I acknowledge my privilege in living on land stolen from the Gunaikurnai people in Metung East Gippsland; custodians for 120,000 years of respect and responsibility, care and connection to this place.

My gratitude for being welcomed by the oldest living culture in the world, holds me in obligation to learn, with permission, the humility in being one with country; to learn how to see country with my ears and hear country with my eyes, I acknowledge the Un-learning I need to do in deconstructing the colonising British and European migrant mindset I absorbed in my youth, echoing and ricocheting at every turn, every look.

Allowing silence when walking, so silence speaks, land wind water and everything speaks and is alive.

Arriving in Australia after many cultural experiences throughout Papua New Guinea in 1971, the culture shock I underwent enabled me to reassemble myself through making art at the South Australian School of Art, Adelaide. I acknowledge the power of this land is regenerating my spirit with an obligation to open to, respect and be in conversation with the land in my own backyard, down the Wallaby track or under the city!
Looking for an architect, architectural services, home design, residential alterations, residential additions or residential developments in Gippsland? Living Colour Studio is the solution.

Reflections on 2023

A line in the sand has been drawn in 2023, acknowledging the disasters and discomforts of Climate Change and Systemic Collapse while simultaneously spinning and connecting the new threads weaving into what we are learning to live into spontaneously and unpredictably.

Plenty of stabs in the dark but the signs are ever present in the small groups of committed people facing the truth of present realities we’ve seen for decades but so many of us have ignored and denied!

And I’ve been thrilled and excited throughout 2023 to work with local environmentalists and Landcarers in creating some magnificent walkways and tracks and monitoring habitats to protect and maintain our magnificent local tracks and wildlife. We’ve had fun and meals and celebrated birthdays together, while also looking into what is coming too! Working with school students at Swan Reach and Nungurner Primary Primary Schools, Lakes Entrance Secondary College, the Young Field Naturalists here in Tambo Bluff and Nungurner has compelled me to keep creating arts and citizen science activities to connect young people to country!

Koorie Engagement Support Officers Rex Solomon and Lynne Solomon Dent acknowledge Country at the Green Walls Project opening June 21 2023

Creative Community Collaboration projects such as the 2023 Junior Landcare Firewall project at Nungurner Primary School, East Gippsland is a way to embed plant identification of Fire Retardant Plants in a fire prone area. Collaborators are the Nungurner Primary School, Nungurner Landcare, including a home Visit program and ongoing Gardening group in 2024 to maintain this garden and extend student and parent knowledge of indigenous food plants and firewise plants.

Running stalls for Card- Making and Temporary Tattoos of local Endangered Species such as Long Nosed Potoroos and Swamp Wallabies and Greater Gliders at the Iceworks Markets, Lakes Entrance and at the CFA FireReady Day in Nungurner have awoken both students and adults to enjoy simple ways to paint backgrounds and stamp images of these animals to make a fabulous card every time!

Watch this video of the Bandicoot Flight Path Project with the Chain of Ponds.

Collaboration of Moonee Ponds Creek, a collaborative revegetation project carried out by Parks Victoria at Woodlands Historic Park close to the Bandicoot Breeding enclosure with students from Penleigh and Essendon Grammar School and Greenvale Secondary College. It’s a wonderful initiative and we look forward to increasing the number of bandicoots seen from the air at Melbourne Airport to be six in total in 2024!

'Bandicoots crossing the endangered grasslands of the Western Plains will be seen….from the air by passengers departing from and arriving at Melbourne Airport. Students have carried out this revegetation.’

‘Gippsland Vista’ 1800mm X 1m - a collaborative artwork with Year 8 students in Swamp Paperbark found around Lake Tyers Melaleuca Ericifolia and Melaleuca Quinquenervia with Gippsland fauna and Acrylic paint. It will be exhibited in the Australian Wood Design Exhibition at the Orbost Exhibition Centre between March and April 2024.

Working as Therapeutic Case Manager for Relationships Australia Victoria has eventuated in both the ‘Gippsland Vista’ Mural and Gum Nut necklaces made by Lakes Entrance Secondary College Student April Hood at the Koorie Engagement Support Officers Gathering at Lake Tyers Aboriginal Trust October 2023.

We wish you a Joyous Christmas Celebration with your family and friends and a creative challenging and fruitful 2024.

Catherine van Wilgenburg

Leave a Reply