The child of today takes her place in the world because of the vision, passion and advocacy of Aboriginal women like Aunty Pearl Gibbs.
Created by Melbourne-based artist, Adnate, this landmark work pays tribute to a woman who first drew public attention in defence of other Aboriginal people in the 1920s. Pearl Gibbs only stepped away from her activist platform with her death in 1983. She knew and worked with almost every major Aboriginal activist in 20th-century Australia.
“Will my appeal for practical humanity be in vain?” – Pearl Gibbs (quote on the wall)
Gibbs was secretary of the Aborigine Progressive Association (1942), vice president and then secretary of the Dubbo branch of the Australian Aborigines League (1946) and organising secretary of the Council of Aboriginal Rights (1953). She was the first and only female member of the NSW Aborigines Welfare Board (1954-57). In 1956 she founded the Aboriginal Australian Fellowship. Subsequently, she established the first Aboriginal hostel in Dubbo for those requiring hospital treatment. A passionate and fluent public speaker, Gibbs fuelled debate on Aboriginal politics, focusing on women’s issues and full citizen rights.
Dubbo-based artists Dylan Goolagong and Nathan Peckham worked with Adnate on the background and design elements of the work.
BREAKER MORANT (1864 – 1902) by Ha Ha portrays one of the more colourful characters of the region’s history. Lieutenant Henry Harboard (Harry) Morant is perhaps better known for the manner of his death before a firing squad than what he did in life. Born in England, he spent some time in Australia reportedly breaking as many hearts as horses, often on the move from women and debt. In 1899 when the Boer War began, Morant was in Adelaide and he joined the 2nd Contingent, South Australian Mounted Rifles. He was executed by firing squad in 1902 after being charged with the execution of Boer prisoners. Morant spent some time in western NSW. There’s a memorial to Morant at Bogan Gate, NSW.
Commissioned by Walkom Bros., the WALL OF SPORTING GREATS by Ha Ha on the corner of 1 Church Street & Bligh Street celebrates a selection of 11 sporting greats of and from Dubbo and the region, across a range of eras and sports. This is not a comprehensive or conclusive list, with many more sporting greats from this region remaining for BOOMDubbo to nominate in future.
They include: Glenn McGrath (cricket), Ernie Toshack (cricket), Melinda Gainsford-Taylor (athletics), Andrew Ryan (rugby league), Don Parish (rugby league), Jon White (rugby union), Greg Ryan (racing), Phillip Dutton (equestrian), Megan Dunn (cycling), Brian Tink (boxing), Ian Drake (cricket/tennis). Watch the making of the portraits in our time-lapse video.
PORTRAITS & BIOGRAPHIES (left to right on wall)
Ian Drake (1939 – 1992), Dubbo: Considered Dubbo’s best and most consistent all-round sportsman, Drake not only captained local and regional representative cricket sides, but was thought of as a ‘fine’ squash, tennis and table tennis player.
Don Parish (1937 – ), Dubbo: The rugby league fullback toured with the 1959-60 Kangaroos, making his Test debut on the 1961 New Zealand tour. He played in Australia’s First Test loss to Great Britain the following year – his last international match. Parish had a long career playing and coaching with the West Magpies until 1976.
Andrew Ryan (1978 – ), Dubbo: The rugby league second-rower played in NSW, Country and Kangaroos sides several times throughout his career. Ryan played 286 first grade games – 219 with the Bulldogs (including being skipper) over nine years, retiring in 2011.
Megan Dunn (1991 – ), Dubbo: A dual gold medalist at the 2010 Commonwealth Games, two years prior Dunn was named Australian Junior Female Cyclist of the Year.
Brian Tink (1958 – ), Dubbo: In 1975, Tink (as a flyweight) was the only Australian boxer to win both junior and senior Australian titles in the one year. He boxed in the 1976 Montreal Games, achieving a placing of 15/39 in the 54kg men’s event.
Phillip Dutton (1963 – ), Nyngan: Dutton is a dual Olympic gold medalist, as a member of the Australian three-day eventing team at the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta and in 2000 in Sydney. He represented Australia in three Olympics and four World Championships.
Melinda Gainsford-Taylor (1971 – ), Narromine: Gainsford-Taylor was ranked No. 1 in the world at age 14 for the 100m. She represented Australia at three Olympic Games, including Sydney in 2000, where she was voted the female Captain of the team.
Glenn McGrath AM (1970 – ), Narromine: Cricketer, McGrath has taken more wickets than any other Australian fast bowler in One Day Internationals. He’s also recognised for his work with the McGrath Foundation of which he is president.
Ernie Toshack (1914 – 2003), Cobar: Toshack played cricket for Australia and NSW – and was known for being a bit of a larrikin. He was a member of the team led by Sir Donald Bradman (Bradman’s Invincibles) that toured England without defeat in 1948.
Greg Ryan (1965 – ), Dubbo: Professional jockey, Ryan equaled an Australian riding milestone in 2015 (achieved by just two other jockeys), tallying 3,322 winning rides to draw level with the mark established by the late Jack Thompson.
Jon White (1935 – ) Yeoval/Wellington: Considered one of the best rugby union props ever produced by Australia, White debuted in 1958 and retired in 1965 and has 24 test rugby caps to his name.
Commissioned by Walkom Bros, this work is on Bligh Street, on the corner of 1 Church Street.
SIR SIDNEY KIDMAN (1857 – 1935) by Poncho Army pays tribute to a man known as ‘The Cattle King’, owner/co-owner of the largest areas of land in Australia, including property around Broken Hill and Tibooburra in far western NSW. S.Kidman & Co is still Australia’s largest cattle producers (at the time of publishing this information the company properties are for sale).
SIR HENRY (KATER’S RAM) by Poncho Army is a tribute to pastoralist, Sir Henry Kater (1841 – 1924), who established the Egelabra Merino Stud at Warren in 1906. The stud is still owned by the Kater family. It’s fitting to recognise the role that agriculture has had in making this part of regional Australia what it is today.
BEN HALL by Poncho Army has an uncanny resemblance to Aussie actor, Heath Ledger. Hall was a grazier on property about 50km south of Forbes prior to becoming a bushranger. He was associated with some daring raids across an area from Bathurst to Forbes, Goulburn to Gundagai. He was fatally shot by police in 1865, four days short of his 28th birthday at Goobang Creek (the Newell Highway crosses Goobang Creek at Parkes). Hall is buried at Forbes.
Watch Poncho Army at work and Ben Hall the mural in the making, courtesy of Bushtelly Productions. Music by The Watt Riot (thanks to Trina Collins).
Commissioned by BTP, this work is located behind Network Video/Tobacco Station, 213 Macquarie Street.
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COLLEEN’S THORN BIRD by Poncho Army is a tribute to Wellington-born Colleen McCullough (1937 – 2015) and the book that brought her literary fame – The Thorn Birds (1977). It changed the former neuroscientist’s life forever, giving up her medical research work to write. The Thorn Birds became a mini-series in the 1980s and the second highest rated miniseries of all time in the US (after Roots).
KATE LEIGH by Poncho Army is designed around one of her mug shots. Born in Dubbo in 1881, Leigh had a neglected childhood that saw her in a girls’ home at the age of 12. She was notorious in Sydney during the period of the 1920 razor gang wars, going on to become one of Sydney’s wealthiest women during the 1930s and 40s before dying in poverty in 1964 at the age of 83.