HAPPY MOMENT: The unveiling of the Aboriginal murals at the Lismore Showground are Micky Ryan, Member of the Lismore Showground Aboriginal community, and Page MP Kevin Hogan.
HAPPY MOMENT: The unveiling of the Aboriginal murals at the Lismore Showground are Micky Ryan, Member of the Lismore Showground Aboriginal community, and Page MP Kevin Hogan. Mireille Merlet-Shaw

Murals salute tradition at Lismore's showground

LISMORE'S showground site has been a gathering place for Aboriginal people for hundreds, possibly thousands of years.

Tribes from all over Australia would gather to sort out their differences, make marriage arrangements and take part in all sorts of ceremonies.

Local elder Micky Ryan said the population of North Lismore would grow from 40 people to more than 500 during the gatherings.

Stories of the showground had been collected for a series of information boards, now installed, with murals from three Aboriginal artists coming soon.

"There are stories about the animals (in the area) and the food we eat; the names of the hills and their meaning; stories of the bora ring, which was a battle ground and ceremonial ground," Mr Ryan said.

A smoking ceremony was held on Saturday to launch the first of the information boards that have been funded by a Federal Government grant from the Indigenous Heritage Program.

Page MP Kevin Hogan said it was fitting that in modern Australia, the showground was where the Northern Rivers community tribes came together each year for the Lismore Show.

Project co-ordinator Cynthia McDermott said the three murals by Aboriginal artists Gilbert Laurie, Eric Ferguson and Rob Smith would give a timeline of the site's use.

"Gilbert's work is of the Dreamtime creation stories and the animals relative to site; Eric's work covers the use of the bora ring and the beginnings of the use of the site for activities such as the boxing tents and woodchop activities, and Rob's is more modern-day with a bold graffiti style that shows things like the dodgem cars and fireworks with the old spirits looking on," she said.



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