Before white man came to Ballarat my ancestors used stones to mark places of ceremony and important business. The stones are the holders of memory and knowledge, Country and Spirit. They mark the cosmos and seasons. They follow the sun, marking the summer and winter solstice, important dates in our calendar, for planting and harvesting and tell the history of our past, present and future.
The stones are alive and still present. I have used the basalt stones of my Country to tell our story, Wadawurung stories of Dreaming, memory, men and women’s business.
Deanne states that, “Creating Murrup Laarr, ancestral stones, in 2019, has placed Aboriginal people and practices back on Country and able to tell our stories. I am very honoured I have had this opportunity. An Aboriginal stone circle used to exist in Ballarat pre-colonisation, by putting back what was lost throughout colonisation, I pay homage to my ancestors, past, present and emerging”.
This project could not have happened without the support from the following people and organisations:
The City of Ballarat public artworks commission, with overwhelming thanks to Kate Gerritsen Public Art Co-Ordinator, City of Ballarat Garden Staff, Warren and Craig Britt from Britt’s Paving & Landscaping – these guys are the hardest workers I know, Jeremy and the boys from Rock Walls Melbourne, Andy Sutherland Stonemason, Glenn Romanis Public Art & Sculpture, consultation Paul Nolan Celtic Stone, Federation University School of Arts Academy – Ceramics Department, made up of Program Lead Lecturer Mr Peter Pilven and Claire Blake, for ceramics technical support and firing. Sculptor Mark Cuthbertson for the hut framework, Advanced Cranes & Rigging Ballarat, Eureka Concrete, Ballarat Garden Supplies, Ballarat Fencing, Keanes Ceramics, Walker Ceramics and all of my Deakin University Professors that allowed me to work this around my PhD and for their encouragement to go ahead, including: Professor Estelle Barrett, Professor Louise Johnson, Dr Shelley Hannigan, Professor Tarquam McKenna, along with special personal support from Professor Barbara Bolt (University of Melbourne).
My son, Blair Gilson for his cultural guidance, inspiration and his leadership, Tammy Gilson for her knowledge of Country and culture, my ancestors for surviving the past and showing me the way and my heartfelt thanks to my dad Barry Gilson, my onsite supervisor, strength, leader, mentor, comedian, hard work, commitment to perfection and best friend in the world.