Carrying our history forward in street art

April 06, 2018

Yorta Yorta elder Alf Turner never thought his family history would be celebrated through street art.

The mural of Yorta Yorta man Private Daniel Cooper was completed yesterday at Shepparton's Eastbank Centre.

In just three days, an exterior wall of the Eastbank Centre has been turned into a sentimental art piece.

The larger-than-life mural of Yorta Yorta man Private Daniel Cooper was completed yesterday, as part of Greater Shepparton City Council’s Aboriginal Street Art Project.

Pte Cooper’s nephew Alf Turner and his daughter Leonie Drummond were extremely proud to have another family member celebrated through art.

‘‘It means a lot to us; this happening in the place I live makes me and my family very pleased,’’ Mr Turner said.

‘‘It’s something that needed to be done.

‘‘I’ve lived in Mooroopna for nearly 80 years and I thought this would never happen,’’ he said.

‘‘It’s great that we’re now recognising the Aboriginal serviceman that went to war,’’ Mrs Drummond said.

Pte Cooper fought for Australia during World War I before dying on a European battlefield in 1917, aged 21.

He was killed in action and buried in Belgium, unable to return to the home country he fought for.

Many Aboriginal people fought in wars throughout history with little to no recognition.

Interim chair of the Yorta Yorta Nation Aboriginal Corporation Bob Nichols said the mural was ‘‘just one step towards acknowledgment’’.

‘‘It’s fantastic and it’s long overdue,’’ Mr Nicholls said.

‘‘I think this is a first for Aboriginal people all over Australia.’’

Melbourne artist Cam Scale completed the piece using the tones of the building to showcase light and dark.

City of Greater Shepparton Mayor Kim O’Keeffe was delighted to see the finished product.

‘‘It’s absolutely beautiful and in the most amazing spot,’’ Cr O’Keeffe said.

‘‘It’s quite significant for our community to understand what has happened in the past across our city, our community and our country.

‘‘We want to move forward and carry history with us.’’

Greater Shepparton City Council business and industry development team leader Michael Carrafa said stage three of the Aboriginal Street Art Project was in planning for the next financial year.

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