New Artwork Collaboration with RMIT University and the Wadawurrung Now on Display at Harpley


New Artwork Collaboration with RMIT University and the Wadawurrung Now on Display at Harpley


We are delighted to announce new artworks at Harpley, located along Armstrong Road.

The artworks come as result of a three-way collaboration between Lendlease, the Wadawurrung Tradtional Owners and RMIT University. The two stage project features artworks by RMIT students studying architecture, urban design and art.

In development and research stages of the artworks, students had the experience to learn from Wadawurrung woman, Melinda Kennedy. Melinda was able to share and educate a broad range of students about her culture, the indigenous history and unique features of the area.

The artworks reflect stories of the Dancing Brolga and Water and Sustainability, both outcomes of student projects guided by RMIT researchers and shaped by local knowledge of the Wadawurrung. Each artwork communicates the unique cultural environment and heritage of the area in which they are displayed.

The Dancing Brolga
The first part of the project features a series of artworks centred around the story of the Dancing Brolga. The brolga is an important species of wetland bird, found in tropical and south-eastern Australia. The dancing brolga gets its name from the unique mating ritual in which the bird performs a dance with wings outstretched.

The brolga disappeared due to poor upkeep of the waterways and commencement of construction works. Fortunately, the brolga has started to reappear in the local area in the last 18 months as a result of the work Lendlease has been doing on the waterways bringing it back to life and good health.

Water and Sustainability
Expanding on the Dancing Brolga’s return to the area, the water and sustainability stage of the project focused on the recent work of Lendlease to help return the land and local waterways to their earlier health and vitality.

Two of the resulting artworks are to be displayed on a 200 metre roadside billboard hoarding in the heart of the Harpley development. The students were briefed to consider the hoarding as a creative canvas that can be viewed from a distance, interacted with at pedestrian pace, or be experienced at speed from a passing car.

RMIT student Jose Lumanta was “interested in the reserves around Harpley, about a conservation area of the wetlands that coexists within the suburban backyard.”

For his digital media piece titled More Colours than Sparrows, Jose was inspired by “the lushness of the uncurated landscape which provides a contrast with the brick and white walls surrounding it.”

RMIT student Tatyana Wenczel also created a digital media piece for the project called Seasons of a Cold Country. The artwork “hopes to highlight Wadawurrung language and traditional knowledge about the Werribee area.”

The project was not only a practical learning experience for RMIT students by learning about the culture and heritage of the Wadawurrung people, but also produced beautiful artworks for the Harpley Community.

Recently the artwork was officially opened by the Wadawurrung with RMIT and Harpley team members in attendance. Everyone was honoured to take part in a traditional smoking/welcome to country by Wadwurrung Traditional Owner Stephanie Skinner. A smoking ceremony is an ancient Aboriginal custom in Australia that involves burning native plants to produce smoke which has cleansing properties which then blesses and protects us as we walk on Wadawurrung land.

The Harpley team thanks everyone involved in bringing this creative project to life. You can find the artworks on Armstrong Road. Visit today!