An Aboriginal painting on defending country prominent in the Australian War Memorial


A vast Aboriginal painting about "defence of country" now hangs directly opposite the Australian War Memorial's most treasured item, after 7 years of First Nations people marching on Anzac Day for recognition of the Frontier wars and conflicts.

By WGAR News
A vast Aboriginal painting depicting the importance of "defence of country" has been hung directly opposite the Australian War Memorial's most treasured item - the bullet-ridden Gallipoli landing boat.

This follows seven years of First Nations people marching on Anzac Day for recognition of the Frontier wars and conflicts.

The painting is called ‘'Kulatangkau angakanyini manta munu Tjukurpa': Country and Culture will be protected by spears’. The Memorial commissioned it from Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatara artists.

19 artists created the work over 4 days in Nyapari, APY Lands. It now hangs permanently in pride of place in the Orientation Gallery directly opposite the War Memorial's most important exhibit, a bullet-ridden landing craft from Gallipoli.

The juxtaposition with the landing boat is a deliberate choice by the Memorial's director, Brendan Nelson, a former defence minister in a conservative Australian government.

From a report in the daily “Canberra Times” newspaper: 'The painting features symbols referring to the myriad and complex ways in which rock holes, trees, and the landscape are protectors of the Anangu way of life.

'In the orange-and-red-toned painting, the tjukurpa of the large central tree is a story of protection.

'The tree is a symbol of a wati (male) soldier, and the spirit of the ancestors stay in the trees, protecting Anangu.

'The kulata (spears) are for use by soldiers, not hunters.

‘The u-shapes indicate a family gathering of hunting and inma (song and dance or ceremony).

'The text inscribed across the painting translates as "the many men and old men hold and protect country and culture".

From the Canberra CityNews website: 'Chairman of the APY executive board, Mr Frank Young, spoke of the inspiration for the work: “There is a connection that Anangu have with Country. It is one of the most important responsibilities: looking after Country, protecting Country, and keeping Country safe. The ancestors handed down this responsibility, and it is as important today as it was hundreds of years ago.”'

'The artists who painted the work are

'Alec Baker (b. 1932),
Eric Kumanara Mungi Barney (b. 1973),
Pepai Jangala Carroll (b. 1950),
Taylor Cooper (b. 1940),
Witjiti George (b. 1938),
Willy Kaika (b. 1938),
Brenton Ken (b. 1944),
Ray Ken (b. c. 1940),
Dickie Marshall (b. 1969),
Willy Muntjanti Martin (b. 1950),
Peter Mungkuri (b. 1946),
Jimmy Pompey (b. 1952),
Keith Stevens (b. 1940),
Bernard Tjalkuri (b. 1930),
Thomas Ilytjari Tjilya (b. 1962),
Ginger Wikilyiri (b. 1930),
Mick Wikilyiri (b. c. 1940),
Mumu Mike Williams (b. 1952),
Frank Young (b. 1950).'

WGAR News is published by the Working Group for Aboriginal Rights (Australia).

Other Aboriginal news:

Traditional Aboriginal owners seek to defend their right to say no to a monster coal mine that would destroy their country

Deal between Adani and local traditional owners adds to the smell that pervades the entire project.

'Wangan And JagalingouTraditional Owners Family Councils’ (W&J) defiant
opposition to Adani’s proposed Carmichael mine in central Queensland has been central to delay; opposition that has, in itself, exposed the dirty deeds Adani is willing to perpetrate against Traditional Owners who seek to defend their right to say no
to a mine that would destroy their country.

'This article exposes some of Adani’s deeds, including its nefarious actions in reaching an ‘agreement’ with Traditional Owners, as well as its use of an Indigenous Participation Plan and cultural heritage work as attempts to ‘blackwash’ its corporate brand, all while walking over Traditional Owners’ rights.'

Human Rights, Where are they? 10 years of failed NT Intervention

Public Forum

Friday 8 Dec 2017 5.30 for 6pm start

Redfern Community Centre, 29-53 Hugo Street Redfern

First Nations people speaking about life under the Intervention. This year for Human Rights day we ask our speakers “Where are Human Rights?” We would love you to join us.

It has now been over10 years since the Northern Territory Intervention was forced on communities in the NT and Racial Discrimination Act was suspended in order to roll it out.

'This so-called ‘Emergency Response’ saw the military sent to remote Aboriginal communities, Aboriginal land compulsorily acquired by the state, dramatically increased policing, the abolition of CDEP jobs and the introduction of welfare quarantining, among many other brutal and paternalistic measures.

'Indigenous health expert Pat Turner has described the Intervention as a “complete violation of the human rights of Aboriginal people”. Now, this punitive policy continues under the guise of ‘Stronger Futures’, and continues to fail First Nations people.

'Rosalie Kunoth-Monks OAM from the Eastern Arrernte describes the intervention as an abusive assault, done with impunity, on our people. ‘How long,’ she asked, ‘are we – collectively as Australians – going to tolerate this outrage, these unmentionable crimes committed against my people?’

'Aboriginal children continue to be removed from their families at an alarming rate, incarceration of Indigenous people has more than doubled, and the rate of suicide for Indigenous people in the Northern Territory has increased sixfold since the commencement of the Intervention.

'And yet despite this disastrous failure, we can begin to see the spread of some of these policies to other areas under the guise of Healthy Welfare Card. The Government does not feel any shame in continuing the Intervention and expanding these draconian policies to other underprivileged (especially to high Aboriginal populated) areas in Australia.

'So we ask; where are the human rights?'

Facilitator: Jeff McMullen, journalist and film maker

Ashley Rose
Cammeraygal, member ACTU
Indigenous advisory committee.

Laura Lyons
Wiradjuri , active in FIRE & GMAR.

Greg Marks
Policy analyst,
Indigenous Law Centre UNSW.

Elaine Kngwarraye Peckham
Apmereke-artweye, N.T.

Australia's heartless 'House of Discards' refuse First Nations' fundamental Rights

Invitation to the 2017 Annual Forum
‘Why Australia Needs a Treaty With Aboriginal People’

Australia is the only Commonwealth country that has never signed an official Treaty with its Indigenous peoples. Aboriginal peoples of Australia have been waiting for over 200 years for a Treaty. The following prominent members of the Indigenous community have been invited to speak about how a Treaty would address unresolved issues of reconciliation and how it would affect both Indigenous and non-Indigenous people.

  • Gary Murray, traditional elder of the Wamba Wamba Community;
  • Lidia Thorpe, a Gunnai Gunditjmara woman and managing director of Clan Corporation (both Gary and Lidia are members of the Victorian Traditional Owners Land Justice Group);
  • Terry Mason, an Awabakal man who is Chairman of the Institute of Koorie Education at Deakin University;
  • Rev Glenn Loughrey, a Wiradjuri man who is an artist and a priest at St Oswald’s Anglican Church Glen Iris.

Date: Monday 27 November 2017, 2pm – 4pm.
Venue: U3A Hall, Rear, 14 Ivanhoe Parade, Ivanhoe (Melway map 31F7)
Cost: $10 includes afternoon tea and drinks.
RSVP: By 20 November to the U3A office Tel 94992080

Non-members are most welcome to attend and the Forum will give you an idea of what U3A Banyule offers to its members. This promises to be a stimulating and informative topic so please mark your calendar and join us.

Helen McKinnon
U3A Banyule Inc
Office Address: 14 Ivanhoe Parade, Ivanhoe 3079
Postal Address: PO Box 454, Rosanna 3084
Phone (H) 9459 4535; (M) 0423 610 112
Email (H):



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