Aboriginal culture on show at Beetaloo Reservoir

IMAGE: Nukunu elder Mike turner, left, and SA Water officer Gary Window stand beside the identical artwork hanging in SA Water's Crystal Brook depot.
IMAGE: Nukunu elder Mike turner, left, and SA Water officer Gary Window stand beside the identical artwork hanging in SA Water's Crystal Brook depot.
SERPENTS: The artwork features two snakes - known as Wobma - wrapping themselves around Beetaloo Reservoir to represent the creation of creeks, rivers and waterholes in the area.

SERPENTS: The artwork features two snakes - known as Wobma - wrapping themselves around Beetaloo Reservoir to represent the creation of creeks, rivers and waterholes in the area.

Visitors to Beetaloo Reservoir can now soak up the region's Aboriginal culture, thanks to an amazing artwork by Nukunu artist Jessica Turner.

Put up at the reservoir's public lookout, the colourful artwork titled Wobma deals with the cultural and spiritual relationship of the Nukunu with land and water in the Spencer Gulf and southern Flinders Ranges.

This coincided with National Aborigines and Islanders Day Observance Committee celebrations, a yearly activity celebrating Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

SA Water spokeswoman Anna Jackson said the corporation was proud to help educate those who visited the reservoir about the region's rich history.

"We want to build awareness of the stories and culture within our own workforce and the wider population," she said.

"Having this piece of art in a place for everyone to enjoy is a fantastic way to do this.

"Having completed other artworks in the country, we specifically commissioned Jessica to create this piece to celebrate the reservoir and her connection to family and culture.

"The result is an amazing visual celebration of culture."

The artwork features two snakes - known as Wobma - wrapping themselves around the reservoir to represent the creation of creeks, rivers and waterholes in the area.

The Womba is an important totem for the Nukunu and shows the significant connection to each other and the dreamtime serpent.

"The array of bright purple and pink dots signifies the sun rising and setting over the area with a yellow outline representing the walking trails connecting the campsites around Beetaloo," Ms Jackson said.

"We are lucky to have the same piece of artwork hanging in our Crystal Brook depot and it has proved to be a wonderful opportunity for our people to celebrate and learn more about Nukunu dreaming and gain a deeper understanding of the history of the region.

"The land we use to operate water services across the state has rich cultural history.

"As part of reconciliation efforts, we are learning more about this cultural knowledge and building better relationships with the local Aboriginal communities we serve."

Built in the mid-1880s and once considered the biggest concrete dam in the southern hemisphere, the 3.2 gigalitre reservoir is now the smallest of 16 catchments in South Australia.

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