Barray marrung duumu


Exhibition dates: 27 May - 10 July 

Barray marrung duumu

Keep Country well 

This small exhibition gives an insight into the strength and resilience of the custodians of the land we live and work on, the Biripi and Worimi people.

This community continues to be deeply involved in what has been called the ‘cultural renaissance’ in the south-east of Australia – a groundswell of interest in and revival in Aboriginal cultural practices such as the creation of canoes, weapons, tools and weaving baskets, speaking language, performing ceremonies and caring for Country.

As Wiradjuri/Kamilaroi artist Jonathan Jones has observed – “this region is commonly recognised as ground zero within Aboriginal colonial history, Kooris are dogged with stale one-liners about the loss of culture. Culture was damaged but not destroyed. Our fires have not gone out, they are still burning – sometimes just embers mixed with memories but with the guidance of our elders and the enthusiasm of many, the fires are being stoked and the south-east is alight.”

The works and stories presented captures this deep connection to Country, and the passion for community members to share this knowledge. 

Yalawanyi Ganya

The work of two talented Biripi artists which feature prominently in MidCoast Council’s new administration and customer service centre, are now part of the Council collection. 

Brittany's work Living As One on Biripi Country, and Raechel's Connected both tell a story of connection to culture and the land on which the MidCoast community resides.

Graphic elements drawn from Brittany and Raechel's work are used within the building in a number of ways, including: glazing graphics on glass meeting room walls, designs on noticeboards and glazing decals on some entry doors.

Always Was Always Will Be

Gathang is the language of the people known as the Birrbay, Warrimay and Guringay. For this community - like many others - the revival of language helped to ignite a deeper connection to the land, speak what was forbidden and strengthen the focus of many.

In 2010 ‘A grammar and dictionary of Gathang – The language of the Birrbay, Guringay and Warrimay’ was published by linguist Amanda Lissarrague through the Muurrbay Aboriginal Language & Cultural Co-operative. To find out more or to purchase a copy go to

Saltwater Freshwater weavings

Just after the devastating fires of 2019 our community was able to come together and connect at the Manning Regional Art Gallery. Community members used the safe and cool space of the Gallery to share stories, have a cuppa, debrief and weave stories of the area with Aboriginal weavers and Elders as part of the Saltwater Freshwater Aboriginal Art Award and Cultural Object Touring exhibition. The resulting works are stunning examples of Aboriginal cultural practice, which can be shared with all.  

Nation Dance

On Sunday December 1 2019, Indigenous people all over Australia dance together on country, at the same time, in ceremony and healing, welcoming “non-Aboriginal people to come, sit, watch and learn”, to quote Aunty Trish Levett.[i]

At Saltwater Reserve the Biripi people welcomed over 250 Aboriginal Dancers to participate in this special event. The scared dance grounds where prepared and dancers from other nations where also invited to come and perform. More than 500 community members both Aboriginal and Non-Aboriginal watched the spectacular performance.

Excerpt from the exhibition and publication PACKED LOST FOUND, a visual and written documentation process exploring people’s experiences in the bushfires that devastated the MidCoast region and beyond. The project was made possible by the Australian Government’s Regional Arts Fund, provided through Regional Arts Australia, and in NSW through Regional Arts NSW, and proudly supported by MidCoast Council. At the Manning Regional Art Gallery until 14 February 2021.

Writer: Tessa Kerbel and Photographer: Julie Slavin


Rain healing

When we were in crisis, I was just waiting for the crisis to end. I didn’t realise that things wouldn’t go back to normal afterwards. All around me, friends are hurting. I spent the rest of November having nightmares, walking around in a fire daze, not knowing what to do for them or for myself. First Nations People did.

[i] Nation Dance, Facebook, December 1, 2019,