ANSTO’s Dharawal mural recognises indigenous heritage at Lucas Heights

Recognising heritage: (left to right) Dharawal Elder, Les Bursill;  Endeavour Sports High School art teacher, Rick O'Brien; Endeavour Sports High students Darcey Moran and Ella Robinson; Deputy Chair, Sutherland Shire Council Aboriginal Advisory Committee deputy chair Bruce Cowell; Councilor Tom Croucher; ANSTO ceo Adi Paterson at the Dharawal Mural.
Recognising heritage: (left to right) Dharawal Elder, Les Bursill; Endeavour Sports High School art teacher, Rick O'Brien; Endeavour Sports High students Darcey Moran and Ella Robinson; Deputy Chair, Sutherland Shire Council Aboriginal Advisory Committee deputy chair Bruce Cowell; Councilor Tom Croucher; ANSTO ceo Adi Paterson at the Dharawal Mural.

The campus of the Australian Nuclear Science Technology Organisation (ANSTO) at Lucas Heights is surrounding by bushland that is home to significant Indigenous sites of the Dharawal people.

To recognise traditional owners of the land upon which the Lucas Height campus is located, ANSTO commissioned the Dharawal Mural which has been created by the students of Endeavour Sports High School.

The mural depicting the traditional sites at Lucas Heights was unveiled last week.

The ceremony formally thanked and recognised the students who created the Dharawal Mural.

Led by their art teacher Rick O’Brien, the eight Strong Sister and Strong Brother Indigenous students painted the mural at ANSTO, adjacent to the ANSTO café on the campus.

Creative team: (left to right) Darcey Moran, student, Endeavour Sports High School; Rick O’Brien, art teacher, Endeavour Sports High School; and Ella Robinson, student, Endeavour Sports High School, standing in front of the Dharawal Mural.

Creative team: (left to right) Darcey Moran, student, Endeavour Sports High School; Rick O’Brien, art teacher, Endeavour Sports High School; and Ella Robinson, student, Endeavour Sports High School, standing in front of the Dharawal Mural.

Les Bursill, a Dharawal elder, opened the event with a Welcome to Country in language.

The mural recreates five traditional images of engravings, charcoal drawings, red drawings and grinding grooves created by Dharawal people that are found within 5.5 kilometres of ANSTO.

ANSTO chief executive officer, Dr Adi Paterson said it is wonderful to bring a piece of the rich Indigenous culture found within the Bardens Creek valley, to the ANSTO campus.

“Important cultural art and artefacts can be found in the valleys that surround us, but given their antiquity they are all heavily weathered and are difficult to spot if you don’t know where to look,” Dr Paterson said.

“ANSTO is privileged to have the mural on our campus acknowledging the Indigenous heritage of the land of our workplace and surrounds.

“On behalf of ANSTO, I thank Bruce Howell, who provided the cultural information and images, Rick and the students Darcy, Ella, Izayah, Jayika, Kieran, Maya, Natasha and Tomysha for their efforts and Les Bursill.

“Some of the sites that this mural depicts are difficult to access and identify, so through these representations, we can recognise the Dharawal people, and connect the wider community to the rich history of the area.”

ANSTO liaises with the Dharawal people, the traditional owners of the land upon which the Lucas Heights campus is located and has been involved in numerous collaborations with indigenous groups, which have revealed some of the oldest known artefacts, and therefore oldest known occupations of Australia.

“ANSTO researchers have employed techniques including radiocarbon dating, and powder x-ray diffraction to analyse ancient samples found across the country,” Dr Paterson said.

“ANSTO was part of a team who proved the earliest occupation in Australia, at Madjedbebe, a site found on the traditional lands of the Mirarr people, surrounded by the Kakadu National Park.

“Our researchers have partnered with collaborators at Barrow Island in Northwest Australia, in the Northern Flinders Ranges and at other sites across the country, and with the support of indigenous peoples have investigated and dated ancient artefacts such as charcoal, shell, rock art and ochres.

“Using our advanced technology – at the Centre for Accelerator Science at Lucas Heights and ANSTO’s Australian Synchrotron facilities in Clayton, Victoria – we have been part of significant projects that have proven what may be the oldest sites in the world.

“As Australia’s home of applied science, we are always ready to be part of important research that uses cutting-edge science and technology to discover more about Australia’s past, to recognise and preserve these valuable relics, and reveal more about their origins.”

  • Details: www.ansto.gov.au   

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