A new exhibition at the Tourist Information Centre aims to bring the bush into the gallery, with a collection of aboriginal artworks created by the Tumut National Parks and Wildlife Service discovery rangers.
The centrepiece of the exhibition are the ‘scarred and carved’ trees. This is a traditional practice of local Aboriginal people, with the distinctive trees found all through the national park.
As discovery ranger and artist Shane Herrington explained, the trees are living evidence of what used to be area’s predominant culture.
“It’s what’s left of the landscape of our traditional times,” he said.
“It’s one of the indications of traditional life in the bush, and it shows us that Aboriginal people actually lived within the landscape within a particular area.
“We find these all the time. Sometimes you’ll drive past a particular tree, that you’ve been driving past your whole entire life, and something makes you look at it a little bit differently and you’ll see that it’s a scar on it.”
The exhibition is headed up by Mr Herrington and fellow discovery ranger Tahlea Bulger, who are Wiradjuri-Walgalu and Wiradjuri-Ngunnawal people respectively.
“Tumut is a meeting place for the Wiradjuri, Walgalu, and Ngunnawal people, and that’s why we still have those people living in this area now,” he said.
“Those three different groups have a strong connection to this part of the country.”
As a discovery ranger, Mr Herrington’s job is to teach others about the traditional culture of the Tumut area. This exhibition is informed by his work over the past ten years, with painted coolamons, canoes, and stone flakes, as well as nets, bags and baskets created by Tahlea Bulger.
“The majority of it is work by the discovery team, who have worked hard to achieve all this,” he said.
The exhibition will be open until the end of July. It’s open to the public now, but its official launch will be on Friday, June 16, from 10am, with all welcome.