Reconciliation in Kempsey strengthened by Corroboree Magic mosaic

Published on 03 June 2021


Corroboree Magic, a community made mosaic, was officially unveiled on Thursday to coincide with the end of Reconciliation Week.

Having worked together to complete the art piece, Kempsey Shire Council, Community Housing Ltd, Kempsey Neighbourhood Centre and the Dunghutti Elders Council were pleased to officially unveil the symbolic mosaic on the Westpac Bank building in Kempsey on Thursday.

The ceremony began with a warming Welcome to Country by Uncle Fred Kelly voicing to the crowd the significance of the Macleay Valley to him and the Dunghutti people, followed by Uncle John Kelly using gum leaves to perform a traditional smoking ceremony.

Kempsey Shire Mayor, Liz Campbell, celebrated Corroboree Magic’s brilliance, pointing to the name and location in the Kempsey CBD as symbolic in connecting the local community to Aboriginal culture.

“I love the name Corroboree Magic, and that it gives us a place in Kempsey where we can come together and admire this magnificent piece of art, made by the community, for the community.”

“I remember a Dunghutti Elder telling me that I might not be a Dunghutti lady, but I am from Dunghutti Country and to never forget that. So, I ask that for anyone who is in Dunghutti Country to really cherish and look after the people that are advancing the culture.”

One of the lead artists Guy Crosley said Corroboree Magic is a fantastic symbol of reconciliation.

“We worked with over 200 youth at CrocFest in 2005 to create this artwork. To finish it off with the help of extraordinary people in our community is fantastic,” said Mr Crosley.

Westpac Kempsey Branch Manager, Tracy van Leeuwen, was delighted that her branch could participate in such a significant community project.

“It’s been our absolute pleasure and honour to be involved with this project, and a privilege for us to contribute to the history of Kempsey with this meaningful artwork that will bring so much pride to our local community.”

At CrocFest in 2005, Uncle Richard Campbell consulted with artists Guy Crosley and Elwyn Toby and together they dreamed up the idea for a giant mosaic. This dream became a reality with over 200 students contributing to the masterpiece over 2 days at CrocFest, using pieces of colourful tiles and applying Dunghutti imagery to create Corroboree Magic.

Fittingly, Corroboree Magic today unveiled in its new home symbolises the theme of Reconciliation Week 2021 ‘More than a word: Reconciliation takes action’.

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