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DISPLAYING POSTS BY: John Patten (3)

Sorry Day 2013

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by John Patten
Publish date
4 June 2013
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John Patten is a Bundjalung / Yorta Yorta man on his father's side, and a descendant of First Fleet convicts via his mother. An educator and artist, he takes great joy in sharing knowledge with visitors to Bunjilaka Aboriginal Cultural Centre.

On Sunday May 26, Bunjilaka Aboriginal Cultural Centre partnered with Connecting Home to host an event for National Sorry Day. A time for reflection and healing, National Sorry Day pays tribute to the courage and vitality of the many Aboriginal people affected by past policies of forced removal. The day also serves to highlight the work that organisations such as Connecting Home are doing in the service of members of the Stolen Generations, and those similarly affected.

group of people Crowd at the Sorry Day event
Image: John Patten
Source: Museum Victoria

The afternoon kicked off with Bunjilaka’s Birrarung gallery being filled by the sounds of William Wandin-Dow’s didgeridoo, followed soon thereafter by a large and attentive crowd, who via MC Bryan Andy were given an appreciation for the significance of Sorry Day.

dancers Seven Sisters dance group
Image: John Patten
Source: Museum Victoria

A welcome to Country was performed by Kulin Nation elders Aunty Carolyn Briggs (Boon Wurrung), and Aunty Di Kerr (Woi Wurrung). They spoke of the day and its personal significance to each of them before a warm round of applause and the entrance to the gallery of the Seven Sisters dance troupe, who wowed the crowd with a tightly choreographed and evocative performance.

woman Alice Solomon
Image: John Patten
Source: Museum Victoria

The two key speakers for the afternoon then took their turns to speak to the crowd. The first to share her story was Zoe Upton, followed then by Alice Solomon. Both speakers were moving in what they had to say, and their heartfelt words remained in the crowd’s consciousness during the final performance of the afternoon, a clutch of songs sung beautifully and with great humour by the Koorie Skin Choir. 

Links:

Connecting Home

Reconciliation Australia

Recognise

MV Blog: National Sorry Day

MV Blog: Reconciliation Week 2012

Waa and the Seven Sisters

Author
by John Patten
Publish date
11 January 2013
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John Patten is a Bundjalung / Yorta Yorta man on his father's side, and a descendant of First Fleet convicts via his mother. An educator and artist, he takes great joy in sharing knowledge with visitors to Bunjilaka Aboriginal Cultural Centre.

This summer Bunjilaka Aboriginal Cultural Centre at Melbourne Museum presents a follow-up to our successful Tiddalik the Thirsty Frog theatre show, with a local Kulin creation story – Waa and the Seven Sisters.

  woman in wig Nikki Ashby performing as the Seventh Sister.
Source: Museum Victoria
 

The story tells how the Kulin peoples (the traditional owners of Melbourne and surrounding areas) were given the secret of fire by their creator, Bunjil, who often takes the form of an eagle. The story focuses on how the gift of fire was given to seven old women, who instead of sharing with the rest of the Kulin decided to keep fire for themselves. Thus, the Kulin's protector Waa (the Crow) conjured a plan to ensure the secret of fire is shared with everyone.

Woman in bird costume Uraine Mastrosavas performing as Waa the Crow.
Source: Museum Victoria

The show's cast this year are Uraine Mastrosavas, who we are very pleased to have back with us, after having been part of last year's Tiddalik the Thirsty Frog shows, and Nikki Ashby, an actor, dancer and choreographer. The show is directed by Michael Camilleri.

Theatre set with purple lights A dramatic moment on the set of Waa and the Seven Sisters.
Source: Museum Victoria
 

Audiences are a major part of the show, making up part of the cast and interacting with the performers both on and off stage. There is plenty of music, singing, laughing and dancing.

boy in bird mask A young member of the audience performing as Jert-Jert.
Source: Museum Victoria
 

Bunjilaka Aboriginal Cultural Centre also has a free summer activity running in the Birrarung gallery where children and their families can make and colour in their own Bunjil the Wedge-tailed Eagle glider, decorated with traditional Victorian Koorie art motifs, to take home.

Waa and the Seven Sisters runs until 28 January at 11:00 AM, noon and 1:00pm, every day except Saturdays. Adults $10, children $5, MV Members receive discount admission.

Links:

What's On: Waa and the Seven Sisters 

Melbourne Museum School Holiday Program

First Peoples' Cultural Workshops

Author
by John Patten
Publish date
20 September 2012
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John Patten is a Bundjalung / Yorta Yorta man on his father's side, and a descendant of First Fleet convicts via his mother. An educator and artist, he takes great joy in sharing knowledge with visitors to Bunjilaka Aboriginal Cultural Centre.

In preparation for an upcoming series of cultural workshops to be held at Bunjilaka Aboriginal Cultural Centre at Melbourne Museum, I recently ventured into the field with John Duggan to collect a range of materials required to run the workshops.

Man on a beach John Duggan searching the beach for suitable rocks.
Image: John Patten
Source: Museum Victoria
 

John is a Gamilaroi man and the Assistant Collections Manager for Australian Collections in MV's Humanities Department. Together we travelled to south western Victoria to collect flint for making traditional stone knapped spear points and blades, Pomaderris shafts for the production of spears, Xanthorrhoea (Grass Tree) resin for making a traditional glue, and several varieties of timber for carving traditional tools and weapons, including shields, digging sticks, clubs and boomerangs.

John Patten with rocks John Patten selecting beach rocks for the workshops
Image: John Duggan
Source: Museum Victoria
 

Man holding rock John Duggan selecting rocks suitable for making traditional knapped spear points and blades.
Image: John Patten
Source: Museum Victoria
 

During our journey we encountered a wide variety of flora and fauna, ranging from herds of emus and large mobs of kangaroos, to wombats and echidna. We also facilitated a special intervention, where John Duggan removed a dozen or more bush ticks from the body of a Shingleback lizard. Traditional food and medicinal plants that we encountered included Pig Face, Kangaroo Apple, Salt Bush and Red Fruit Saw Sedge.

wombat A baby wombat among bracken encountered during the trip.
Image: John Patten
Source: Museum Victoria
 

Stars in the night sky The night sky above south western Victoria during the trip.
Image: John Patten
Source: Museum Victoria
 

The First Peoples' Cultural Workshops, which will become a regular part of Bunjilaka's programming, are part of an aim to build a central knowledge base for Koorie artists, to equip them with the necessary resources to pass along a range of traditional skills and knowledge to their own communities across Victoria and beyond.

The first workshop will be delivered by John Duggan, who is acknowledged as a skilled artist and creator of traditional stone tools.

Stone Knapping Workshop
Bunjilaka Aboriginal Cultural Centre
Friday 5 October, 10:30am – 3:00pm
For further information or to book your place in the Cultural Workshop series, please contact John Patten on 03 8341 7352

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Updates on what's happening at Melbourne Museum, the Immigration Museum, Scienceworks, the Royal Exhibition Building, and beyond.

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