HAPPENINGS ON GUNGGARI DANDHI
Welcome to this edition of our newsletter. Read on to find out what’s been happening on your Country.
We’ve had our fair share and more of rain this summer and autumn, and
Gunggari Country is looking magnificent! All this rain has filled up the waterways, brought back the native grasses and generally made us all happy.
Community Possum Cloak Workshops
Over the last 12 months, Gunggari people have been working on a community possum cloak. The project under “Art of the Skins” was funded by the Indigenous Research Unit, Griffith University and facilitated by Dr Carol McGregor (Wadawurrung). Carol’s research showed that mobs from Western Queensland had a rich tradition of possum cloak making and decorating and she offered to show us how to create a community cloak of our own.
After community discussion and consultation with local Elders, it was decided that the project could go ahead. Workshops were held in January and November last year. The cloak was stitched together with a number of possum skins purchased from a company in New Zealand. You may not know this, but, though the possum is a protected animal in Australia, in New Zealand it is considered a pest animal. Possums were exported to New Zealand last century and, not being native to the country, they’ve had and still are having a detrimental effect on the biodiversity of New Zealand’s natural fauna and flora.
ABC Southern Queensland took an interest in the project and filed this story: Possum skin cloak making workshop to revive culture. Here is the link to the story and below are some pictures of how the cloak looks so far: https://www.abc.net.au/radio/southqld/programs/saturday-breakfast/possum-cloak/13652050
The community cloak is held at the Yumba and Gunggari families are invited to contribute to the cloak with your artwork and family story. There is a skin on the cloak for each known Gunggari family group and spares skins as well.
Workshop participants working on the cloak’s design
Tracing the path of the Maranoa River and other waterways on to the possum cloak