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Byron Shire
May 24, 2024

‘Angwirri’ greets the dawn upon Sydney icon

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Frances Belle Parker’s ‘Angwirri’ on the Opera House sails. Angwirri – pronounced Ung-wer-ri – means begin to talk in Yaygirr Language from Maclean NSW. Photo Australia Day Council of NSW – Photographer Anna Kucera

‘Angwirri’, meaning ‘begin to talk’, is the name of a sensational piece of Indigenous art that greeted the dawn on the sails of the Sydney Opera House today.

Local artist Frances Belle Parker, a proud Yaegl woman, said that the colours are inspired by the vast array of colours present in the Australian landscape and coastline. ‘The brown linear design symbolises a mapping of country/coastline.

‘The circle markings depict the 250 plus Aboriginal Language groups present in Australia and the linear marks represent the 200 nationalities that call Australia home.’

Ms Belle Parker said by creating this work, she gave herself the opportunity to help tell a story. ‘It not only represents who we are as a nation but it also gives people a wider understanding of Aboriginal Culture and how valuable it really is to our identity as a nation.’

Frances Belle Parker with ‘Angwirri’ in Sydney this morning. Photo supplied.

Two flags raised together over Sydney Harbour

For the first time on Australia Day, the Sydney Opera House sails were lit up at dawn with Indigenous art in recognition of Australia’s First Nations people. Shortly after first light, the Aboriginal flag was raised alongside the Australian flag on the Sydney Harbour Bridge.

These two significant dawn moments set the tone for Australia Day 2021 across NSW with a focus on reflecting and respecting all that makes our country so special.

Ms Belle Parker, a mother and artist from Maclean, said she is proud to have designed the projection to represent the oldest living culture in the world.

‘Our sense of belonging to the land is something that is intrinsically embedded into our being, and as First Nations people we are responsible for sharing the truth of our history.’

A time for inclusion, understanding and reconciliation

Yvonne Weldon, Chair of Metropolitan Local Aboriginal Land Council said it’s a time for inclusion and the opportunity for greater understanding and reconciliation between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal Australians. A time to draw on the strength and resilience of our First People.

‘The raising of the Aboriginal Flag at the outset of Australia Day symbolises a deep respect for Aboriginal people and culture within New South Wales – in the first State, at first light we recognise our First Nations,’ said Ms Weldon.

‘It is an important moment to remember that Australia’s First Nation’s people are the foundation of our nation’s story. It is important to acknowledge and honour the sacrifices and we thank the ancestors for their custodianship for thousands of generations.’

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  1. An impressive art work and just beautiful being projected on the Opera House. Please can we dump that silly Melbourne Cup colours and numbers and stick with Indigenous Artworks.

  2. Begin to talk? Like nobody has been talking for hundreds of years. From my experience the talk just ends in violence. The latest in a pyschological war, bone pointing, it won’t end til the new aristocrats are installed, it won’t end then, there is no end to childish want. This won’t be published because whoever reads it knows no actual history, which mainly has to be recorded and then debated. Hand prints and food sources in diagram are basic history, about grade 1. Get real, it took probably 100 technicians to create this mural, and the design on bark would be impossible.

  3. I have ancestors. I can only thank them by knowing of them, mainly through records, some stories passed down, and for most that is all family history is. Apart from carrying genes. Wider and broader history, however, records more than that, the progression and regression, the culminations and abbreviations. Like Tolstoy said, parenthetically, all play a part. And now we all do want to play a part, we’re told that’s the part to play. Like marionettes. The power and the passion. So we take the deepest dive. The hardest line. Just because we care … caring is the first thing we lose in facetious ideology. We might count on our fingertips, where it starts, understanding. Then what?

  4. Some Aztec rituals may seem odd & the beginnings of what was once pre UK. Where are we going here?
    Bone pointing’s not new to me since my grandmother, b. 1901 in the far north, played happily with local
    aboriginal kids. Children interact & get along – no problems. No room to hate let alone assume the worst.
    So… a bone had several uses & it’s not a gun. I’ll leave it there. Nuclear powered war – world wide- is by
    far more dangerous.


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