The word had got around, that renowned street artist Adnate was back in Shepparton town to complete part 2 of the Shepparton Aboriginal Street Art project. I wandered into Shepp to take a look…..I park the car in Maude Street on a sunny late summers day in Shepparton. The sky is a brilliant blue and the day is warming up as I leave my parked car and wander towards Fryers Street.
Fryers Street is bustling and the Lemon Tree Café, Nourish health food store and Brother Pablo coffee seem to be doing a good trade with the late morning / early lunch crowd. Fryers Street is fast becoming Shepparton’s Eat Street with numerous choices to feed a hungry soul.
I reach the Goulburn Valley Water laneway and immediately am greeted with the first part of the Aboriginal Street Art project that was completed by Adnate in 2017 featuring William Cooper and Sir Douglas Nicholls. It remains an evocative piece of street art and I pause to reflect on the images and what I have learned of both men since I last visited. However, I have come to see part 2 of this project, and so after a short time, I move on walking the 50 metres or so further down the lane that connects Fryers Street with Stewart Street in the heart of Shepparton.
On the external wall of the Goulburn Valley Water building are the colourful faces of two indigenous women who mean so much to this area. The painting features past elders, aunties Margaret Tucker and Nora Charles. Both are Yorta Yorta women and are remembered for their contribution to activism, government and midwifery. It is worth noting that Aunty Nora Charles was known to travel up and down the length of the Murray River to camps and missions to help Aboriginal women during child birth. This was at a time when Aboriginal women were not able to access hospitals and so she provided a vital service to many Aboriginal women.
I stand for awhile and not only admire that art work, but contemplate Aboriginal history and what little of it I know. It is not something that was taught in school when I was a lad, but it is a culture that is rich and is often described as the oldest continuing living culture on planet Earth.
I slowly make my way back towards Fryers Street, acknowledging that I know not enough about Aboriginal culture or Aboriginal history. As I step through the doors of the Lemon Tree Café and take a seat at a table, I realise that the older I get, the more I want to know and Shepparton is rich in Aboriginal history and seems like a good place to start……