Image: Uncle Wes Marne, Uncle Greg Simms, Uncle Danny Eastwood and Uncle John Farrington by Eliya Cohen, Mosca Media Australia
Elders In Residence
Fridays, 8 September to 15 December 2023
10.30 am to 12.30 pm
The Leo Kelly Blacktown Arts Centre
“If I could come to The Leo Kelly Blacktown Arts Centre every day, I would.”
– Uncle Wes Marne
Get to know local First Nations Elders Uncle Wes Marne, Uncle Greg Simms, Uncle Danny Eastwood and Uncle John Farrington on Friday mornings at Elders in Residence.
Acknowledging our place on Darug land, Elders in Residence is the place to connect with First Nations culture. Grab a cuppa and some damper, and have a yarn with these knowledge holders and valued members of the local community.
Damper and beverages provided.
Fridays, 8 September to 22 September, and 13 October to 15 December
10.30 am to 12.30 pm
Elders in Residence | Art and Yarn
Want to connect with First Nations culture?
Gather the whole family and come along to these special school holiday sessions of Elders in Residence.
Acknowledging our place on Darug land, Elders in Residence I Art and Yarn connects kids and adults alike with First Nations culture and knowledge in a fun and engaging community experience.
Hear stories and poetry, try your hand at a creative activity and learn a thing or two from local First Nations Elders, Uncle Wes Marne, Uncle Greg Simms, Uncle Danny Eastwood and Uncle John Farrington.
Fridays, 29 September and 7 October 2023
10.30 am to 12.30 pm
*Please note that sometimes our Elders have other commitments and, as such, who is present may change. You are welcome to contact us directly on 9839 6558 the week of your desired session to confirm who will be in attendance.
Uncle Wes Marne
Uncle Wes Marne AM is a Bigambul man and community elder who has lived in Mount Druitt for the past 45 years. He is a storyteller, poet and custodian of his grandfather’s Creation and Dreamtime stories.
Uncle Wes is a published author, and has toured his work at Sydney Festival (2016), Yirramboi First Nations Arts Festival (2017), Way Out West Children’s Festival at Casula Powerhouse Arts Centre (2017), and recently he published Through Old Eyes (2022), his first book of poetry for his 100th Birthday. In December 2022, he received an Honorary Fellowship from Western Sydney University for service as an educator and champion of Aboriginal culture; an advocate for vulnerable young people and a pillar of the greater western Sydney community.
Uncle Wes comes from a long line of storytellers and has been working with children, primary and high schools, universities, gaols, social housing and justice to share his love of culture and stories throughout all the community.
Image: Uncle Wes, Elders in Residence by Eliya Cohen, Mosca Media Australia
Uncle Greg Simms
Uncle Greg Simms is a respected Aboriginal Community Elder of Mount Druitt and the greater western Sydney region, with ties to the Gundungurra (water dragon people) of the Blue Mountains and the Gadigal (whale people) of the Dharug nation.
Uncle Greg is an activist for reconciliation, a traditional woodcarver, a storyteller and an Aboriginal cultural educator. He always engages young people and Elders in his processes, championing intergenerational knowledge sharing and understanding. In December 2021, Uncle Greg received an Honorary Fellowship from Western Sydney University in recognition of his role as a leading educator of Aboriginal culture, and for his contribution to Western Sydney University.
Image: Uncle Greg, Elders in Residence by Eliya Cohen, Mosca Media Australia
Uncle Danny Eastwood
Uncle Danny Eastwood is descended from the Ngemba group of Western New South Wales. His mother came from Brewarrina and he was born and grew up in the Eora area of the Gadigal Nation. For the past 43 years, he has been a proud member of the Darug area of Western Sydney.
As a painter and cartoonist, he has produced numerous works which tell the story of his people and Country, including his contributions to Koori Mail over the last 30 years and his public art which can be found all over Sydney.
In 1992, Uncle Danny won the NSW NAIDOC Award. He shared the National NAIDOC Aboriginal Artist of the Year Award, receiving 1st prize in the NSW Parliament Award and the NAIDOC Poster Award in 1993. Uncle Danny is responsible for building and making the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander War Memorial to honour Aboriginal service people at the Anzac Memorial, Hyde Park, Sydney.
Image: Uncle Danny, Elders in Residence by Eliya Cohen, Mosca Media Australia
Uncle John Farrington
Uncle John Farrington was born in the town of Young, part of the Wiradjuri Nation, the people of the 3 rivers. He was taken to Sydney at the age of 9 along with his siblings and put into the custody of the NSW Government as a Ward of the State. He has lived and worked in Sydney since and connected with the people of the Dharug Nation as he struggled to find family, his roots, his identity and his connection to Country, which is now linked to the Gamilaraay People through his father.
Uncle John has been active in sharing his stories and experience through Dharug community meetings and gatherings. Through this space, he shares his remarkable life and his continual journey to find family and reconnect. He loves to share documents as well as photos that he has discovered on his quest for answers. Uncle John loves to meet people, tell them his stories and share his Culture, while highlighting and encouraging the strength and survival spirit that may help others to overcome the past.
Image: Uncle John, Elders in Residence by Eliya Cohen, Mosca Media Australia
Proudly funded by the NSW Government in association with Blacktown City Council and Blacktown Arts.