Boorp Boorp Boondyil — Passing Knowledge to the Children - SharingStories Foundation


Boorp Boorp Boondyil — Passing Knowledge to the Children

October 2022

Watch the promo video here.

Boorp Boorp Boondyil – Passing Knowledge to the Children is the result of a decade-long community based project led by Senior Jaara Cultural Custodians Uncle Brien Nelson and his son Uncle Rick Nelson. Funded by the Indigenous Languages and Arts Program, the initiative shares stories and cultural knowledge from Jaara Country through a vibrant and interactive permanent installation.

This immersive, permanent exhibition, launched in partnership with the Jaara Community and Mount Alexander Shire Council, is situated in the iconic Market Building alongside the Visitor Centre in Castlemaine, Victoria. Approximately 150,000 visitors pass through the Market Building each year and it is anticipated that this exhibition will significantly increase visitor numbers.

Boorp Boorp Boondyil has been co-curated and co-designed with the community and includes interactive content exploring and sharing knowledge relating to Country, Culture and Community. Much of the content was created through a series of SharingStories Digital Storytelling Programs with community partners Nalderun Education Aboriginal Corporation and St Peter’s Primary School. Young people interpreted important cultural knowledge shared by Cultural Custodians Uncle Brien Nelson, Uncle Rick Nelson, Aunty Julie McHale and Aunty Bambi Lees. Creating original art work, animations and soundscapes housed in two large multi touch panels they explored cultural stories, bush foods and the meaning of Tanderrum or Welcome to Country Ceremony. Additional video, photography and language recordings relate to important sites on Jaara Country, the waterways, traditional weaving and bush food and medicine. A large immersive Welcome to Country installation by Uncle Rick greets visitors as they enter the space.

Senior Jaara Cultural Custodian Uncle Rick Nelson said: “The Boorp Boorp Boondyil exhibition is a tribute to my father who was a pioneer of cultural education and dedicated his life to passing knowledge to the children.”

Local First Nations artists were commissioned to create unique art works that also respond to the knowledge being shared. Senior Jaara Custodian Aunty Marilyne Nicholls, a master weaver, has woven a giant eagle’s nest to sit on top of a sculpted volcano. Giant suspended puppets of ‘The Eagle, the Crow and the Bat’ were created in collaboration with young people at Nalderun. First Nations artist Alvin Briggs was commissioned to create a series of pyrography art works depicting birds and animals etched into some of the twenty-five fallen trees repurposed to create a forest environment in the exhibition space. Special objects, grinding stones, small flint tools and axe heads gifted to the exhibition are embedded at various sites. The entire exhibition experience is designed and built to create a sense of ‘walking through story and knowledge’.

The fully immersive soundscape throughout is rich with the calls of local birds and animals and the natural sounds of Country, constantly the focus and reference point for the entire installation. Small interactive screens located in various sites throughout the exhibition enable visitors to access additional media, educational resources from Nalderun as well as videos and information relating to contemporary community projects and Uncle Rick plans to utilise the exhibition space as a starting point for cultural tours that can be booked through the Visitor Centre.

Boorp Boorp Boondyil provides an inspiring, celebratory experience of living Jaara culture and community life. It forms a vibrant cultural hub as well as a dynamic learning space for visitors, supporting learning about local Jaara cultural heritage. Children from schools across the region, visitors and the local community will be able to learn more about Jaara culture, language and stories through a weave of ancient and contemporary technologies.

Koorie Education Worker , Donna Widdicombe said: “The [SharingStories Digital Storytelling] workshops have provided an invaluable experience for our children who have learned so much about their history and culture and it has given our children a sense of purpose.”

Visit Boorp Boorp Boondyil at Castlemaine Historic Market Building, 44 Mostyn Street, Castlemaine, Victoria, 3450. Open 9am – 5pm every day of the year (except Christmas day).


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