Painting on that wood

Zachary Bennett-Brook has always been around the ocean, and always surfing. Living on the coast, the Wollongong local is also passionate about his Torres Strait Islander heritage. So what happens when you combine these two elements through artwork? The answer: A fresh, creative outlet called Saltwater Dreamtime, and plenty of resurrected surfboards to show for it.

Multimedia Reporter: Lucy Smith

Happy to share

When the Jumbulla Aboriginal Discovery Centre shut down just 18 months after it opened worry spread through the community. Are people really not interested in what Aboriginal culture has to offer and how would that affect the Indigenous community?

Jane Strang, UOW Woolyungah Indigenous Centre, administration assistant/events and community police, expresses her concern.

“We’re not going to bite people, we are friendly, we want to share our culture with people.”

“It was very sad that Jumbulla closed down… there were so many interactive things inside it to preserve and to teach our culture to non-indigenous people.”

Although it may have been in part the poor choice of location that failed the Jumbulla Aboriginal Discovery Centre, Jane Strang believes that there was something deeper involved.

“I think that a lot of non-indigenous people are cautious, they don’t want to offend or step on anyone’s toes. They may just think that: ‘if I don’t get involved then it’s much easier and if I do I could offend someone or disrespect their culture.’” Strang says.

“There is an essence of unawareness when it comes to Aboriginal culture, and centres like Jumbulla are a great initiative to teach non-Indigenous people of this culture. “

The understanding of Indigenous culture by the community would have a great benefit on young Indigenous members in the community.

Michelle Rush, manager of UOW Woolyungah Indigenous Centre has stated that despite the centre’s closure, there is a solid interest in Indigenous culture.

“Within the centre, we have non-Indigenous tutors that teach Indigenous students and not a day doesn’t go by when one of them will ask about our culture, because a student won’t be looking at them or doing something that’s strange to them.”

Jane Strang (left) and Michelle Rush at the UOW Woolyungah Indigenous Centre

Jane Strang (left) and Michelle Rush at the UOW Woolyungah Indigenous Centre

Multimedia Reporter: Athena Bambaliaros