An over-riding ethos of Aboriginal people is to ‘care for country’ and life depended on it. Caring and associated conservation were achieved through: rights and responsibilities; totemic, gender and age restrictions; valuing water; seasonal and selective food gathering so that plants and animals could regenerate; and education from generation to generation, through story, song, dance and example. Firing the land, sometimes unintentionally, having at hand only manual weapons and tools, and no restriction of habitats with roads and fences, also explain conservation of country.
This quilt is part of a 16 piece ‘Noongar Country, Wetland Glimpses’ quilt set made by WA Inspired Art Quilters, a West Australian Quilters’ Association group. The 40cm x 60cm quilts depict aspects of wetlands on the Swan Coastal Plain - swamps, estuaries and rivers, and native plants and animals. Text describes what is depicted on the quilts in terms of relevance to traditional Noongar culture. Noongar people were first custodians of the Swan Coastal Plain.
The quilt set was created in the spirit of reconciliation with the Noongar community, and for educative purposes. Accordingly, the following were carried out.
Noongar consultation in 2018 included
- appraisal by the Shire of Cockburn Aboriginal Reference Group, Perth, June 19
- viewing by Noongar elders at the Western Australian Museum, Albany, July 9, arranged by the Museum
- viewing by Noongar elder women of the City of Perth, August, arranged by the City of Perth
Initially, the quilt set was exhibited, and talks given about them, at the following venues:
- Western Australian Museum, Albany, July 8 - 29, 2018
- City of Perth Library, August 21 - November 19, 2018
- WA Wetland Management Conference, Cockburn Wetlands Centre, February 1, 2019
- Australasian Quilt Convention, Melbourne, April 11 -14, 2019
Materials and techniques: Aboriginal fabric, Possum Land and Water Dreaming designed by Heather Kennedy; machine applique, hand embroidery, hand and machine quilting.
600 x 400 mm
Extensive research underpins the quilt set including from Noongar oral histories, academic works by indigenous and non-indigenous scholars, Native Title submissions, and early settlers' diaries. Quotations relevant to each quilt are available in a digital booklet.