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Wiradjuri Story Poles | East (2018)

MATERIALS Bronze, Hardwood and Corten Steel

LOCATION Sir Francis Forbes Drive, Forbes NSW 

Each of the eight educational story poles help to depict a part of Wiradjuri culture.  


1. Religion ~ Muraymin 

The Wiradjuri kinship system is born of the Ancestors of the Dreaming and is among the most complex in the world. Based on the concept of reciprocity it is all embracing, tying the human to the physical and sacred worlds. It defines an individual’s position within the immediate and extended family as well as the wider community, and determine the rights, obligations and appropriate behaviours of kinship relations. 

2. Arts ~ Yibirmanha 

Dance, music, weaving and painting are all important components of Wiradjuri ceremonies and rituals. The practical or ceremonial purpose has always been more important than the visual value. Wiradjuri were one of the main groups in Australia to develop tree carving as part of their culture, carving patterns into the bark or wood. 

3. Food ~ Dhangaang   

Wiradjuri people lived by gathering and hunting, using their knowledge of food and water resources. In most areas, a few hours of hunting and gathering provided ample food and raw materials. Wiradjuri people were intimately acquainted with the breeding and migration patterns of wildlife as well as the cycle of flowering and fruiting plants. 

4. Agriculture ~ Ngangaaligu 

The land provided everything needed for the survival of the Wiradjuri. They were taught early to manage rivers and land to protect resources.  Population pressures on water and food were low. Wiradjuri commonly used fire as an aid in hunting and to alter plant communities to increase game. This fire-stick farming is still practised today in some regions. 

Story Poles (east) (12).JPG
Story Poles (east) (11).JPG

5. Organisation ~ Buyabil 

The people of Wiradjuri country as known as ‘people of the three rivers’. These rivers are Macquarie River (Wambuul), Lachan River (Galari), and Murrumbidgee River (Marrambidya). Laws are passed from generation to generation orally rather than through the written form. Different people in the Nation know different aspects of the law. Men’s and Women’s business is passed on to young men and women by their respective elders.


6. Technology ~ Widyungura 

Wiradjuri people has drawn on the resources of the environment for medicines. Many plants have been used, generally without elaborate preparation. 

Plant material is very often bruised or pounded to use as a poultice, or extracted with water to be taken internally. The Australian flora is particularly rich in aromatic plants such as eucalypts, tea-trees, boronias and mints and these have been considered especially suitable for treating many illnesses. 

7. Domestic Life ~ Murunngidyal 

All through childhood boys and girls learned the correct behaviour by watching adults. Any misbehaviour of breaking of the buyaa incurred punishments according to the seriousness of the crime. 

8. Family ~ Miyagan 

The structure and relationship of Wiradjuri people are governed by their totems, clans and moieties. These are strict rules of behaviour and interactions between these clans and moieties. Both men and women have complimentary roles, thus dividing the world into equal parts to create balance. All relationships, behaviours and decisions are based on maintaining a balance as one cannot exist without the other. 

About the Sculptors

Brett Garling (Dubbo, NSW)

Brett Garling is widely known as ‘Mon’ to friends and collectors alike. ‘Mon’ is short for ‘Monster’ – a nickname gained at the age of five, due to his fascination for anatomy and collecting of bones and animal specimens. Born in Pambula, Mon’s work is influenced by his childhood in rural towns, such as, Lightning Ridge, Narrabri and Dubbo where his love of the bush and its characters were nurtured. Mon strives to find the presence and character in his subjects, breathing life into his work, transforming clay and paint into a vital living form. 

Mon has had over forty group and solo exhibitions and is an exhibiting member of the Sculptors Society and The Australian Plein-Air Artists Group. As a multi award-winning artist and sculptor, Mon’s work is held in both private and corporate collections worldwide. 

A fascination for the technical aspects of casting his sculptures in bronze led Mon to establish his own foundry in conjunction with his art gallery, Garling Gallery in 2004. This allowed him to have a permanent collection of both his paintings and sculpture on display. 


Rosie Johnston (Forbes, NSW)

Rosie is renowned for her large-scale colourful abstract canvasses. Rosie is also the brainchild behind the Sculpture Down the Lachlan trail concept. Inspired by Sydney’s famous Sculptures by the Sea, in 2012 Rosie set about to lobby for funding to create a permanent, inland sculpture trail to generate tourism for our region and diversify the rural economy.  


Scott Towney (Peak Hill, NSW)

Scott ‘Sauce’ Towney is a Wiradjuri artist from Peak Hill, NSW. Sauce specialises in drawing and pyrography. He creates art from an Indigenous perspective. He has been a finalist in the NSW Premier’s Indigenous Art Awards and has completed many commissions. Towney experiments with a variety of materials as a base for his contemporary style of Indigenous art. He has made a major contribution in his community by creating artwork that helps in the preservation of culture and symbols of the Wiradjuri nation. Towney has participated in an international residency at Ub Ubbo Exchange’s Cultural Centre in Sagada, northern Philippines.  

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