Artists: Barbara Freer, Joylene Lashbrook, Julie Schubert, June Weymouth, Kerri Weymouth, Kerry Murray, Kim O’Connor, Lorna Wigham, Orianah Hughes, Verona Harrison. Facilitators: Julie Montgarrett and Kerri Weymouth
These ‘Bidgee Bunyips’ imagine and bring to life the ancient Wiradjuri story of the dangerous bunyip who lurks in various locations along the Murrumbidgee River waiting to gobble up children! This clever cultural story was a way to keep children water safe and away from the most treacherous parts of the river.
This project is part of Kerri Weymouth’s internship as Local Producer at the Cad Factory, to complete her final year of study towards a Master of Therapeutic Arts at MIECAT, Melbourne.
This project was made possible by Murrumbidgee Council’s drought fund. Special thanks to Kaarin Bruton from Wagga Wagga Art Gallery for including them in Artstate 2020.
ARTISTS AND BUNYIPS
Aunty June Weymouth
Making my Bunyip reminded me of my early childhood, living on the riverbank near the old wharf on the north side of Darlington Point. We used to go down to the Bunyip Hole with the Edwards family. I couldn’t swim so Mr Bill Edwards would carry me across the river to the beach on the other side. I was terrified the Bunyip would get me! This is why I named my Bunyip Bill.
The infamous Bezzie Bunyip drifts down the Bidgee river, hiding in the murky water sure to make you quiver.
If you’re on the banks beware of groups of bubbles; for if he sees the children, he won’t be looking for cuddles.
And whatever you do don’t look into Bezzie’s big green eyes. The magic will hypnotise, and a bunyip slave you will rise.
Binya Bunyip, the land devil, lives on the banks of the Bidgee, in the bark and sticks of his humpy under the large gum tree, stalking through the bushes, conjuring his magic.
He lets out a crippling roar, sure to send you manic! Watch out on the river trails, as Binya jumps out from the scrub, hugs you with his long green claws and gobbles you beneath the shrub!
You’ll find him when you’re all alone, hidden in the river bed. His hair hangs wet and heavy like moving reeds in the Bidgee stream.
Red eyes peering above the water level, watching and waiting for you to look away.
His skin you will not see as he blends in amongst the blowing trees.
His eyes will draw you in, once you see them you are his.
You won’t be able to look away, for what you see will stop you still.
His red mouth will open up, unstitching bit by bit, until it’s wide enough to swallow you whole.
'At the end of the day we can endure much more than we think we can' – Frida Kahlo
'If you truly love Nature, you will find beauty everywhere' –Vincent van Gogh
Bruce the Bunyip has been living in the Murrumbidgee near Darlington Point for a long time. He changes colour with his environment, although his original skin is a deep orange colour.
My bunyip lives in the river and sings, “I love to have a beer with Duncan.”
Late one evening about 30 odd years ago on the darkest night along the riverbanks of the Murrumbidgee, at the Bunyip Hole near the small township of Darlington Point, I was fishing with my husband and shining the torch around to see what I could see. The light stopped still on these two, very large, golden yellow eyes. They were looking at me from the depths of the water. So scared, I could hardly speak. I whispered to my husband to check out these scary eyes. The shy bunyip slowly slipped into the dark of the night as we swiftly kicked up the dirt and headed home, not turning around for anything or anyone.
Remember the old saying, eyes in the back of my head?
My Grandson thinks he’s good enough to eat!
Priscilla Queen of the Murrumbidgee, brings adventures to the deep holes of the river and loves to dance in the most dazzling bling bling, high heels and feathers from the cockatoo. If you listen quietly on a silent night at the Bunyip Hole you can hear the colourful gurgling from the Bunyip party going on in the deepest hole of the river.
Listening to the quiet whispers the very soft whispers
Feeling that space in-between, that movement of energy
Slow down, pay attention, open up to sensations, be present
If you forbid you may find yourself in a fragile space
Movement in the waters at the Bunyip Hole gets attention
The ripples move with the current in an endless connection
Be safe and keep your guard, embody the space
He does, he knows and he comes to new knowings