INDIGENOUS signage on new town entry signs at Mossman and Daintree Village feature native animals and iconic Douglas locations
Platypus, Ulysses butterflies and dragonflies are depicted on the new Indigenous welcome signs which celebrate and recognise our local Eastern Kuku Yalanji culture.
With unique approvals from Transport & Main Roads (TMR) to include Indigenous artwork designs in their road signage, Douglas Shire Council partnered with local artists to commission artwork for two new town entry signs.
Local artists Loretta Lenoy (Daintree Village sign) and Luwana Spratt (Mossman sign) designed the artwork for the signs which were installed at the town entry points last month.
Ms Lenoy, who grew up in Daintree Village, said her art was inspired by her connection to the region.
“When I think of Daintree Village, I think about the blue butterflies that have always flown around here – I don’t usually paint butterflies but it just seemed like such an obvious and fitting illustration for Daintree Village,” Ms Lenoy said.
“This is where I started painting, almost right here, and to come back and see my art here is very meaningful to me.”
Ms Spratt, a Kuku Yalanji artist and traditional custodian of Mossman Gorge, designed the Welcome to Mossman sign.
“My artwork reflects my connection to the rainforest,” she said.
“I feel privileged to have the Douglas Shire Council choose my artwork for the sign to my clan area.”
Douglas Shire Mayor Michael Kerr said the signs truly reflect the region’s cherished indigenous heritage.
“We are incredibly proud of our rich Indigenous culture,” he said.
“The artwork created for each sign is representative of our unique Indigenous cultures and provide a meaningful representation and acknowledgement of the First Nations people.”
Council initiated the partnership with Jabalbina Yalanji Aboriginal Corporation, the Registered Native Title Body Corporate for Eastern Kuku Yalanji bubu (land) in 2019.
The partnership was created to coordinate the roll-out of bi-lingual signage across the Yalanji regions of the Shire, and the Indigenous Language Signage (ILS) Program was formed.
The Indigenous Language Signage Committee (ILS Committee), which includes Elders and younger representatives, compiled the list of place names through extensive consultation.
The two-year program has seen the roll out of 24 place signs, three “Welcome to Country Signs” and finally, the Daintree Village and Mossman “Welcome to Town” signs.
These place signs were installed throughout 2020.
The ILS program was funded by Douglas Shire Council, with Jabalbina providing the services of their Cultural Heritage Officer, and in-kind support.
The Welcome to Town Signs mark the final instalment of Stage 1 of the Indigenous Language Signage Project.