stories for the vdd
Artist Mariah Yarran with custodian Zac Webb adn students from Busselton High School’s Waalitj Kaaditjin Academy researching stories for the design of the mural to adorn the Vasse Diversion Dam wall.

A stunning mural inspired by Traditional Owners’ connection to local waterways will adorn part of the Vasse Diversion Drain under a new partnership between school students, Aboriginal artists and Water Corporation. 

The mural is being designed and painted by South West Indigenous artist Mariah Yarran with help from Year 7 and 8 students from Busselton High School’s Waalitj Kaaditjin Academy. 

It will brighten a 200-metre section of Queen Elizabeth Avenue alongside the Vasse Diversion Drain – a vital drainage channel that protects Busselton and the surrounding area from flooding.  

The mural will depict a Noongar song line about the wagaul, or rainbow serpent, and show how water travels through the six seasons from Kalgup, the place of the Kingia austrlais trees that grow in white clay soil, to Broadwater. 

The design was borne from a series of on-country workshops between the students and Wadandi cultural custodian, Zac Webb, followed by sessions with Mariah to bring their designs together.

Water Corporation regional manager Nicky Waite said the mural will help people better understand the ancient water story.

“Through working together, Mariah, Zac and the students will bring the local water story to life in a vibrant depiction of the six seasons,” Ms Waite said.

“Through this, we encourage people to learn more about their water story and how it relates to the land we live on, and the importance of water in Aboriginal culture.”

Mariah and the students will work on the diversion drain wall throughout November. 

“The piece is called ‘Water is life’, and it will show how First Nations people would survive off this water and the animals and bush tucker in each area,” Mariah said.

“The rainbow serpent represents the song lines. It’s important to share our stories of our cultural connections to the waterways within the community.”