Canoe People sculpture
Public Art: Canoe People sculpture
Sculptor: © Amanda Feher
Sculptor's Website: www.amandafeher.com.au
Artist: © Billy Doolan
Description: The galvanized steel Canoe People
sculpture was inspired by a drawing of "Canoe People" by Aboriginal artist Billy Doolan. The Amanda
and Billy then collaborated on the sculpture, which depicts two Wulgurukaba "canoe" People fishing in their
traditional canoe. The figure at the back is paddling, while the figure at the bow stands with spear at the ready.
There are two very important elements to the "Canoe People" artwork. Firstly, the sculpture is located at
a traditional meeting point for the Wulgurukaba peoples and it is right near a Canoe Tree ,commonly known as a
Terpentine. Secondly, both artists worked hard on creating an authentic design as possible for the
traditional fishing spear .
Artist's Statement: 'One of the things that was important for both Billy and
I with this sculpture was that it appeared natural and that it would actually look like it was “on the
Funded By: The Canoe People sculpture was funded by the Jezzine Barracks Community Trust as part of the Jezzine
Barracks Redevelopment Project.
Date Unveiled: 2013
Location: The Canoe People sculpture is located in
the ethno-botanical area in the north-western corner of the precinct of the Jezzine Barracks, looking out over Rose
Bay, Townsville, Queensland, Australia.
Wulgurukaba Traditional Owners : Wulgurukaba
Traditional Owners are also known as Canoe People. Their canoes were made from the bark of the corkwood or
Turpentine trees. They are descendants of the ‘dreamtime’ (told through Gabul the Rainbow Serpent creation
story) and the first custodians of Magnetic Island and areas west to the Reid River; south to the Haughton
River and north as far as Rollingstone. For thousands of years they have travelled within these boundaries
according to the seasons.
They also shaped and sharpened stone heads for their spears and axes by grinding them against
sandstone, granite or basalt.
Jezzine Barracks Redevelopment Project :
The Jezzine Barracks / Kissing Point / Garabarra precinct is a former military site and home of
Traditional Owners, the Wulgurukaba people and the Bindal people.
In July 2009 the Commonwealth Government handed over the 15 hectares of the former Jezzine Barracks
to the Townsville City Council to ensure that the historic site would not be sold to commercial interests, but
would be preserved and appropriately developed in the public interest.
The Jezzine Barracks Redevelopment Project commemorates both the military and Aboriginal heritage
of the Jezzine Barracks, Kissing Point and Garabarra. One of the highlights of the project is the 33 specially
commissioned public artworks at the Kissing Point headland. The public artworks were created by 13 Aboriginal and
11 non-Aboriginal artists from Townsville, North Queensland and Queensland, all inspired by either Aboriginal
stories or military history .
Twenty of the installations are inspired by traditional Aboriginal elders stories. The stories were
originally depicted in drawings produced by the Aboriginal artists, then in collaboration with installation artists
were developed into public sculptures.
Eight of the works are inspired by the the military history of the site and the Kennedy
Acknowledgements: Thank you to Amanda Feher for so
kindly providing the images of your inspiring and touching work.