards and represented the community on Local, State and National Advisory Committees including providing advice to the Minister for Women NSW and to COAG as the NSW representative on National Aboriginal & Torres Strait Women Alliance.
Bronwyn’s strength lies in Community and Family Mediation and Facilitation, Mentoring in Diversity and Project Management. Bronwyn is a part of the Leadership group for “Building Better Lives for Ourselves.”
In 2017 Bronwyn led the “Making of a Possum Skin Cloak” at Mudgin-gal Women Centre made by local community Aboriginal Women in Inner-city in 200 years and was instrumental in initiating the #100 Women Dancing at Redfern Park at NAIDOC 2019. Bronwyn is the Keeper of her Family’s Stories and is on a journey of Reclaiming Culture, through language, and Cultural Practice.
Sonia Piper is a Wiradjuri Elder from Brungle Aboriginal Community and Tumut, and is Chairperson of Brungle Aboriginal Health Service.
Dr Jamie Pittock (BSc, Monash; PhD, ANU) is Professor in the Fenner School of Environment and Society at The Australian National University. His research from 2007 has focussed on better governance of the interlinked issues of water management, energy and food supply, responding to climate change and conserving biological diversity. Jamie directs research programs on irrigation in Africa, hydropower and food production in the Mekong region, and more sustainable and equitable water management in the Murray-Darling Basin. He is a member of the Wentworth Group of Concerned Scientists and is a scientific adviser to WWF in Australia. Jamie is a member of the Murrudha: Sovereign Walks – tracking cultural actions through art, Country, language and music project research team.
Dr Lyn Riddett. Born in Sydney in 1941, lives in Canberra. Anglo-Celt – predominantly Celt. Cultural heritage: still developing. Educated: Catholic schools in Sydney; various universities: University of Sydney, Van Leer Project (Uni of Sydney), Murdoch Uni, James Cook Uni, ANU. Daguragu, Northern Territory life and work: Catholic primary schools in Sydney; Daguragu; Argyle Arts Centre Sydney; Regional Councils for Social Development in Eastern Goldfields (WA) and Darwin (NT); Bullo River Station NT; Darwin Community College/Darwin Institute of Technology/Northern Territory University (in Katherine NT and Darwin NT); University of Northern British Columbia (Prince George BC Canada); Chittagong Bangladesh. Current preoccupations: family; friends; the Referendum for the VOICE; refugee and asylum seeker matters; writing “reflections on being 81 years old”. Current aspirations: to join my family for Xmas 2022 (first time since 2019); to live to see my great-grandson born in 2023 (he will #3); to see the VOICE + Treaty+ Truth implemented fully; to see a just and humane immigration system (been waiting a long time for that).
Maurie Ryan Japarta was born in 1948 at Jinparrak (Old Wave Hill Station) to Gurindji woman Mary Dundaro and Irishman Patrick Ryan. In 1952, Maurie was removed from his family and community and taken to homes in Darwin, then Croker Island, not seeing his mother again until he was 24. A steadfast advocate of Aboriginal rights, he stood for the seat of Stuart for the Australian Democrats in 1981 and founded the First Nations Political Party in 2011. He has worked with numerous Aboriginal organisations, including Kalkaringi Education Council (Chair), Kalkaringi Community Council, Central Land Council (Chairman) and NT Stolen Generations Aboriginal Corporation (Chair).
Penny Smith has over 35 years experience in the arts industry. She is currently employed by Karungkarni Art and Culture Aboriginal Corporation as Art Centre Manager (2011-2022) for the Gurindji artists of Kalkaringi and Daguragu in remote Northern Territory. Her previous work includes management of the Visual Arts Program for events organised by the Queensland Folk Federation, including the Woodford Folk Festival and The Dreaming: Australia’s Indigenous Festival. She has extensive experience in arts project management; public art; community arts workshop facilitation and her personal multi-disciplinary arts practice. She specialises in unique, dynamic and ecologically sustainable arts projects, which draw on themes of intercultural dialogue and ecologically sustainability.
Iris White & Cheryl Davison, with Djinama Yilaga: Iris White is a Dhurga/Monaro/Ngarigo Elder and activist, and Chair of the Southern Kosciusko Aboriginal Working Group. The Djinama Yilaga Choir is an intergenerational Yuin choir, establish in 2019 and led by renowned Walbunga/Ngarigo artist, Cheryl Davison. Djinama Yilaga perform songs in Dhurga language. Yuin people were often multi-lingual, speaking and understanding languages of neighbouring and visiting groups. Dhurga was spoken and understood by many within the 13 tribes of the Yu in Nation. It was the dominant tongue of the Walbunga people of the Broulee region and the Brindja Yuin people of Moruya. The choir emerged as a mechanism to revitalise language through song, following a unique pedagogy established by Westpac scholar, Dr Lou Bennett AM. The community led project, supported by Dr Lou Bennett was initially funded by the National Museum of Australia and Four Winds,Bermagui. The choir has gone from strength to strength and is continually requested to perform at local and national events. In 2021 they performed at the Easter Four Winds Festival to great acclaim, and to a sold-out show at the National Museum of Australia.