Hues of Gold: Flying into Remote WA

(L-R) Donna Robinson and Jack Howard with Janene Bon from Hall & Wilcox. Taken by Olivia Sproull.

It’s been quite a week for Arts Law’s AITB outreach with two teams on the move. One headed north to Cherbourg, Bundaberg and Maleny in SE Queensland, whilst the other went west to Perth, Kalgoorlie and Tjuntjuntjara in Western Australia.

In WA Arts Law were accompanied by Janene Bon from Hall & Wilcox who were supporting us pro bono. It was here that we met up with two thriving Indigenous language centres, Noongar Boodjar and Goldfields Language Centre, meeting with their dedicated and amazing staff. Key messages emerged from the Goldfields Language Centre, including the need for legislation to protect and revitalise Indigenous languages and the need for a state based repository for storage of all archival materials. At Noongar Boodjar there was a similar theme regarding repatriation of historical cultural knowledge and materials. Arts Law delivered workshops on artists’ rights and governance to several very engaged audiences in Kalgoorlie organised by Art Gold, the local organisation representing artists and arts organisations in the Goldfields region.

We then flew by the mail plane – a ten-seater Cessna Caravan – to Spinifex Arts Project, the art centre at Tjuntjuntjara Community. By some measures, Tjuntjuntjara is the most remote community in Australia – a day’s drive each way from Kalgoorlie, Warburton or Ceduna. From above, we saw the vast salt lakes and the horseshoes of spinifex which carpet the landscape. This small community of around 150 people is home to some of the country’s most distinctive painters, with each work a deeply felt reflection upon the artists’ Tjukurpa, memories of country and songlines. Warmly hosted by the new managers, Olivia Sproull and Riley Adams Brown, we prepared wills and legal advice for Spinifex artists and had the privilege of spending time with the artists to hear their extraordinary stories. We are grateful to Janene Bon, Special Counsel, Hall & Wilcox, who accompanied us on the trip and whose extensive wills and estates experience contributed to its success.