Honouring Trentham's indigenous history

Internationally renowned mural and portrait painter, Adnate, at work on a new mural in Trentham which celebrates the area's indigenous history. Photo: Richard Ryan

Internationally renowned mural and portrait painter, Adnate, at work on a new mural in Trentham which celebrates the area's indigenous history. Photo: Richard Ryan

Internationally renowned mural and portrait painter, Adnate, at work on a new mural in Trentham which celebrates the area's indigenous history. Photo: Richard Ryan

Internationally renowned mural and portrait painter, Adnate, at work on a new mural in Trentham which celebrates the area's indigenous history. Photo: Richard Ryan

The mural depicts Dja Dja Wurrung descendant Akira Kelly. Photo: Richard Ryan

The mural depicts Dja Dja Wurrung descendant Akira Kelly. Photo: Richard Ryan

A new mural honouring Trentham's 28,000-year Dja Dja Wurrung history is only a few weeks old but is already succeeding in achieving its purpose, says local indigenous businessman Nathan McGuire.

Mr McGuire commissioned the piece on the side of the historic National Bank of Australasia building to help create awareness that Trentham's human history doesn't just go back as far as the first European settlement.

"I am really pleased that people, including local school children who have invited me to their school to talk about this, are already saying they now realise how old Trentham's indigenous history is," he said.

The mural, by internationally-renowned street artist Adnate, took a full-day to paint in front of a packed crowd.

It depicts Dja Dja Wurrung descendant Akira Kelly.

Akira is based in Sydney pursuing a professional rugby career with the Cronulla Sharks while she finishes her schooling.

She was chosen because a young person's image was an indication of the future of the Dja Dja Wurrung people, Mr McGuire said.

"Akira is a proud descendant of the Dja Dja Wurrung people and has been a frequent performer in traditional ceremonies and dances which she feels have helped connect her to her culture," he said.

She was identified with the help of the Dja Dja Wurrung Aboriginal Corporation.

"It's an absolute honour to be painted by Adnate," she said.

"While I don't live on my ancestral country, I have always felt welcomed by my elders and the wider Dja Dja Wurrung community."

Mr McGuire, who stepped away from an international hockey career to move to Trentham in 2014, hopes the new portrait will help build on Trentham's pride in its history since European settlement.

"As an Aboriginal man, I was surprised when I moved here at the lack of knowledge of the Dja Dja Wurrung people," he said.

"Adnate started out as a graffiti artist before converting to portrait and mural art, including entering the Archibald Prize and painting notables such as the Dalai Lama and indigenous AFL player, Adam Goodes.

"But I went to him in particular because he has developed a strong interest in and feeling for Australia's indigenous history and culture and has done some fabulous indigenous portraits."

Adnate said he painted these murals so all Australians would understand that Aborigines were the oldest living culture on earth.

"We need to recognise, celebrate and embrace the whole history of the nation, not just the last 200 years," he said.

Mr McGuire is talking to the building's owners to finalise naming of the lane alongside the building as Dja Dja Wurrung Lane.

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