Monday, 12 November 2012


The City of Darebin desired a civic square with an aboriginal theme, adjacent to the old Northcote Town Hall and Library. In response the designers, Rushwright Associates, responded with a design that was inspired by the shapes, forms and imagery of local indigenous tradition and artefact. Rucker’s Hill on which the Civic Square is located, was an old Aboriginal corroboree (Aboriginal cultural ceremony) place, however, the square is also bounded by the European neoclassical architecture of the Northcote Town Hall and Carnegie Library. The Square harmonises the traditional cultural orders of the Victorian Aboriginal community and a contemporary society with an inherited colonial history.

Northcote Civic Square has become an eclectic mix of the old the new, the traditional and the modern. The intensely vibrant painted bas relief surfaces of the mural set off the square. The mural was created by local indigenous artist, Ray Thomas (born Melbourne 1960, Gunnai, Barlijan Family), and is an iconographic recognition of ancient lineage and celebrates a respect for people and country.

Ray Thomas the artist speaks about the loss of culture as a result of government control:
“The culture wasn’t passed on in secret. We were only told not to go to this place or that place but we weren’t told why and we never asked because that’s the way it was with us, we never questioned the Elders when they told us something.
Mum is 85 years old ... she remembers as a child the old people talking in language and ... seeing the old people dance, corroboree. But her grandparents ... used to hunt the kids away, they weren’t allowed to see that sort of thing, ’cause that was the times ... and the constraints that they lived under ... with government and authorities ... well that’s part of the breaking down of culture ... no language and not being able to practise dance and ceremonies, you lose a lot of it.”                  Ray Thomas, October 2004
 This post is part of the Monday Murals meme,
and also part of the Mellow Yellow Monday meme,
and also part of the Mandarin Orange Monday meme.


  1. It's amazing. Good to see anywhere that indigenous Australians are being recognised for their wonderful heritage and artwork.

  2. Great serie of photos, perfect for MOM!
    Well done!

  3. Very cool! Thanks for sharing! I really like the 3-D look and texture of the walls! I am also glad for the culture to be remembered.

  4. The colors and design of the mural harmonize with the buildings around it. Thanks for the close-ups that show us how intricate this work is. It's pleasing to me that the artist is of the indigenous people. Thanks, Nick, for contributing to Monday Mural.

  5. The patterning is wonderful! Perfect post for the day.

  6. What an amazing piece of artwork, set in an amazing space besides. Sad time in culture for sure, but it is nice that there is appreciation for it now, and a desire to present and preserve it as well.

  7. Wonderful where society takes care of its content.

    Please have a good Tuesday.

  8. Awesome Paintings. I wish i had been part of its making :-)

  9. These are absolutely beautiful.

  10. Very beautiful murals. A great palette of subdued tones.

  11. The art and the photography are beautiful. Thank you for being part of Mandarin Orange Monday:)


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