FORGOTTEN TRUTHS: Peter Mulcahy talks to St Joseph's primary students about the meaning of each Story Pole.
FORGOTTEN TRUTHS: Peter Mulcahy talks to St Joseph's primary students about the meaning of each Story Pole. Contributed

Story telling through posts

RENOWNED artist Peter Mulcahy has spent four days on a special project at St Joseph's School.

Peter painted story poles to reflect the Aboriginal history of the area as well as the key themes of the school.

Peter Muraay Djeripi Mulcahy is a Gamilaroi man whose people closely neighboured this ancient region. Peter has been both a professional fine artist and cultural teacher for 25 years. These story poles were commissioned by Toowoomba Catholic Education on behalf of St Joseph's. The poles consist of four eight-foot by 10-inch cypress dressed timbers.

The poles will be erected vertically in a quiet setting that will include a semicircle of sandstone block seating. The work has been designed with the purpose of being both a beautiful and sacred space, as well as a quiet teaching, reading and reflective space.

The visual content on the poles reflects the local community and the values and mission of St Joseph's. Peter's focus was to take and translate the information given into the pictorial and symbolic imagery of Australia's very own unique and ancient design.

"I believe this work is deep in meaning and value, and speaks to all Australians of our genuine and unique place in the world,'' Peter said.

"The work speaks of deep knowing and forgotten truths. It expresses ways of truly seeing and feeling, it asks us to become aware again of the true complexity within what we today see as simple and mundane. My desire is that this work and its story allows our children to have an awe and respect for things they know little of, while renewing and broadening concepts of beauty and compassion in adults by revisioning how we see.

"I would love my work to bridge the mental divide between old and new Australia, allowing us to finally share, walk, talk and know the greater oneness of what it is to be truly Australian.”

Post meanings:

RED POST - "TRADITIONAL ACKNOWLEDGEMENT”

This work is an acknowledgement to the Traditional owners and custodians.

The hand prints stand for the continual participation, custodianship, stewardship, care for creation/country through Lore in practice and Spirit.

The Artefacts, both top and bottom, recognise the role of men as both hunters and also Guardians of family and country. The centre "bowl shape” represents the scare trees left behind after a Coolamon has been acquired. This speaks of women's sacred role as the carriers of life and the gathers of fruit, vegetables and medicine. She too, is a nurturer, in charge of women's lore and the plant world.

The two men's weapons stand either side of the women's symbol, representing the role of "Guardian of the Sacred.”

The two adjoined circles represent our sacred Bora rings. The larger of the rings for all community in general, dance, song, gatherings and teaching. The path then leads to the smaller circle shown, the small circle representing the men's place of initiation and ceremony.

Finally the boomerang reminds each of us to be conscious of what we bring into and throw out into the world.

YELLOW POST - "LEADERSHIP AND SERVICE LEAVING YOUR MARK”

The hand print represents aboriginal connection to land through acts of care and responsibility through the knowledge of lore.

The large image of the male Kangaroo expresses his leadership through protection and leading from behind. The image of the young Roo's at the top, alert their father to danger, with their better hearing.

The male then steps up as the protector using his bigger, faster and stronger body to fulfil his responsibility to the safety of his mob, teaching us all of the dedication to service and the multiple forms of leadership.

The image of the footprints means more than a mark in the dirt. These footprints stands for the mark we all leave in our life lived. What we do with the time we have been given.

BLUE POST - "THE TWO EAGLES”

The two Eagles representing Connection, something to look up to and live up to.

Representations of the Creator, also visions of our ancestral watchers.

The lines encircling the Eagles are representations of the Ancient but ever present Song Lines. These lines crisscross the Australian Nation, revealing the trails of the Ancient creation being sent forth by the creator himself. These forever songs are stomped and danced up out of the ground and sung on the wind back down to Gunii maa (Mother Earth) by the birds.

These songs, these vibrations, are on the wind and within the very earth itself. They are the energy line, the living life force within the living earth. Without ancient knowledgeable practice and maintenance, these life lines, the earth itself becomes depleted and sick.

The circle at the very top is our representation of the "Shaper and Maker of All Things, "Bwudjarr” Fathers..... Fathers.... Father.

This symbol reminds us the Creator had no start and no beginning, all came from the One.

GREEN POST - "COMPASSION, UNDERSTANDING SOCIAL JUSTICE AWARNESS OF SELF AND PURPOSE.”

The beautiful iconic Australian Wattle, bright and bold, standing proud and strong, full of knowing and identity. The baby Wattle reminds us of those with under privilege lives, those with weakened identity that suffer insecurity and anxiety. This baby Wattle shows the two types of leaves on the one leaf, " Who am I? What am I to become?”. These people require those that exist in the world of privilege to show and express compassion.

The hand prints here acknowledges our 100 000 year old history, "Templates of Humanity” that give us all the potential to be greater, wise and more aware Australians.

The mountains, show the stone country of the region and represent protection.

The stars "MIRII” are spoken of as the great campfires in the Sky. It is here in the millions of stars in the Milky Way which we in Gamilaraay call "Warrumbul”. We acknowledge Ballima (Heaven) the place that all black fellas go after the full completion of the life experience, where they sit with the ancestors that came before them.

The star constellation shown is that of "Yarran”, one of the most ancient Australian name for the newly name Southern Cross.

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