The Currawong Project (2001)
This work is conducted in memory and respectfully honours the First Australian People, the Aboriginal People of this land.
The Currawong Project was a national reconciliation project featuring the Currawong Exhibition, opened in 2001 by NSW Governor Marie Bashir, and inspired by the novel Black Feather White Feather by Paul F. Walsh.
The Currawong Project in Hansard
Legislative Assembly Hansard – 6th November 2001
Currawong Project – The Hon. John Mills Member for Wallsend
Mr Walsh created and directed the Currawong Project during the Centenary of Federation Year.
The Currawong Project was a national reconciliation project featuring the Currawong Exhibition, opened by NSW Governor Marie Bashir, and inspired by the novel Black Feather White Feather by Paul F. Walsh.
Ceremonial Tree Planting
The Currawong Project inspired such notables as Sir William Deane, Governor General of Australia, Marie Bashir, Governor of N.S.W., Bob Carr, Premier of N.S.W., et al, to plant trees with local Aboriginal people at the Bicentenary Memorial at Yallarwah Place. The Yallarwah Bicentenary Memorial is believed to be among the first united Aboriginal/non-Aboriginal memorials in Australia.
Co-Creative Concepts in Design
The memorial concept, design and symbolism were co-created by Paul F. Walsh and Aboriginal author Ray Kelly in conjunction with architect Peter McMullen, artists Vlase Nikoleski and Lindon Dargin, John Hunter Hospital head Gardener Lewis Burrows et al. The reconciliation partnership of Paul F. Walsh and Ray Kelly throughout the Novocastrian Tales and Currawong projects was said to be reminiscent of the co-creative aspects of the relationship between Biraban and the Reverend Lancelot Threlkeld in colonial times.
Tribute to Susan Harvey
Mr Walsh recalls: ‘It was Susan Harvey who slammed a coffee cup onto our kitchen bench and said: “Why don’t you create something with a team for a change?” It was Susan Harvey who co-published Novocastrian Tales and who organized us all. Without Susan Harvey there would be no Novocastrian Tales and there would have been no Currawong Project.’
Susan Harvey recalls: ‘It was one of those unique and joyful times in Novocastrian history when the disparate tribes within our community united to achieve a reconciling outcome via a reconciling process.
The Continuous Reconciliation Processes
Novocastrian Tales was a meeting point of three continuous processes of reconciliation. The most obvious of these is reconciliation between indigenous and non-indigenous Australians. The least obvious, perhaps, is reconciliation between left and right political traditions. And the third is reconciliation of the past, present and future.’
I plant this tree in the spirit of
black feather white feather
I plant this tree to call upon
a shared future together.