Senior Jaara Cultural Custodian, Uncle Brien Nelson began working with SharingStories in 2009. Uncle Brien oversaw the creation of a print book sharing a story about Bunjil the Eagle as passed down the Nelson family line. This work was continued when the Jaara Community led by Brien’s son, Uncle Rick Nelson, collaborated with SharingStories Foundation to turn this early work into a dynamic, interactive multi-touch book experience.
Since 2013, the foundation has worked with young people in the Bendigo and Castlemaine regions, led by Uncle Rick and other Senior Custodians, in partnership with St Peters Primary school and The Meeting Place, an initiative led by Nalderun Aboriginal Services in Castlemaine. During that time the multi-touch book interpretation of the Nelson story of The Eagle, the Crow and the Bat has been produced housing animations, soundscapes and an interactive map exploring multiple sites on Jaara Country.
In 2015, Uncle Rick Nelson requested that we work with the community to translate this content into a permanent installation that could be housed in Castlemaine for ongoing use by the community and providing a culturally rich reference point for visitors and tourists. We are now partnering with the Jaara Community and Alexander Shire Council on a major permanent installation initiative due to open in 2021. The installation will house a large-scale interactive panel, a 360 degree immersive Welcome to Country experience and a wide range of content relating to traditional food, the seasons and traditional land management. The new permanent installation will be opened in Uncle Brien’s memory, following his passing in 2019.
Since 2020 the Jaara community has:
- shared culture and stories through the Koorie Culture Map an interactive map experience
- released The Eagle, the Crow and the Bat multi-touch book and teacher resources
- released The Eagle, the Crow and the Bat animated film
- produced educational resources for Jajoo Warrngara : The Cultural Classroom to support teachers embed First Nations perspectives across the curriculum.
In late 2022 the Jaara community are:
- opening the Boorp Boorp Boondyil permanent installation to be housed at the Market Building in Castlemaine.
Uncle Rick Nelson (Senior Custodian/ Storyteller), Aunty Julie McHale (Cultural Custodian/ Education), Kathryn Coff (Community Co-ordinator), Aunty Bambi Lees (Cultural and Creative Facilitator), Donna Widdicombe (Community Co-ordinator).