What's On

Experience significant Aboriginal sites without having to leave the gallery

This exhibition has now ended

On Wonnarua Country in the Hunter Valley, Wonnarua Elder Uncle Warren Taggart has visited and recorded hundreds of important Aboriginal sites.

The public are now able to view many of these sites through the Spirit of Place exhibition, created by Uncle Warren in collaboration with photographers Allan Chawner and Carol Carter. 

Happening at Singleton Arts + Cultural Centre from 24 June to 3 September, Spirit of Place allows visitors to engage with Country and Aboriginal culture without physically disturbing these often fragile places.

L-R: Uncle Warren Taggart, Carol Carter and Allan Chawner. Image © Uncle Warren Taggart, Carol Carter & Allan Chawner.

“There’s a lot of people in this community, and surrounding areas, that can’t get out in the bush. So we’re going to bring the bush to them,” Uncle Warren said.

Uncle Warren has worked with Allan and Carol for almost nine years to document significant Wonnarua sites, such as caves and rock surfaces in areas like Yengo National Park and Wollemi National Park. 

Their work resulted in a book – also titled Spirit of Place – that showcases photographs and stories about the sites the trio has visited.

The exhibition is a way to bring the book to a wider audience, including school students.

“I want to get schools to the exhibition, because there’s a lot of school kids who haven’t seen this stuff. Maybe they’ve missed school, or they’ve moved from one school to another. It’s to educate them,” Uncle Warren said. 

Image © Uncle Warren Taggart, Carol Carter & Allan Chawner
Image © Uncle Warren Taggart, Carol Carter & Allan Chawner

Since learning about his culture and Country as a young boy with his dad, Uncle Warren has made it his work to share this knowledge with other people to “keep our culture and our dreamtime alive.” 

Sue Moore, the mayor of Singleton and whose family has lived in the area for generations, said the Spirit of Place exhibition was an invitation to a deeper experience of the Hunter Valley.

“It’s humbling that this place has been significant to people for thousands of years and that the spiritual connection is continuing through the passion of people like Uncle Warren,” she said.

“Singleton is a special place in so many ways. There’s so much to experience here that goes beyond what you’d expect from a country town, not only in the town centre, but in the national parks and the villages that surround it.

Image © Uncle Warren Taggart, Carol Carter & Allan Chawner
Image © Uncle Warren Taggart, Carol Carter & Allan Chawner

“Singleton Arts + Cultural Centre opened last year to capture and reflect the identity of our community, and for people who’ve never been to Singleton, the Spirit of Place exhibition is a great introduction.”

Uncle Warren hopes people who visit the exhibition take away a greater appreciation for the prevalence of Aboriginal culture in the Hunter region.

“People assume Aboriginal people are only in the Northern Territory, Western Australia and Queensland. But we’ve got so many sites in our own backyard it’s not funny.” 

Spirit of Place

When: 24 June - 3 September
Where: Singleton Arts + Cultural Centre, 23 Maitland Rd, Singleton
Cost: Free
Visit the Singleton Arts + Cultural Centre website for more information.