A project that pays respect to the Indigenous people of the region is one stop closer to becoming a reality.
The plan to install a rainbow serpent water feature and mosaic in Gunnedah’s CBD has been in the works for more than 15 years.
It has now secured funding of $332,955; “great news for the ladies who began this project and for Gunnedah”, councillor Owen Hasler said.
Member for Tamworth Kevin Anderson announced this morning the state would contribute $155,725, through the Regional Cultural Fund, adding to the council’s 54 per cent contribution to the total.
“The Rainbow Serpent Water Feature will be adorned with 32 handcrafted glass mosaic tiles that are approximately 500mm in diameter, and created by the Kamilaroi Women’s Group,” he said.
It will be installed at the front of the cultural precinct.
In a letter of support for the project, Kamilaroi elder Gloria Foley said it was “very important to my family, my people and me”.
“My friends and fellow Kamilaroi women, including June Cox and her daughter Alyson Cox, Janet Wanless, Rita Long, the late Ellen Draper and the late Delma Jones, were the artists who made most of the tiles.
“All of our children and grandchildren would come along and help put glass tiles into our designs; we have even made tiles of their handprints and footprints.
“These children are now adults and have children of their own.
“While making these tiles we yarned, shared stories and learnt about how to mosaic but most importantly, we learnt of our families and the dreamtime stories of our land.”
Gunnedah shire mayor Jamie Chaffey said it was “wonderful to hear this announcement today and to know this project and its legacy will continue”.
“Council will fund more than half this project. I’m proud to be a part of a team at Gunnedah Shire Council that is getting things done.”
Mr Anderson said such pieces also “offer new experiences for both local and overseas visitors, leading to more tourism dollars and jobs”.