Project: Birabahn (and Threlkeld)

8 February – 24 March 2013

The Aboriginal Reference Group in collaboration with the gallery launched this project in February 2013 to be developed over the next 18 months. As a starting point, the project drew on the relationship between the Aboriginal leader Birabahn and the Reverend Threlkeld in the early 19th century. Between them, Birabahn and Thelkeld interpreted some of the local Aboriginal language and culture into written English, forming the basis for much current research.

The launch exhibition in February-March 2013 featured an excerpt of the film of the performance of Ngarrama: lakeside dialogue between Birabahn, Threlkeld and …, written by Ray Smith and Brian Joyce in consultation with the community, and filmed by John Kirk for The University of Newcastle. The play explores the first contact history of Lake Macquarie through historic and contemporary research and relationships.

A gallery project directed by the Aboriginal Reference Group

[image right] Performance of Ngarrama in the gallery grounds, November 2006. Left to right: Brian Joyce, Rod Smith and Ursula Yovich.

Photo: Brian Joyce, Rod Smith and Ursula Yovich in a performance of 'Ngarrama' at the gallery