Noongar artwork project awarded 12 months after launch

Stuart McGuckinSouth Western Times
Bunbury artist Stephen Taylor with one of the firefighting vehicles he painted when they were launched last year.
Camera IconBunbury artist Stephen Taylor with one of the firefighting vehicles he painted when they were launched last year. Credit: Jon Gellweiler

A State-first project which saw three Bunbury-based firefighting vehicles adorned with Noongar artwork has won an award a year after being launched.

The award for working collaboratively with government and non-government organisations was handed out at the recent Institute of Public Administration Australia State achievement awards night.

The Department of Fire and Emergency Services’ Aboriginal Advancement Unit worked with Bunbury Aboriginal community elders and young artist Stephen Taylor to create message about caring for the country on the vehicles.

Advancement unit manager Trish Wall said she was shocked when the prize was announced.

“I honestly did not think we would get a look in – I was sitting there a bit like a stunned mullet and it didn’t really register that we had been called out,” she said.

“It was a really proud moment for our unit to be recognised for working with such a huge Aboriginal community down in Bunbury.

“We are just a small team of three so it was amazing we could pull it off.”

Ms Wall said similarly painted firefighting vehicles were set to be unveiled in Kalgoorlie today.

“We look after the whole of WA and we’ve been inundated with with communities wanting something similar in their region,” she said.

“There are seven regions all up and we’ve done two so there are five more to go.

“Everyone is saying when are we next but the process is time consuming because we do the cultural governance properly with the firefighters before we even give them a look in.

“Hopefully we will be able to launch a new one each Naidoc Week.”

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