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Remembering Life on the Sandhills

From Wednesday 10 December, you will be able to visit Narrandera Shire Library
to see a new exhibition, ‘Life on the Sandhills’, exploring an important part of
Narrandera’s history.

Artists Michael Lyons Snr, Owen Lyons, Dexter Briggs and Andrea Briggs have created
three new artworks exploring their memories of the Sandhills.

From 1912 until the 1970s, up to 50 first nation families lived on the Sandhills, just
outside of Narrandera near ‘Town Beach’ or ‘Koori Beach’ on the Murrumbidgee river.
Wiradjuri elder Michael Lyons Snr remembers, “There were many families on the hill,
some of which included Bamblett, Baxter, Briggs, Carter, Carroll, Christian, Cole,
Eldridge, Hamilton, Higgins, Hillsey, Howell, Ingram, Johnson, Lyons, Morgan, Nayden,
Scott, Simpson, Stanley, Stewart, Weldon, Williams. The hill is a place of significance
for many local Aboriginal families.”

In the artwork ‘Shared Memories’ created by Wiradjuri and Yorta Yorta father and
daughter Dexter and Andrea Briggs, there is a huge canoe scar tree depicted. This
ancient tree from the Narrandera forest is painted in memory of Dexter’s grandfather,
Thomas Johnson, who went with his grandfather as a small boy to watch as they made
the canoe from the tree.

“This tree is a symbol of resilience and strength of our people and our ancestors,”
commented Dexter.

Owen Lyons, Michael’s younger brother reflected, “Growing up on the Sandhills is
something I will never forget. I was always in the company of cousins and we all looked
out for each other. The family bonds were strong. I miss those days of togetherness
and wish all our children from the different families on the Sandhills could experience
this today.”

These three new artworks will be on permanent display at the Narrandera Shire Library.
Sue Killham, Manager of Community Development and Library said, “We would very
much like to congratulate Kerri, Michael, Owen, Andrea and Dexter on this great
project. Narrandera Library is honoured to be able to display “Life on the Sandhills” in a
place where this important work can be shared by the whole community.”

Coleambally artist, Kerri Weymouth, has spent the past year interning with the Cad
Factory in the position of Local Producer, working to produce ‘Life on the Sandhills’.
Kerri shared, “I was guided by Uncle Michael’s passion to start documenting the
histories of the Sandhills. Uncle Michael spoke to me about some of his memories and
allowed me to use plants from the Sandhills to dye the paper that was used by the
artists to create their work.”

Owen Lyons said, “Painting on this paper is extra special because it comes from the
earth of our sacred place the Sandhills.”

Kerri continued, “I’m thankful and honoured to have worked with the artists on their very
meaningful artworks. I would also like to thank the Cad Factory, Narrandera Shire
Council, Bendigo Bank Narrandera, Murrumbidgee Council, Create NSW and Sidney
Myer for supporting this special project.”

Find out more via The CAD Factory