For Gunai artist Ronald Edwards Pepper, a wall can present an opportunity to tell stories of culture and support awareness in the workplace of Gippsland’s Indigenous history.

The talented Gunai artist transformed the walls of a disused courtyard with the depiction of a Dreamtime story of the pelican Boorun and the musk duck Tuk – the father and mother of Gippsland’s Gunaikurnai people and the land they inhabit.

As Ronald explained, Boorun “came from the mountains in the north-west, carrying his canoe”.

“He was a pelican. He walked to Tarra Warackel (Port Albert) in the west. As he walked, he heard constant tapping sounds, but couldn’t identify them," he said.

"When he reached the water inlets, Boorun put down his canoe and much to his surprise there was a woman in it. She was Tuk, a musk duck. He was very happy to see her and she became his wife and mother of the Gunaikurnai people and the traditional owner of this place we work and live on Wukwuk.”

While the story is one shared by all the Gunaikurnai people, Ronald used artistic expression to give his own version of this biggest of stories – the birth of an ancient land and its people.

“You see a lot of different designs in many of my paintings and it’s how I see Boorun and Tuk in a time when it was the beginning of Australia…and it’s how many of our country was formed, such as water rivers, lakes, land and hills,” he said.

Ronald believes there is much that ensures the story’s relevance today.

“Boorun and Tuk are both together and looking after us, along with our country and culture. We have meetings places for our people and I paint five lines to represents five clans group in the tribe, as the clan groups form a tribe. This is the story of Aboriginal culture in Gippsland’s Dreamtime.”

Latrobe Health CEO Ian Whitehead said Ronald’s work was an important new addition to the Latrobe Health office.

“To say Ronald’s work has brightened up our Newborough office would be an understatement. But it’s more than just a colourful artwork. It’s recognition of the importance of the Gunaikurnai story to our community and cultural welcoming in our workplace,” Mr Whitehead said.

“The Dreamtime story of the Gunaikurnai is one that still has major relevance today, as it’s all about looking after one another and the country. As an organisation promoting the importance of health, that’s a powerful message.”

Latrobe Health Services acknowledges the traditional owners of country, the Gunaikurnai nation, and recognises their continuing connection to land, waters and culture. We pay our respects to their Elders past, present and emerging.