Tag Archives: wonguim wilam

Public art to be installed at wonguim wilam

WORKS WILL soon commence in wonguim wilam as Manningham Council prepares to install a gathering circle and an entrance sculpture between now and December 2023.
Council says when people visit a significant site, such as wonguim wilam on the Birrarung (Yarra River) in Warrandyte, they will apply their own meaning to the place, depending on their memories and experiences.
The beauty of public art is that it provides a prompt and opportunity for people to take in histories and reflect on how those stories intersect with their own.
This creates shared meaning and new connections to place.
The work comprises two parts that strongly embrace the themes of culture, community, and country, and Council has commissioned Simone Thomson, a prominent Melbourne-based fine artist, muralist and creative, and a Wurundjeri Woi Wurrung and Yorta-Yorta Traditional Owner through her mother.
Simone said her art is inspired by her “spiritual connection to Country and the rich colours and textures of the earth and sky”.
Manningham Mayor, Cr Deirdre Diamante, touched on the significance of stories to public art.

“When it comes to public art, it’s so important that we consider the works’ appearance within the context of what inspired it and the story it is telling.
“Through the Gathering Circle, Simone is extending to the whole community an open invitation to come together, connect and reflect on the incredible cultural significance of Warrandyte.
“This art is also functional and immersive, providing a special place for residents and visitors to do just that.
“The entrance sculpture which will welcome people to this special place represents a boomerang, which ties in beautifully with our place name, wonguim wilam or boomerang place,” she said.

Manningham Council conducted the commission in consultation with Wurundjeri Woi Wurrung Cultural Heritage Aboriginal Corporation.
It will be the first permanent public artwork delivered as part of Manningham Council’s Public Art Policy.
Simone said:

“In the Aboriginal way, the Gathering Circle or meeting place is a place where community comes to connect with one another, to sit down and discuss cultural business and family matters and to learn and share stories.
“This is how our oral history has been passed on for thousands of generations — by facing one another with respect and hearing our songlines and men’s and women’s business from our Elders, our knowledge holders and leaders who are our teachers.”

Simone added that the gathering circle would represent the importance of community and the preservation of cultural practices significant to the oldest continuous culture on Earth.
“It will be a place of reflection on country and offer a peaceful connection to the lands and waterways in which it sits along the beautiful Birrarung, the river of mist and shadows.”
Stage 1 of the works will be the installation of the gathering circle.
The gathering circle takes advantage of sightline across to the Birrarung and will be three metres in diameter to invite the community to come together.
Edged by stone seating, the gathering circle is organic in form and features Simone’s intricate design in stone and paint, mirroring the natural palette of the surrounding environment and reflecting on themes of country, culture, and community.
Works will include:

  • The designed gathering circle will be paved and approximately three metres in diameter.
  • It will have stone boulder seats around the edge of the circle and incorporate Aboriginal symbols to reference people gathering around the meeting place representing the Warrandyte community.
  • The colours will be neutral and ochre-toned pebbles, rust-red oxide mortar mix, patterned concrete and random stone slate mosaic to fit harmoniously with the natural environment and tones of the site.

Stage 1 is expected to be completed by September.
Stage 2 will be the installation of a sculpture situated at the park entrance and standing tall from hand-carved cedar pine; the boomerang sculpture will welcome all visitors to wonguim wilam while also acting as an invitation to return as visitors depart.
Works will include:

  • The horizontal boomerang sculpture will be 4.9m wide x 2.95m high, laminated and carved from cypress pine timber.
  • It will be positioned at the entry of the parking area, amongst vegetation with high visibility from Yarra Street.
  • The carved design will be painted and stained in the grooves to create contrast against the stained timber.
  • The artwork will complement the natural surroundings.

Works on Stage 2 are expected to take place between September and December.
Manningham Council notes the specifications are subject to change as the public artwork will evolve to suit the landscape and the artist’s vision.

Connection in the community at wonguim wilam

Feature photo: Michelle Doran

WHAT A WONDERFUL evening in the green space of wonguim wilam with the opening of the Connection Photography Exhibition in Taffy’s Hut.
Many turned up to enjoy an evening of music, singing, and outstanding photography.
The fabulous singer Neeko, whose EP is How Deep started the evening and was followed by Ben Ackerley with Floyd on saxophone.
Councillor Carli Lange opened the exhibition, bringing the relevance of the theme to us with her beautiful words outlining different forms of connection.

“This photography exhibition reminds us of the importance of being connected to our environment and the wildlife that lives within it as well.
We see joining or being joined, the union connection.
We see influential means through whom one can become connected.
We see two or more people interacting with each other without judgment, known as nourishment connection.
We see Time Spent Connection, where connecting with someone or something doesn’t always have to include words — it’s actually about time spent in relatively close bonding.
We all know that connection matters no matter what example of connection we see.
Strong ties with family, friends and the community provide happiness, security, support, and a sense of purpose.
Being connected to others, the land and our spiritual being matters.”

The colour of the ominous-looking clouds remained a focus throughout the evening, but it turned out the weather worked perfectly in favour of the night, with the rain starting right on cue to move people quickly to the location of the dry space under the bridge, in time for the projection event.
This began with Bill McAuley’s Colours of your Soul, sung by Leslie Avril and accompanied by Ricky Ozimo.
Over 100 photos from all the talented photographers that submitted entries then appeared in the slide show, set to music by our favourite Warrandyte artists.
It really did bring people together, and the event was especially lovely in this tranquil setting, with the sound of the swollen river rushing by adding to the atmosphere.
This is the third photography exhibition in Taffy’s Hut, and many people who visit comment about how great it is to see it used for this purpose.
The current exhibition will remain until at least March next year, so if you didn’t get the chance to be at the opening, there is still plenty of time to drop in for a look.
Thanks to all who came and to those who helped make it happen.
Special thanks to Manningham Council Community Grants program.

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Wominjeka wonguim wilam

THE RAIN held off as Manningham Councillors and Officers, past and present, gathered along with State Government representatives and community members, young and old, to officially open the completed wonguim wilam park and playspace at Warrandyte.
Translated as Boomerang Place, wonguim wilam connects Warrandyte township to the river, with picnic facilities, exercise equipment, and an adventure playground.
Five years in the making, the project began with the decommissioning of the former Lions’ tennis courts for the widening of the Warrandyte Bridge in 2017.
What were some disused courts, a small picnic area and a 20-year-old playground — serviced by a rudimentary car park — has transformed into a real village green with places to walk, sit, and picnic.
There are performance and exhibition spaces and a children’s wonderland, all of which embrace Warrandyte’s indigenous heritage, arts culture, and connection to the environment.
The park was opened by Manningham Mayor Michelle Kleinert and Member for Eastern Metro, Sonja Terpstra.

“Five years it’s taken for this project to finally be open, and about two and a half million dollars has been spent here over that time,” said Cr Kleinert.

Cr Kleinert paid tribute to the Lions Club of Warrandyte, who had managed the tennis courts for almost 40 years and donated $45,000 for the fitness stations installed under the bridge.
Sadly, the Welcome to Country that was planned had to be cancelled due to the ill health of Auntie Doreen from the Wurundjeri Woi Wurrung Corporation, who was slated to attend the opening.
Cr Kleinert thanked the Woi Wurrung for their support and guidance throughout the naming process.
She said Council was honoured to receive the Excellence in Place Naming award for its naming of wonguim wilam.

“This award recognised our engagement with the community, acknowledgement of the first nations cultural heritage of the area, and a celebration of traditions and of traditional owner language,” she said.

Cr Kleinert acknowledged that the artwork used on the park’s signage was produced by First Nations artist Ash Firebrace and said Council are working with another first Nations artist to produce additional artwork, which will be installed later in the year.

“The community has also contributed to the artwork, with colourful ceramic leaves on the shelter at the bridge, and in the new playspace, the waterplay area is lined with colourful pebbles.
“These were all created at the Warrandyte Pottery Expo earlier this year, and they look absolutely brilliant,” she said.

Cr Kleinert thanked the many other contributors to the park’s development, including the State Government, Warrandyte Historical Society, DEWLP, Melbourne Water, and Landscape Architect JMAC.
Valerie Polley of the Warrandyte Historical Society told the Diary that the society was pleased to be one of the community groups consulted by Manningham Council and involved in the planning process of wonguim wilam.

“It is wonderful to see the area being very well patronised and the playground being extremely popular.
“The new historic signs display the Society’s logo in recognition of its input into the planning process and provision of information,” Ms Polley said.

Cr Kleinert also commended the passion and dedication many Council Officers had put towards the project over the past five years.

“They have worked so hard and put so much passion and love into this, and so when you use it, know that people have done it for us all, and we are going to benefit from it for years to come,” Cr Kleinert said.

Sonja Terpstra said the area has long been one of Manningham’s most popular places.

“It is a wonderful tourist destination because the river here is a beautiful spot to come and enjoy and sit by the river, but also participate more broadly in all the things this wonderful space has to offer — it’s a beautiful link between the town and the Yarra River.”

She said it had been a pleasure to work with Manningham Council on this project by way of a $300,000 parks revitalisation grant.

“We always get the best benefits when different levels of government work cooperatively together — this is an example of that — and this is what we can achieve when we work well together.
“So, I’d like to congratulate Manningham Council for working with the community to design and complete this wonderful, revitalisation space, I think that community consultation has been very successful, and as you can see, it’s a testament to what we see here today,” Ms Terpstra said.

Yarra Ward Councillor Carli Lange said the space was a truly community-designed playspace.

“This wasn’t just a project that Council said, ‘let’s do it’, we partnered with the WCA, the Warrandyte Lions Club, the Warrandyte Historical Society and the local Aboriginal Elders, and this, the design in all its stages, was a combination of all of their feedback and ideas and has become a space that really is by the community and for the community’s benefit.”

The Diary contacted Lions Club of Warrandyte for their thoughts on the development of the site and the completion of wonguim wilam, but the club could not provide comment before we went to print.

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A Woi-wurrung name for our park

THE UPGRADED park and land along the Yarra River in Warrandyte, locally known as Lions Park, will be given an official Woi-wurrung name to reflect the language, culture and heritage of the local Wurundjeri Woi-wurrung people.
Once endorsed by Council at its September meeting, the park will be officially named wonguim wilam.
Following earlier consultation with key stakeholders, Manningham Council met with the Warrandyte Lions Club and Masterplan Community Reference Group, who showed support to adopt a Woi-wurrung name for the park.
Council has worked with Aunty Doreen and the Wurundjeri Woi- wurrung Cultural Heritage Aboriginal Corporation, who has provided the park name of “wonguim wilam” [pronounced “won-goom willum”], which means “boomerang place”.
Manningham Mayor Cr Andrew Conlon said Council’s commitment to reconciliation is underpinned by respect for the rich and complex nature of the Wurundjeri Woi-wurrung culture and heritage and thanked the Warrandyte Lions Club for taking up this important opportunity in reconciliation.

“While Council has committed to creating equity, equality and building relationships, and is close to finalising our Reconciliation Action Plan, reconciliation requires a commitment from the whole community,” he said.
“The Lions Club has shown their willingness to be a community leader by supporting this name change.”

In the coming weeks the precinct will officially adopt the Woi-wurrung name approved by the Wurundjeri Woi- wurrung Cultural Heritage Aboriginal Corporation, honouring the original owners of the land.

“We would like to thank past and present members of the Warrandyte Lions Club of the last 40-plus years for maintaining the park and the tennis courts, as well as contributing $45,000 towards the latest exercise equipment,” Cr Conlon said.

Warrandyte Lions Club President David Englefield said it was an honour to look after the park and provide a much loved gathering space for the community over the last four decades.

“The Lions Club has always been looking to make a difference and improve the lives of the Warrandyte people and others in our community,” he said.
“Reconciliation is important and this is an incredible opportunity for us to work with Council and with due consultation, provide leadership in honouring First Nations communities.”

Works on the playspace upgrade are anticipated to begin early next year and completed by mid-2022.
The completed upgrade of the park will feature significant signage taking visitors on a journey through its history and the involvement of the Warrandyte Lions Club.
Manningham will continue to work with the Warrandyte Lions Club on recognising their contributions on a plaque and interpretive signage.
Manningham will continue to work with the Warrandyte Lions Club, Warrandyte Historical Society and the Warrandyte Community Association on the maintenance of the park to ensure it honours its past and present custodians.
An official naming ceremony is planned to be held when COVID restrictions allow.

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