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intricate inscriptions
etched within their sides
sacred symbols, swirls and chevrons
artistic statements of power and pride 

~ from 'Intricate Inscriptions', by Jonathan Hill

 

The Project

In 2011 The State Library of NSW received a collection of photographs from the collection of Clifton Cappie Towle. Towle was a founding member of the Anthropological Society of NSW and rigorously documented the traditional dendroglyphs (tree carvings) that the Gamilaroi and Wiradjuri peoples have practiced for thousands of years.

To celebrate the rediscovery of these incredible artefacts, The State Library of NSW curated an exhibition of Towle's works called Carved Trees, and as part of this, asked The Red Room Company to organise a poetry reading, in which Indigenous Australian poets respond to these photographs.

The Poets

The poets who created new works for the exhibition were Jonathan Hill, Gayle Kennedy and Peter Minter.

Jonathan Hill resides in Old Erowal Bay on the NSW South Coast.  He works at Vincentia High School as a teacher and tutor. He worked with The Red Room Company with Oolong House, a drug and alocohol treatment centre for Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal men in Nowra, as part of our Clubs and Societies project.

Gayle Kennedy was born in Ivanhoe NSW, and is a member of the Wongaiibon Clan of the Ngiyaampaa speaking Nation of South West NSW. She has had stories published in newspapers and magazines and broadcast on radio, and was the Indigenous issues writer and researcher for Streetwize Comics from 1995-1998.

Peter Minter  is a poet, editor and publisher living in Sydney, where he lectures in Indigenous Studies at the Koori Centre, University of Sydney.

Click here to view the Poem Collection.