“From Dream Time to Show Time”
Have you seen the beautiful cultural signage near the main gate of the Lismore showground? And the impressive murals along the toilet block near the top gate?
The North Coast Agricultural and Industrial Society (A&I) – the Lismore showground operators – were successful in securing funding from Federal Department SEWPAC in 2013 to install the interpretative signage and murals that explain the Aboriginal heritage and history of the Lismore Showground site, which is a former bora ring. The signage explains the very interesting history and significance of this site. The murals, designed and painted by local Aboriginal artists, also depict the history of the site- from bora ring to modern day showground: from dream time to show time.
A committee of Aboriginal representatives worked hard on the project during 2013 and early 2014. Here are some words from the committee:
“For the Aboriginal people of Banyam/Baigham (North Lismore) the landscape around the show ground holds deep spiritual significance.
“The landscape is a product of our dreaming and creation stories told to us by our ancestors. These stories are passed from generation to generation to this day.
“This place, now known as the Lismore Showground, was traditionally used as a Wandarahn (bora ring). The showground and go-kart track cover the main Wandarahn area, which was also connected to smaller rings.
“This Wandarahn is of cultural significance throughout the Bundjalung and surrounding Aboriginal Nations as an important gathering place associated with Lore. It was used for local and regional cultural ceremonies, including initiations, marriage arrangements and corroborees. Trade was conducted amongst the local and visiting groups. Items that were traded included ochres, stone axes, shells and Bunya pine seeds and many more items.
“You can learn more from the beautiful signage and murals installed at the showground.”
This project was suggested to the A&I by the Lismore Show’s Aboriginal Committee, which was formed in 2010. The Committee identified the need to acknowledge and interpret the significance of this important site, to improve their connection to it and to improve community understanding of this much utilised place.
Banyam/Baigham Art Space
The Banyam/Baigham Art Space at the Lismore Showground first opened in 2010 as part of the North Coast National’s 125th Anniversary Show. The art space was an initiative of the Aboriginal Committee that was formed the same year.
Each year at the North Coast National, the Art Space showcases local Aboriginal art work and is run by volunteers from the Aboriginal community and their friends.
The annual Schools Aboriginal Art Competition is also on display during the Show (sponsored since 2012 by First Sun Employment).
The Banyam/Baigham Art Space welcomes everyone to come and look at beautiful works in both traditional and modern styles, have a yarn or see an artist in action!
The Banyam/Baigham Art Space won first prize in 2012 for Best Outdoor Pavilion Exhibition.
Bundjalung Elders Tent
Since the 2010 North Coast National, the A&I Society and the Lismore Show Aboriginal Committee have worked together every year to provide a welcoming space for Bundjalung Elders and friends. The Lismore Showground is located on an important former bora ring site – a gathering place of great significance, where people both Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal still enjoy gathering today.
The Bundjalung Elders Tent (located adjacent to the Banyam/Baigham Art Space) is an informal and relaxed place for Elders from the Bundjalung Nation to get together, catch up and have a yarn and enjoy a light lunch in a quiet spot away from the main hustle and bustle of the Show.
The A&I Society and the Aboriginal Committee gratefully acknowledge the following Bundjalung Elders Tent sponsors:
– NSW Northern Rivers YWCA at Goonellabah
– Interrelate, Lismore