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Window on the Wetlands Centre opens for June Long Weekend

Members of the Ngemba Wailwan Artist initiative will bring their talents to the painting of poles that will be part of the Indigenous cultural heritage displays at the new WOW centre. Image courtesy Outback Arts

A series of poles to be painted by artists including members of the Ngemba Wailwan art group will form part of the Indigenous cultural heritage interpretive displays at the new Window on the Wetlands (WOW) Centre in Warren to be opened at 5pm tomorrow, World Environment Day.

The centre will be opened by the Parliamentary Secretary for Regional and Rural Health and Western NSW, the Hon Sarah Mitchell and the Mayor of Warren, Cr Rex Wilson, and a Welcome to Country by Wailwan elder, George Riley. The official opening will also include the launch of the Macquarie River Education Trail.

The Ngemba Wailwan art group began with the development of the Regional Indigenous Cultural Development Officer (RICDO) scheme that runs in the five shires services by Outback Arts.

Warren RICDO, Mary Kennedy, who is also a member of the art group said the group will work with members of the local Aboriginal community to turn the poles into artworks with each pole painted by representatives from different families of the Warren region. The painting project is funded from the Foundation for Rural and Regional renewal through RiverSmart Australia.

She said there is support to take the pole project further and to install a trail of poles leading from the WOW Centre to the Beemunnel Reserve.

With funding from the NSW Community Building Partnerships program, as well as funds raised by and in kind support from the community, the old timber church hall from St Mary’s Primary School in Warren was moved across the river to its new home beside the Tiger Bay Wetlands and refurbished. The hall complements the old school building that is the operational headquarters of Macquarie RiverSmart. The hall is also being used for schools and adult education programs.

Local art will be exhibited during the long weekend with proceeds from sales going toward Stage 3 of the centre.

RiverSmart works to mobilise people to take a more active role in revitalising Australia’s ailing rivers and floodplains.

Find out more about the work of RiverSmart and the WOW Centre here.