One of Geelong’s largest murals spanning approximately 80 metres has been installed at the new Spirit of Tasmania Quay passenger terminal.
A collaborative effort by Wadawurrung Traditional Owners, represented by Wadawurrung Traditional Owners Aboriginal Corporation (WTOAC), artist John Challis, GeelongPort, and Spirit of Tasmania, the magnificent artwork installation features the Orange-bellied parrot as it travels across the mural.
The mural arches over the internal walling of the passenger terminal in clear view for drive-on passengers as they park their vehicles and prepare to board the Spirit.
Paul Davis, Chief Executive Officer of Wadawurrung Traditional Owners Aboriginal Corporation commended the work of the Wadawurrung Traditional Owners and staff for developing this story and GeelongPort for fulfilling key aspects of their Reconciliation Action Plan by supporting the project.
“A mural that must be about 20 car lengths – it may be the largest public artwork in Geelong,” he said.
Brett Winter, Chief Executive Officer of GeelongPort said the team was extremely proud of the local indigenous art and themes showcased at Spirit of Tasmania Quay.
“We worked closely with the Wadawurrung Traditional Owners Aboriginal Corporation (WTOAC) to develop the internal concepts and external artwork to really showcase the culture and wildlife that is unique to this area,” he said.
Inside and surrounding the terminal building, there are numerous panels of interpretive artwork that feature Djilang and Coriayo Bay, as well as an Acknowledgement to Country, in both Wadawurrung and English Languages.
Corrina Eccles, Wadawurrung Woman and Cultural Education Manager – Wadawurrung Traditional Owners Aboriginal Corporation said Moorpanyal (the Great Egret) is a significant bird to Wadawurrung Country and connects to the water and sky.
“Passengers can now walk through and view artwork that tells the story of Moorpanyul the white crane and Burrunan the dolphin species that will be seen by all that visit.”
As passengers arrive at the terminal building and drop-off roundabout, they can view three carved basalt stone shells, one of which contains a highly detailed mosaic inlay. There is Wallaby grass carved from reclaimed timber pier pylons, and a stainless steel Kawirr (Emu) feather.
The second site at the bayside roundabout features Moorpanyal on its flight path.
These external artworks are a collaboration between WTOAC and GeelongPort, and created and constructed by Romanis Trinham Collaborations PL (Glenn Romanis and Mark Trinham) and Geelong mosaic artist Dr Helen Bodycomb.
Significance of the Orange-bellied parrot
The mural is symbolic of the Orange-bellied parrot migrating across Sea Country to meet Lutruwita (Tasmania) Country of the Palawa/Tasmanian Aboriginal people for the summer, and then to Wadawurrung Country for the winter.
Spirit of Tasmania’s Chief Executive Officer, Bernard Dwyer was pleased the main installation of the Orange-bellied parrot represented the strong connection between Tasmania and Victoria.
“We are thrilled to have such beautiful and meaningful artworks onsite to greet passengers as they arrive at Spirit of Tasmania Quay to start their journey and to introduce passengers from Tasmania to Wadawurrung country as they disembark.”
Mr Winter agreed, “We hope parents and children waiting in the marshalling area enjoy the life-size mural and share the story of the Orange-bellied parrot’s connection between Victoria and Tasmania.
Dr Lisa Mills (General Manager Sustainability, GeelongPort) and Corrina Eccles (Wadawurrung Woman and Cultural Education Manager – Wadawurrung Traditional Owners Aboriginal Corporation) with artwork.
Image credit: Pam Hutchinson Photography