Too-roo-dun is a Boonwurrung word for Bunyip, and Bunyip is a word from Wathawurrung language. The Bunyips’ stories and names are influenced by ancestral narratives and contemporary accounts that re-imagine the Bunyip’s place of residence in Culture and as manifestations of inner demons and monsters.
The aim of this project was to connect and unite Indigenous communities through arts activities focusing on the wider south east region of Melbourne. It engaged Indigenous people from all walks of life. The Bunyip makers represent people with disabilities, those who are seeking drug and alcohol support, or are experiencing mental illness. Many have experienced disconnectedness from community and culture.
The outcome was an immersive and imaginative exhibition which established a strong sense of community pride, and a sense of belonging which was reinforced by working together collaboratively.
The Aboriginal Organisations that have been involved in TOO-ROO-DUN are:
Winja Ulupna (Women’s Recovery Centre - St. Kilda), Mullum Mullum Aboriginal Cooperative – Elders Group (Croydon), Willum Warrain (Hastings), Bunjilwarrra (Koori Youth Alcohol and Drug Healing Service – Hastings), Healesville Indigenous Community Services Association (HICSA – Healesville), Casey Elders Group – (Doveton), Baluk Arts (Urban Aboriginal Art Centre – Mornington).
Baluk Arts gratefully acknowledges the funding and in-kind support it has received for the Too-roo-dun project. In particular, Gandel Philanthropy, the Federal Government’s Indigenous Languages and the Arts Program and Indigenous Visual Arts Industry Support, Creative Victoria, Mornington Peninsula Shire, Bunjil Place, City of Casey and Forty Five Downstairs Gallery, Melbourne.
Special thanks to Uncle Jack Charles who has become a treasured ambassador for the project.