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Toowoomba's newest Indigenous mural a story of heritage

Zak Kirkup -

In the heart of Djaawoompa (Toowoomba) in Queensland, the city's newest mural stretches across the 25m-long entrance laneway of the National Australia Bank's branch, as a marker of local culture and biodiversity. 

Created by the renowned local Indigenous artist David McCarthy after he was commissioned by NAB in September 2023, the 1,200sqm artwork is a deep dive into the essence of Djaawoompa, capturing the interconnection of Country, marine life, and flora.

Mr McCarthy, who carries the heritage of Gooreng and Kanalou on his mother's side and Mandandanyi Gunggari Bidjara Mithika on his father's, led the monumental project together with local Indigenous Artists, William Haupt (Thira-Mayinj) and Daniel Blades.

The work is a testament to his deep connection with his roots and the natural world around him.

“I’m inspired by the food, animals and environment around Toowoomba. By intertwining these themes with other culturally significant aspects in Indigenous culture, such as knowledge sharing and working together, the mural will aim to ‘teach our kids what we weren’t taught," McCarthy said.

“For instance, the kangaroo and emu will always stand strong and tall, moving forward and never going back. They also represent Australia moving forward as one, acknowledging the past and moving forward into the future.”

Mr McCarthy said he drew inspiration from the teachings of his grandmother and older siblings, who instilled in him the power of storytelling through art.

“I learned to tell stories through art from my grandmother, my older brother and older cousins. They showed me how to draw on your culture and your surroundings to tell stories through art,” Mr McCarthy said.

In the unveling of the mural at the NAB branch, Chris Francis, NAB Regional Executive for Queensland, expressed pride in the project, noting: “David’s mural is spectacular. I’m proud that we could offer David such a large canvas. It’s a great testament to how committed we (NAB) are to supporting the success of First Nations people and to celebrating their culture."

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