Lismore Showground Aboriginal Heritage Signs

The Lismore Showground is of special significance to Bundjalung people as it was a site for large gatherings for people who came from throughout Bundjalung Country and neighbouring Countries. As a Showground, at the annual Lismore Show, it continued to be a meeting place.

The Lismore Show Aboriginal Committee started planning a Heritage Signage project in 2012 and made an Aboriginal Heritage Grant funding application to the Federal Government. The application was funded in March 2013.

Sign writing workshop
Writing workshop, Lismore Showground, August 2013

Initial meetings were spent planning the research and writing process, with Cynthia McDermott as Project Manager, Aunty Thelma James as Community Liaison Contact, and Aunty Ros Sten, Jenny Smith, Dianne Harrington and Uncle Micky Ryan as committee members. Gilbert Laurie, Oral Roberts, Eric Ferguson and Rob Smith agreed to create a large mural that is also part of the project. I was honoured to be invited to be part of the project as a Researcher.

We gathered words and photos from the community at three yarn-ups, and spent hours together writing the text of the signs. We then shared the images and text with Elders to get their feedback in October 2013. Some of the images for the signs also came from the work of artists Eric Ferguson and Gilbert Laurie.

The signs were designed by Rebecca Kocass at Armsign and installed for the official opening on 25 January 2014.

Lismore Showground Aboriginal Heritage Signs
The installed signs
Lismore Showground Aboriginal Heritage Signage Committe at the opening of the signs
At the opening 25 January 2014: Aunty Thelma James, Eric Ferguson, Cynthia McDermott, Uncle Micky Ryan, Jenny Smith, Aunty Ros Sten, Rob Garbutt, and Rob Smith

The murals by Gilbert Laurie, Oral Roberts, Eric Ferguson and Rob Smith were installed July 2014. A small book that draws on the sign text and images, Banyam/Baigham Wandarahn: Reconnecting to Lismore Showground, was funded by Southern Cross University and ready for launch at the October 2014 Lismore Show.

The book from the project