Welcome Gaywal: Spiritual Elder joins City of Busselton's bronze sculpture series

A striking sculpture depicting Spiritual Elder, Gaywal, was unveiled to the community on Saturday, January 19.

The artwork by Fremantle sculptor Greg James is the fifth piece in the City of Busselton’s Settlement Art Project which lines the cultural complex end of Queen Street.

James, through an Aboriginal consultant, worked with local Aboriginal families in the concept development of the sculpture.

He said he wanted to portray the traditional owner just being himself living on his country.

“The intention is to be as true as possible based on all the information that I have fathered over the last year, and conversations we have participated in. From the fish being mullet, to the type of gidgees used for fishing,” he said.

“My brief for whole project is to represent the people of Busselton at the time of settlement and not after. History continues and I hope this will encourage a better understanding.”

Elder Ellen Hill did the honours and unveiled the sculpture.

Her nephew, Timothy Harris, an elder representative addressed the crowd.

He praised the City of Busselton for the acknowledgement of the traditional owners of the land.

“I have travelled the length and breadth of the Northern Territory, the Pilbara, the Kimberleys, remote and regional communities around Australia, and I don’t know of any town outside of the capital cities that has done a project like this,” he said.

Mayor Grant Henley said the installation of the statue was an important step towards reconciliation.

“I want to thank the Aboriginal community for their patience and support through the process of commissioning Gaywal and hope that the statue will bring great pride to all community members for generations to come,” he said.