Pardelup Prison Farm inmates, Mt Barker police bring Noongar inspired mural to life for NAIDOC Week

Sarah MakseAlbany Advertiser
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Mt Barker Sgt. David Johnson, Pardelup Prison Farm Supt. Jodi Miller, and Corrective Services Deputy Commissioner Michael Reynolds.
Camera IconMt Barker Sgt. David Johnson, Pardelup Prison Farm Supt. Jodi Miller, and Corrective Services Deputy Commissioner Michael Reynolds. Credit: Supplied

Pardelup Prison Farm’s Noongar roots have been honoured in a vibrant mural, hand-painted by inmates as part of NAIDOC Week celebrations.

Taking pride of place in the prison farm’s visitors centre, the artwork honours Pardelup’s Noongar origins as the “place of many dabchicks”, a small water bird found in the region.

The piece was created by Pardelup prisoners and staff alongside Mt Barker officer-in-charge Sgt David Johnson last week.

Sgt Johnson, a signwriter of 38 years, spearheaded last year’s Mountains and Murals Festival in which signwriters from around the world created a trail of public art through the town.

The NAIDOC Week mural created over three days was an opportunity for prisoners to learn the basics of the trade in preparation to paint smaller murals around the prison.

Sgt Johnson said the project was a way to connect with prisoners.

“It was a good opportunity to break down those barriers, because their general interaction with police is normally in a negative sense,” he said.

“It was a good opportunity to realise we have something in common outside of the blue uniform and that I love art as much as they do.

“It was a great opportunity to work together and swap some stories.”

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