Newsletter for the Rotary Club of Western Endeavour - Issue No.: 922 Issue Date: 2 Aug, 2020

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Pat explaining the background of one of the quilts

Inspired Quilting - The Mount Magnet Quilt Project

Pat Forster and Elizabeth Humphreys talked to members about the amazing opportunity to exhibit quilts with the Wirnda Barna Artists in Mount Magnet, for the Astro Rocks Fest in September this year. They are part of a group of quilters who are enthusiastic about exhibiting paintings by the Aboriginal artists together with quilts. The scope of the quilts will be subjects that relate to astronomy, particularly Aboriginal conceptions of the night sky; or Mount Magnet/Murchison landscapes, particularly those that are significant to Aboriginal people. The SKA installation sponsors Astro Fest, an annual, science based astro geo-tourism community event...."in the Murchison Geo Region of Western Australia" 

The quilts are small art quilts showing landscapes that hold Astro significance for the Aboriginal people or include rocky outcrops which are significant for Aboriginal people. There also larger quilts that show subjects that fit within the Astr/Rock theme.

Pat showed us slides depicting the W in the night sky formed by the stars ldebaran, Betelgeuse, Ridel, Sirius and Canopis and a map mirroring the same W formation by the prominent granite rocks in the Stirling Ranges, Wagin-Narrogin, Wave Rock, Merredin, and Lake Moore. The Noongar followed these routes by using the stars, sand and rock art maps and through dance and song.

Songlines, also called Dreaming tracks are paths across the land which mark the route followed by 'creator-beings'. They are maintained through songs, stories, dance, rock art, star maps and sand maps which describe the location of waterholes, rock formations and other landscape features. By singing their songs and telling the stories, etc, in the appropriate sequence, indigenous people could navigate vast distances.

In 2017, in recognition of the importance of traditional language and Indigenous starlore, the International Astronomical Union (IAU) officlally assigned Aboriginal names to four stars:

  • Ginan for the 5th brighest star in the Southern Cross
  • ​Wurren for Zeta Phoenicis Aa
  • Larawag for Epsilon Scorpii
  • Unurgunite for Canis Majoris

Tribes had responsbility for the songlines in their area and would pass them on to others travelling through their area. Rocky outcrops are key points along the songlines as they indicate the presence of water.

Members appreciated the presentation by Pat and Liz which gave them the opportunity to learn more about the sophistication of Aboriginal culture and also the beauitiful quilting work inspired by the Aboriginal stories and our ever changin g landscape.

The quilters are looking forward to next year's Astro Fest where they will collaborate with the Aboriginal artists in the work to be presented by the artists and quilters.

Pat and Liz with several of the quilts

Songline in the south west

Author: Judy Dinnison

Published: 20 July, 2019


Meeting Rosters
Thanks & Cleanup
3 minute bio
11 Aug, 20
John Boxall
Peter Batskos
Michael Lee
Chris Ford
Peter Batskos
20 Aug, 20
25 Aug, 20
Marcus Harris
Harry Nesbitt
Curt McDonald
Judy Dinnison
30 Sep, 20
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