Amazing art celebrates Protecting Country as the Aboriginal Land Rights Act turns 40 in NSW

30 March, 2023

Proud Kamilaroi/Gamilaraay artist, Monique Rennie, has designed a unique artwork to mark the 40th anniversary of the Aboriginal Land Rights Act passing NSW Parliament. 

Commissioned by the NSW Aboriginal Land Council to mark this special occasion, Monique has created an amazing artwork, titled `Stronger with Country’, representing the diverse lands and waterways of Country the legends of the Land Rights movement have protected in the past, and now the Land Rights Network continues to protect for future generations.

“I hope healing and resilience comes through in this artwork,’’ Monique said. “The persistence that our mob have had to provide to move forward is immense. There is no underestimating how much strength is required to overcome the unrelenting barriers we face.

Despite these challenges, we move forward. The sun at the centre of the artwork is representative of the ways in which our Land Rights Warriors action supports the thriving of our communities. Of our people coming together in small and large groups, supported by the path that has been paved by our ancestors. “With empowerment through land and the protection of our waterways our people, our Culture and our Country are able to thrive and we are able to pass on our legacy, our healing and our strength from one generation to the next,” said Monique, who lives on Wonnarua land in the Upper Hunter.

Monique comes from a long line of Land Rights warriors. She is related to Queenie Cain, who famously petitioned Queen Victoria to fight for mob and establish the Burra Bee Dee Aboriginal reserve near Coonabarabran.

Monique’s father, Glen Rennie, who unfortunately was taken too soon, was also CEO of the Purfleet Taree Local Aboriginal Land Council, and provided for mob in myriad ways. “I grew up with NSWALC and the importance of land rights,” she said. “From family I have learnt commitment, dedication, integrity, and resilience, so our mob endures and thrives.”

NSWALC CEO Yuseph Deen is thrilled with the design. “We shortlisted a group of artists and Monique was a great fit for us,’’ Mr Deen said.

“I particularly love the flannel flowers, which grow in the harshest conditions all across NSW, and the kangaroo tracks which represent moving forwards, towards the future.’’

The artwork’s message of protecting our land and waterways for the future will particularly resonate, NSWALC Chair Cr Danny Chapman said.

“Our vision for Aboriginal Land Rights in NSW continues to build on the strong foundations of NSWALC when it was established by our Land Rights Warriors in 1977. Securing our future for the next generations drives and motivates us every single day,’’ Cr Chapman said.

The artwork and logo will be used across a range of different products to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the ALRA. 30 March represents when the ALRA was passed in the Legislative Council in 1983, the Act was enacted on 10 June, 1983.

A Rock for Land Rights Concert, Black Parliament and various regional events throughout NSW are also planned for later in the year.

Monique’s artwork, Stronger with Country.

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We pay our respects to the Traditional Owners of the lands where we work as well as across the lands we travel through. We also acknowledge our Elders past, present and emerging.

Artwork Credit: Craig Cromelin, from a painting he did titled, "4 favourite fishing holes". It is a snippet of his growing years on the Lachlan River, featuring yabby, turtle, fish and family.