Southern Riverina news
A piece of local folklore in Albury
Former Finley woman Trish Cerminara (nee Sibraa) has used one of her favourite stories growing up as inspiration for her latest artwork.
She was one of four Aboriginal artists chosen to create an art installation for a new walking trail, called The Crossing Trail, in the Albury/Wodonga area.
Her contribution to the project, ‘The Bunyip’, is based on a story told to her about a creature in the Billabong Creek at Jerilderie.
“This story was from my great grandmother,” she said.
“She told us, when we lived in Jerilderie near the billabong, that if we went near the water the Bunyip would eat us.
“This is a legacy for me as I am fast approaching my 70s.
“My concept was also to deter children from going near the water and drowning.
“My childhood growing up in Finley was also reflected in my concept, as we would regularly swim at Dawes Bridge.
“Art and being creative is also very important to me, along with the importance of sharing my culture.”
Mrs Cerminara said the Bunyip is a large creature from Aboriginal mythology.
“The word Bunyip is translated by Aboriginal Australians today as ‘evil spirit’,” she said.
“Nan said it’s a water spirit and it protects us from going near the water and drowning. She said it lurked in swamps, billabongs, creeks, rivers and waterholes.
"There are at least nine regional variations to descriptions of the Bunyip, the most prevalent being that of a huge fearsome creature, some furry, some smooth, leather like, half human half beast with a long neck and a head like a bird with a duck beak.
“Australians now consider the existence of the Bunyip to be mythical.”
The Crossing Place Trail is on Gateway Island, which is off the Lincoln Causeway between Albury and Wodonga.
The 5.1km loop follows the southern bank of the Murray River and features sculptural works from local Aboriginal artists.