REFLECT Reconciliation Action Plan

Posted by: mwestby February 23, 2021

Wiradjuri Artist holding his finished artwork in a park

Snapshot

Abergeldie’s commitment to reconciliation and the development of our REFLECT Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP) is deeply embedded in our mission to build better communities. Engaging Scott (Sauce) Towney, local to Peak Hill NSW, about an hour away from where we delivered Camp Street Bridge replacement in Forbes, creates a greater connection to Abergeldie by engaging local Wiradjuri artist to embody this connection.

Abergeldie REFLECT Reconciliation Action Plan has been formally endorsed by Reconciliation Australia and can be found via this link. 

Background

Abergeldie was engaged by Roads and Maritime Services (RMS) (now, Transport for NSW) to deliver the Camp Street Bridge Replacement project in Forbes NSW . The project involved demolishing of the existing bridge structure and the construction of a new, wider bridge structure. The Camp Street Bridge is an important piece of infrastructure for the Forbes Community as the only entry into the town centre. With its new and wider lanes, our team has decongested traffic and greatly improved safety for pedestrians. Read more about the project via this link. 

Construction worker standing by Camp Street Bridge during construction
Balwanth Kondakindi by Camp Street Bridge mid-construction

Bridge Opening Ceremony

TfNSW organised a bridge opening ceremony upon the successful delivery of the project. With strict COVID-19 restrictions in place, TfNSW and Abergeldie joined the local Minister and other governmental guests that all spoke about the community benefits of the new Camp Street Bridge. Perhaps, more importantly, the local Aboriginal community spoke of the way that the bridge represented connecting communities and reconciliation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples  and non-Indigenous peoples.

Three men holding the Camp Street Bridge banner after the bridge opening
Ben Hagens, William (Billy) Coady and Balwanth Kondakindi at the Camp Street Bridge Opening

Search for the Artist

Upon completion of the Camp Street Bridge, Abergeldie was in the process of developing its REFLECT Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP). The project delivered just shy of a year ago had required our team to move to Forbes all of whom quickly became integrated into the community. We wanted to continue the story and the search for a local artist to be commissioned to create our RAP artwork commenced.

Speaking with TfNSW and Protech, Scott (Sauce) Towney, a Peak Hill NSW local artist, was recommended to us.

Scott (Sauce) Towney

Scott Towney, nicknamed Sauce, was born and raised in Peak Hill, NSW and is married to Carol Towney whom he met as a teenager at the local pub (unfortunately, a place that was burnt down a few years ago). He started drawing when he was very young, he says, ‘after seeing my cousins drawing.’  He is largely self-taught and focuses on creating unique Wiradjuri designs and mark makings. Over the years, he has been commissioned by a number of reputable organisations across Peak Hill, Dubbo, Forbes as well as the Philippines to create artwork including murals, constellation art and collective coins celebrating Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander  cultures. Sauce is a widely established artist whose contemporary and traditional Wiradjuri style has been recognised to represent reconciliation through initiatives such as the Closing Gap Initiative through Parkes Reconciliation Group, The 3 Rivers Initiative, a number of NAIDOC Week exhibitions and more recently University of New South Wales where he is working with PHD candidate, Trevor Leahman, and the Gil Indigenous Program Unit to create an app for Wiradjuri Constellations.

Sauce currently lives in Peak Hill, NSW with his wife, Carol. He has five (5) children and six (6) grandchildren. He dreams of one day opening is own exhibition space focusing on Wiradjuri designs and mark making.

Wiradjuri Artist holding his finished artwork in a park
Scott (Sauce) Towney holding the finished artwork in Peak Hill

The Artwork

Sauce tells the story of achieving reconciliation through walking the land together and forming communities. He combines contemporary and traditional Wiradjuri designs and patterns which is representative of the old and new world. The bridge, its centre piece, represents Abergeldie’s mission to build better communities; by providing complex infrastructure and helping improve the future for all communities through reconciliation. The symbol at the forefront of the centre piece represents ‘community’ or ‘meeting place’ which is surrounded by native Australian animals and the land in which they live. This is Sauce’s interpretation of Abergeldie’s journey towards reconciliation.

Watch the video on Sauce describing the meaning behind the artwork via this link.

Wiradjuri artwork in black and white ink
Wiradjuri artwork in black and white ink – first stage of the artwork

 

In the spirit of reconciliation Abergeldie acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of country throughout Australia and their connections to land, sea and community. We pay our respect to their elders past and present and extend that respect to all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples today.