The wisdom of Waa, the crow, will guide Bendigo TAFE students, staff, and the local community from its prominent position high on the facade of one of the TAFE’s newest buildings.
Designed in partnership with Djandak, the business enterprise of the Dja Dja Wurrung Clans Aboriginal Corporation, the use of Waa in Bendigo TAFE’s new buildings signifies its importance as a vital knowledge keeper to Dja Dja Wurrung people.
Waa is one of two primary moieties that make up Dja Dja Wurrung cultural and belief systems.
The impressive multi-storey image of Waa was designed by Wurundjeri, Dja Dja Wurrung and Ngurai illam wurrung artist, Mandy Nicholson, and has now been installed.
The facade also features layers of Country patterns, which depict the resilience of Dja Dja Wurrung people through the passage of time and their continued connection to Djandak (Country).
Elements of the Dja Dja Wurrung seasonal calendar will showcase how the landscape changes over time to provide indicators for Dja Dja Wurrung people to hunt and harvest food, with landscaping due for completion in early August.
Bendigo TAFE chief executive officer Sally Curtain said Waa was now a defining feature of the revitalised Bendigo City campus.
“Bendigo TAFE is proud to be recognising and showcasing the traditional land ownership of our city campus in the design of our new buildings,” Ms Curtain said.
“We sincerely thank Djandak and Dja Dja Wurrung Clans Aboriginal Corporation for partnering with us to create such beautiful and memorable design elements that will be valued and appreciated by many for years to come.”
Dja Dja Wurrung Group chief executive officer Rodney Carter said the facade would increase awareness and knowledge of Dja Dja Wurrung among the wider community.
"It is comforting to be looked after and be appreciated for who we are; we are all students on life's journey. Waa is a reminder of respect and recognition, gazing upon all that come to the grounds of Bendigo TAFE to grow in knowledge,” Mr Carter said.
The works are part of the Bendigo City Campus Revitalisation Project, the result of a $60 million Victorian Government investment, that is being delivered on time and on budget. It will deliver an education precinct that will boost activity and vibrancy in Bendigo’s central business district, and invest in the future of regional Victoria.
The revitalised campus will also introduce a new Indigenous Education Centre, named Djjimbayang (in consultation with the Dja Dja Wurrung Clans Aboriginal Corporation), which means teaching and learning.
Construction works began in February 2020 and will be completed and opened to the community from next month (COVID-19 restrictions permitting).