A Letter from the Mayor of Bunbury

Over the twenty-two years that Bunbury and Jiaxing have been friendship cities. There have been many business and government delegations in addition to many exchanges in culture and education. Both cities have benefited from the exchange of cultures which has brought us closer together in friendship and understanding. 

This collection of Noongar paintings is in response to the Modern Folk Paintings of Xiuzhou which were sent to Bunbury from China as a celebration of our time together as Friendship cities.These paintings were originally intended to be shipped to Jiaxing for exhibition, but are now exhibited online due to Covid regulations.

The local Noongar artists featured in this collection have drawn from their personal knowledge and cultural experiences with connection to country, their families, their stories, and their individual and shared histories. This has resulted in a beautiful collection that shows the deep connection to country and living culture. 

We are deeply honoured that the artists from China and from the Bunbury Geographe Region have participated in this artistic exchange and interpretation of their respective homes.

Jaysen De San Miguel
Mayor of Bunbury







A Letter from the Wadandi Noongar Elder

Kaya, wandju to our collection of 20 artworks from Artists residing on Wadandi Noongar Country, Bunbury Geographe Western Australia.

We invite you to enjoy this collection of work that each artist has responded to in looking at how we represent Noongar Country. The concept of Country here in our Culture is wrapped in our identity as Aboriginal Australians. As artists we have responded to the land, the elements, the ocean, the native animals and the seasonal wildflowers. Each painting has a story that interprets these elements that are important to each artist and their cultural identity.

Our stories are connected to the six seasons and legend. Our land brings different foods and medicines, the elements of rain, wind, cold, heat; knowledge that has been passed from generation to generation.

We come from country. We share our country and our way of speaking for our country.We are happy to send the spirit and heart from our place, Wadandi Country to your Country as a gift sent across the waters.

Lera Bennell,

Elder and Traditional Owner Wadandi Noongar Country,on behalf of the participating artists.









 - Online Exhibition -


作者:Amanda Bell



Amanda Bell

Wadan Djerabiny (Ocean Love)

I was born by the sea in Whadjuk Country and came to live by the sea on Wadandi land. In this painting, I represent that place where I grew up, and how special it is to me. 

The Tuart forest, poplar trees, fantastic wildflowers, the coastal rocks that are scattered on our coastline, the Wonnerup wetlands and Undalup; my town by the sea, are all represented in this painting. 

I use the colours of the coast and the bay, the shore, and the sky. The Southern Cross, a collection of stars which float in our southern sky, and on our national flag is represented in each corner. 

I have also used lots of gold to give a sense of how precious this place is to me, and all who live here. 


作者:Brady Haeusler



Brady Haeusler

The Rainbow Serpent

The Rainbow serpent slithers and slides across Australia leaving behind rivers, dams and water holes which bring water there for life to the land. Feeding the animals and plants of the Australian wildlife.


作者:Dellas Bennell



Dellas Bennell

Djilba Wildflowers

The Noongar Season of Djilba is a happy time with our mothers and grandmothers, walking through the bush looking for wildflowers.

Along the way we share stories of their use for food and medicine, this valuable knowledge has been passed down for generations. 

There are 14 varieties of wildflowers in my painting, with the star being the white spider orchid. 


作者:Erica Anthony



Erica Anthony

The Laughing Kookaburra

The laughing kookaburra is not really laughing when it makes its familiar call. The cackle of its laughter is actually a territory call to warn other birds to stay away. It is a large Kingfisher.

It is said two little boys were playing a trick on a lizard. The two birds looked at each other and started to laugh, and then that is how they began to laugh.

Dreamtime or Dreaming for Australian Aboriginal people represents the time when the Ancient Spirits progressed over the land and created life and important physical and geographic formations and sites.

The past of the spirit Ancestors which live on in the legends are handed down through stories, art, ceremony and songs. 

作者: Joanne Ugle



Joanne Ugle

Making a Grass Bowl

The grass bowl or basket would traditionally be made with Balga (grass tree) leaves, Boyoo (Zamia palm) leaves, grass reeds and even hair.

The basket can be used to carry things, some baskets were used to holds seeds in running water. Boyoo (Zamia palm) seeds are normally toxic. Soaking in water for a few days removes the toxicity, the grass basket was used was used to hold seeds while they soaked.

My grandmother used to make bowls from Boyoo leaves. She would use her thumbnail to cut/ strip the leaves into the right size and weave them together. This technique can be used for making mats for bedding or sitting on.

For my painting I wanted to capture the making of a grass bowl, showing the hands working. I thought about my grandmother while I painted.

作者:Joyce Dimer (1954-2020)



Joyce Dimer [1954 - 2020]


Inspired by the wildflowers of Western Australia.

Featuring the Banksia, Gum nuts, Kangaroo paws and smaller wildflowers.

The gum leaves are displayed as the backdrop for the scene.
Joyce Dimer was a local elder. Born in Pingelly Western Australia. Joyce has been a resident of Bunbury for 47 years. 


作者:Korrine Bennell


Korrine Bennell

Wetj Makuru

As the sun goes down in Wardandi Boodja, the wetj dances through the clearing as it makes its way home during Makuru. Wardandi is my tribe and Boodja my land. Makuru is the winter season. Wetj is the Noongar word for Emu, a large flightless bird that has a strong foundation in Noongar culture and customs. 

My painting features three colours: Red, Black and Yellow. Not only do these colours depict a sunset but also are cross-cultural by representing culture for both Noongar and Chinese. These colours are a huge part of identity and belonging. 

For Noongar people: Red is for earth. Yellow is the sun and life, and black depicts people, tribes and nations. For Chinese people: Red is for happiness, success and good fortune. Yellow depicts royalty and earth, and the neutral colour Black symbolises water and wintertime. 

作者:Leanne Zilm



Leanne Zilm

The Ter – Ter

My name is Leanne Zilm and I am a descendant of the Wudjari and Goreng Noongar tribal groups of the southwest of Western Australia. Being on Noongar country fills me with great happiness and joy, especially when I go home to Wudjari country at Bremer Bay near the Fitzgerald National Park; one of Australia's most scenic and botanically significant parks. There are so many amazingly beautiful flowering plants in the park that attract the nectar and insect eating birds. I love to sit and watch them flitting between the flowers, bushes and trees.

The inspiration for my artwork is the bird that I watch out for the most, the little blue Splendid Fairy Wren or Ter-Ter in our Noongar language. The Ter-Ter is very elusive and doesn't come out of the bush very often  but when he does his family is with him. They jump  around on the ground looking for insects but quickly  jump back into the bush again.

The Noongar legend from long ago says the male Ter-Ter had two wives and they shared their labours in nest building, and in hatching and feeding the young, while the husband took care of them. They had to be careful of Cootup the Sparrowhawk because he liked to eat the little ones, which is why they are so elusive and not often seen.

You know you've had a good day when you see a Ter-Ter.

作者:Lera Bennell



Lera Bennell


Hi, my name is Lera Bennell from Bunbury W.A I am a Wilman- Wadandi Elder.I am one of 10 children from parents Henry and Violet Bennell [Dec].

During my childhood we moved around the South West, Noongar Country, as my father was a labourer and worked on farms and railways. We lived in tin camps, tents and old native welfare houses in Darkan. The houses consisted of cemented floors, 3 rooms only. 2 bedrooms and a kitchen with no running water. We used the garden tap near the entrance to the house. Toilet block. Wash trough.

All Noongar reserves built the ablution showers and toilet blocks.

At Pingelly Reserve - Cement blocks were made and built in squares and rectangles for showers and toilets and wash troughs for our people, I see this minimalisation of architecture equivalent to a minimalisation of our culture.


作者: Marjorie Ugle



Marjorie Ugle

Karrak – Cockatoo

They are either White tails, Red Tails or Yellow and Grey. They are South West native birds.

Djeran is the season of the wildflowers. 

Djeran is August and September. Karrak eat wildflowers, our trees are Banksia and Bottlebrush.  Karrak eat the nuts and seeds.


作者:Phillip Hansen



Phillip Hansen

Australian Bush at Sunset

Kangaroo, Emu, Lizards, Cockatoo- animals and birds that are all living and part of our Australian Bush. 

I love to paint, it takes me to a peaceful space where I am travelling through country and being amazed by the living beauty, colour and space of our bush.

My paintings don't have to be a particular place,  they are a combination of everywhere I have been  and imagine. I love to use strong vibrant colours to  show my country. At sunset the animals and birds  start to move, have a last feed and take shelter for the night. 

My works always have eucalyptus trees, rocks and  animals. I try to capture a lizard on a rock or up a  tree, so you look for him, just like when you are in  the bush and suddenly find one watching!


作者:Rhona Wallam



Rhona Wallam

The Evening Light

A Wilman, Wardandi Elder. I loved watching people paint and I learnt a lot just watching. Now I just like  messing around with paint, and I like using a lot of  colour.

I have painted and given Art lessons to children and community groups throughout my painting life.

I love owning the colour, colour inspires me. 

The landscapes do not have to be a particular place: it is a scene that flows through me in a celebration  of country.


作者:Shannon Clohessy



Shannon Clohessy

Moort Kwala – Family Song Lines

This painting represents my connection to country and some of the song lines of my family.

As a Wadandi yorga –saltwater woman these places along the coast and in the break of the waves is where I feel most at home.

This section of the coast tells of my first connection to the salt water, where my family camped and played as children. Where I first 'swam' in the ocean at a few months old with my mum. It shows the 'castles' in the rocks I played in with my sister and brother on our holidays. The fishing places my grandad use to fish at are marked. All of these are special core memories tied so strongly to who I am and intrinsically linked to family, country and the salt water. 
作者:Stephen Taylor


Stephen Taylor
Using the colours of the Aboriginal flag Red –the land and blood, Yellow – Sun and Black being the colour of the skin: I want to depict the whole picture of how Indigenous culture in Australia is imbedded into our current life. What we have now.

Looking at the foreground you have the Emu and Kangaroo two native animals that are the national Australian emblems. The Black Swan being the Western Australian emblem.

The didgeridoo player represents me and my immersion in the total way of being aboriginal now of this country.

The stars constellation is the Union Jack and the Southern Cross on the Australian flag!

This painting represents me as an artist in living culture now. Looking to the future, I aim to connect  with people and educate in cultural knowledge  through my art practice.


作者:Tahlia Bennell


Djinda Djildjit 是原住民语言,代表海星。作者作为一位原住民艺术家通过对自己过往经历的回溯和对未来的展望,表达对故土和海洋的深沉感情。

Tahlia Bennell

Djinda Djildjit Dreaming Maambakoort Coral Connection / Starfish Dreaming Saltwater Connection 

It is based on my journey past, present and future as a noongar artist and my connection to noongar land and sea.


作者:Tracy Bellotti

作品:Boodja 的野花




Tracy Bellotti 

Noongar Boodja Wildflowers 

My name is Tracy Bellotti and I am a descendant of the Wudjari and Goreng Noongar tribal groups of the south west of Western Australia. 

Over thousands of years, Aboriginal people in Australia formed a deep understanding of the natural environment in order to survive. The deep connection with 'Country' – the land, sea, sky, rivers, sites, seasons, plants and animals that surround us, can be a difficult concept for non-Aboriginal people to grasp. Our relationship with the land and the living environment goes beyond physical elements; there is a spiritual intimacy associated with the land, which remains fundamental to the identity and way of life of many of our people. It is the belief that everything is connected, the past, the present, the people, the land, the sea and all of its plants and animals; it is holistic and all-encompassing.

My artwork is inspired by the love and spiritual connection that I feel for my country. I love walking amongst our beautiful native flora on Noongar Boodja; the connection with country and nature gives me an overwhelming feeling of peace and calm in all mind, body and spirit, allowing me as an artist to relax and explore my creative journey.

There are an astounding 24,000 species of native plants in Australia. My artwork depicts five common species that grow in the south west Noongar region of Western Australia.


作者:Troy Bennell


Troy Bennell

As a young man, an artist I was involved in the first  Noongar art works to go to China. I visited Jiaxing with the artworks, performed dance and played Didgeridoo. 

I met with local people and saw the garden there in honour of Bunbury.

Now 20 years on as a grandfather, I present my painting with my image of Balga – my strength, the four flowers[stamens] representing my 4 daughters and my granddaughter has put her handprint in the  background. This is my story of DNA. The colours  are the 6 Noongar seasons that I represent in all of  my artwork.

This bush, the Balga is the symbol of strength in our country. Choosing this represents the strong connections between our countries.


The City of Bunbury would like to acknowledge the Wardandi Noongar People as the traditional custodians of the land we are situated on, and pay our respects to elders past, present and future. We would also like to acknowledge the following organisations, groups and people for their contribution to making this exchange of cultures a reality.

Jaysen Miguel, Mayor of Bunbury

Karen Morgan, Noongar Art Coordinator, Bunbury Regional Art Gallery
City of Bunbury, Australia
City of Jiaxing, Zhejiang Province, China
Indigenous Visual Arts Industry Support

致   谢