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NSW holiday park operators open Aboriginal art trail with culture at its core

Jarred Cross -

Worimi artist Tyson Jolly wants to see constant reminders that all steps are taken on Aboriginal land. 

Mr Jolly has contributed an art trail to Reflections Holiday Park’s Jimmy’s Beach facility at Hawk’s Nest, an hour north of Newcastle.

Reflections launched the art trail on Friday as part of their Aboriginal Tourism Experiences pilot program, an initiate driven by their Reconciliation Action Plan and 2030 strategic plan commitments.

Bush tucker gardens and creative workshops will be included in parks within the pilot program. 

The tourism group is a NSW Crown Land Manager, overseeing 43 nature reserves and operates 36 holiday parks on 12 Aboriginal nations across the state. 

All profit is reinvested back into the 9000 hectares of land for which they care.

Mr Jolly's artworks depict the animals which live on his country around the park, with the signage including phonetic breakdowns of the names of the wildlife in language for a rich expression of the history of his country. 

Tyson Jolly and his dog Rain with the wurran sign along his art trail at Reflections Holiday Parks Jimmy Beach on Worimi country. (Image: provided, Reflections Holiday Parks)

He told National Indigenous Times: “it's one thing to do a black thing, but it's also another thing to do it in a Black way."

“I've done the phonics of the word so that people can start learning to not only speak Aboriginal language, but how to speak it as well.

“Outside of pretty artworks, we’re in sacred land, and that needs to be respected. I think it's just important to have that constant reminder there visually.”

Reflections’ RAP makes cultural training and awareness available to staff and park guests.

“What I’d like to see in every single park is that we have a relationship with the local
communities and Indigenous operators that offer experiences that they want to share
with our guests,” Reflections chief executive Nick Bakes said. 

The hope for greater understanding of Indigenous culture was shared by local state MP Kate Washington. 

She said the art trail was also an exciting economic opportunity for the region.

For the artist behind it, Mr Jolly said the paint is only a new layer of paint adding to deep cultural knowledge going back generations. 

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