Bendigo tram to be used to tell stories of Dja Dja Wurrung people and Aboriginal culture through art

SHARING STORIES: Dja Dja Wurrung Clans Aboriginal Corporation chief executive officer Rodney Carter, Bendigo Heritage Attractions acting CEO Wayne Gregson and Bendigo MP Lisa Chesters inside the tram that will be decorated with the artwork of Aboriginal artists. Picture: DARREN HOWE
SHARING STORIES: Dja Dja Wurrung Clans Aboriginal Corporation chief executive officer Rodney Carter, Bendigo Heritage Attractions acting CEO Wayne Gregson and Bendigo MP Lisa Chesters inside the tram that will be decorated with the artwork of Aboriginal artists. Picture: DARREN HOWE

ONE of Bendigo’s iconic trams will be turned into a moving canvas that tells the stories of the area’s traditional owners.

Bendigo Historic Attractions has partnered with the Dja Dja Wurrung community on the project, which will see both the interior and exterior panels of a tram used to showcase the work of Aboriginal artists and tell the stories of the Dja Dja Wurrung people.

Dja Dja Wurrung Clans Aboriginal Corporation chief executive officer Rodney Carter said people were “extremely excited” about the project, which would allow the local Aboriginal community to explain the significance of their culture and its place within central Victoria and Australia.

“For us one of the most important things is recognition, and then with that recognition is for us to want to share the really beautiful and good aspects of our culture,” Mr Carter said.

Bendigo Heritage Attractions acting CEO Wayne Gregson said the project would begin telling the stories of the Dja Dja Wurrung people through art, but there were plans to update the commentary on the tram to complement the visual aspect.

Consultant Chris McCormack from Free Running said the idea had grown from his work with the Dja Dja Wurrung Corporation on a tourism plan and a similar project he had undertaken about 10 years ago.

He hoped the project would promote cultural awareness and understanding, he said, and would tell the stories of both people in the community today and their ancestors.

Mr Gregson said the project would highlight that the Dja Dja Wurrung culture was alive and thriving, and not “consigned to the history books”.

The project will be funded by a $12,500 grant from the federal government’s Stronger Communities program.

Bendigo MP Lisa Chesters said the project had “ticked all the boxes” and would continue the use of Bendigo’s trams as a medium to carry messages of importance to the community, such as the Anzac Centenary tram.

The vehicle flagged for the project is the orange Jimmy Possum tram.

Mr Carter said it was an honour to be able to use this particular tram because of Jimmy Possum owner Margot Spalding’s work to build a cohesive community within Bendigo.

With the funding secured, Dja Dja Wurrung Corporation plans to begin looking for artists.