the year that was….

Guest blogger, Nadine McDonald-Dowd

So much has happened in the past year that we thought it would be great opportunity to share it all with you and to thank you for ongoing support for kuril dhagun and what we are working to achieve.

There have been many changes to the way we work and the team has remained committed to trialing, failing and then reviewing what we do. Working with our community has always been at the core of what we do in kuril dhagun. Sometime we get it right. Sometimes we don’t. This is all a part of the growing process and we are proud to say we have grown an incredible amount as a team and as a place that is a shared space for all in the past year.

In brief:

Over 160000 people have visited kuril dhagun in 2014

Over 3000 people have used the space for meetings, workshops and events

Over 50000 people have engaged with kuril dhagun through our engagement in community events and celebrations

So, what have we been up to?

Our Exhibitions Program has been re-developed to explore ways of working with community to program in the space as well as curating one major exhibition of work celebrating our culture.

Our Major Exhibitions Our Dreaming and A Thousand Words  were supported by two community focused installation North of the Tropics and Offset – all showcasing the diversity of Queensland artists, storytellers and creators.

A Thousand Words photos

2015 looks to be an exciting opportunity for you to get involved with us with the launch of two trial programs: Community Exhibitions Program and our Artist in Residence. More information can be found here.

2015 also saw some big changes to our events program and we are happy to say that by making mall changes, we have been able to work with some fantastic people and community to get our programs out there.

kuril events

A Night by the Fire series has been remodeled to engage people in a more intimate conversation space, allowing for more viewpoints from the key speakers and try to focus on hot topics. This year’s series focused on Aboriginal Storytellers and Remains and Repatriation and we were able to bring together a diverse panel of presenters and share these conversations with audiences around Australia and New Zealand.

You can check out the webcasts here

We worked in partnership with AFL Queensland and the Brisbane Lions to facilitate the very first Long Walk in Brisbane. The Long Walk is a national foundation created to highlight Indigenous affairs and works closely with the AFL to profile Indigenous culture as part of it yearly Indigenous Round. Over 100 students, parents, teachers and community walked from Musgrave Park to the Gabba Stadium and enjoyed every single step!

And where would our year be without Murri Claus!

This year, Murri went global and enjoyed retelling stories of how different cultures celebrate the world round! It always starts to feel like Christmas after a visit from Murri and his Minstrel. Checkout the Murri Claus Facebook album

kuril onsite

We are constantly trying new ways of using the space and making it a place for all that is warm, inviting and very deadly. This year we trialed a new space called The Reading Nook . The main focus of The Reading Nook is to engage families in learning Aboriginal Languages through play. With support from Des Crump in Queensland memory we have been able to profile three languages so far: Yuggera, Yugambeh and Badjala.

Having this space allows us to profile the great work Des and his team are doing in working with community to preserve and revitalize our languages for all.

Children enjoying the activities in The Reading Nook

Children enjoying the activities in The Reading Nook

The Reading Nook

The Reading Nook


We have also started to develop a new Community Program, working to create new projects in community and also reinvigorating old programs! Our newly appointed Community Officer, Lara Croydon is working hard and one of the recent developments of a walking tour called Our Place has been really successful! Every month, Lara hosts a walking tour of kurilpa and shares some of the gathered stories and memories of this place. Interested in booking? Then check it out here

The Walking Tour of Kurilpa

The Walking Tour of Kurilpa

The Walking Tour of Kurilpa - bring good shoes!!

The Walking Tour of Kurilpa - bring good shoes!!

kuril in community

kuril dhagun were also involved in a  number of special events throughout the year, working with partners to create projects, installations, animations and presentations! So deadly!

A big thank you to the community for including us in it all!

The Living History Project, Clancestry 2014 (QPAC)

The Long Walk 2014 (AFL Qld, Brisbane Lions)

Labrats 2014 (Playlab)

Black History Month Program ( BCC, Nguin Warrup)

NAIDOC Family Fun Day 2014 (Musgrave Park)

Island Vibe Festival, Stradbroke Island

Queensland Indigenous Youth Leadership Program

Career Expo, Stradbroke Island

Stylin Up (Inala Elders, BCC)

Yugambeh Mobo ( Yugambeh Museum)

ReVerse (Creative Tracks/Human, Logan)

Creative Community Computing Miles (The Edge)

The Living History Project, Clancestry 2014 (QPAC)

The Living History Project, Clancestry 2014 (QPAC)

The Long Walk 2014, from Musgrave park to the Gabba

The Long Walk 2014, from Musgrave park to the Gabba

Cultural Precinct Partners at NAIDOC Family Fun Day 2014

Cultural Precinct Partners at NAIDOC Family Fun Day 2014

ReVerse Workshops at Logan 2014

ReVerse Workshops at Logan 2014

kuril goes digital

We launched our new Digital Program with lots of travel being done across the state, working with lots of different people in community and beginning to co-create our shared histories. So much land to cover, Amanda figured out she has spent over 100 days on the road this year!

We made deadly tracks to Woorabinda, Logan Stradbroke Island, Wujal Wujal, Cairns, Cooktown, Townsville and Toowoomba. We also worked with local community members to record 11 stories about this area as part of Living History Project, uploaded 7 new webcasts of kuril dhagun events and our Indigenous Voices blog continues to grow and grow!

Tellin’Country and Deadly Stories were our two focus programs and some of the highlights can be found here:


Deadly Stories 

Tellin' Country Logan poster

Tellin’ Country Logan poster
Deadly Stories in Cooktown

Deadly Stories in Cooktown

Deadly Stories participants hard at work!

Deadly Stories participants hard at work!


None of this would be possible without the support and generosity of so many artists, organisations, partners and stakeholders across the State. We have been very fortunate to have worked with so many communities and we would like to thank the following:

Artists and Presenters

Sam Wagan Watson, Kaylah Tyson, Paula Nasarski, Aunty Mary Graham, Tibian Wyles, Fred Leone, Steven Oliver, Dale Kerwin, Chelsea Bond, Steve Webb, Uncle Bob Weatherall, Leonie Coghill, David Thompson, Getano Bann, Jo-Anne Driessens, Uncle Bob Anderson, Aunty Joan Hendriks, Aunty Raelene Baker, Kerrie Charlton, Lafe Charlton, Aunty Valda Coolwell, Juanita Johnson, Uncle Pete Hill, Uncle Steve Mam, Tiga Bayles, Ruth Ghee, Cheona Deemal, Teila Watson, Dave Dow, Des Crump, Rory O’Connor, Bianca Beetson, Students from Contemporary Australian Indigenous Art department, Griffith, Artists from Saltwater Murris Quandamooka Inc, Delvene-Cockatoo Collins, Sonja Carmichael, Elisa Jane Carmichael, Belinda Close, Craig Tapp, Hannah Bronte Cooper McCoy, Cheryl Creed, Nickeema Williams, Glennys Briggs, Andrea Fisher, Chantal Cook, Lyndon Davis, Brent Miller, Pip Kelly, Lisa Farrawell, Mitch Daley, Aunty Maroochy Barambah, Uncle Des Sandy, Nunukul Yuggera, Ashley Ruska, Alberta Hornsby – Cooktown, Sonja Gibson – Cooktown and PJ Nandy – Wujal Wujal

Partners and Supporters

Queensland Performing Arts Centre, Brisbane City Council, NAIDOC, Logan City Library, AFL Queensland, Brisbane Lions, The Long Walk Foundation, Contemporary Australian Indigenous Art department, Griffith, Saltwater Murris Quandamooka Inc, Cooroy Butter Factory, Inala Students Support Unit, Cook Shire Council Library, Townsville City Libraries, Edmund Rice Flexi School Townsville, Cairns Libraries, Youth Empowered Towards Independence (YETI), Nintirganyi, Wujal Wujal Indigenous Knowledge Centre, Yugambeh Museum, Wadja Wadja State School – Woorabinda, Education Department Qld, Department of Aboriginal and Torres Multicultural Affairs, The Edge, Reverse Garbage Brisbane, Cairns Indigenous Art Fair (CIAF),  and ABC Radio.

We are very sorry if we have forgotten anyone but know that we would not have been able to undertake the massive amount of work without you!

So as the year comes to end, we are taking the time to reflect on what has been a challenging, hard, enjoyable and rewarding year. We have made new friends, travelled country, been overseas, packed suitcases, set up lights, cooked bbqs, refilled endless water jugs, painted and repainted walls, burnt our fingers with hot glue guns, giggled with young ones, cried with Elders and learnt so many new things about who we are.

We hope to see you in the near future and wish you the very best for the Festival Season and may you and your families be safe into the new year!

klub kuril – Nadine, Willie, Amanda, Elena, Katina, Lara & Leecee

klub kuril - Katina, Lesley, Amanda, Nadine, Elena, Lara & Willie