Paint our Poles project outside Bellingen High

You may have spotted small teams of Bellingen High students painting five power poles along Waterfall Way outside the school on Wednesday and Thursday.

They were Year 7 students from Rob Wickham’s art class implementing original designs based on the Gumbaynggirr story of the Golden Man, who created the local rivers and languages as he tried to escape people who were pursuing him.

Earlier, Michael Jarrett had come to the school and told the class this Dreamtime story and how to represent its characters and traditional elements, and then in small groups the students designed the art they would paint on their poles.

One of the project organisers, Grace Menzies from the Bellingen Youth Hub, said the weather had been relatively kind.

It was warm and humid for the two days they were doing the painting, but despite the black clouds on Wednesday morning, only a couple of little showers had fallen.

These Indigenous-themed pole paintings are the first set of many that will be executed in the centre of Bellingen.

Other groups and other themes will be at work as the project continues to roll out along Hyde St and adjacent streets.

For instance, artist Fiona McAulay will soon be painting a design featuring egrets and herons on the pole outside the Fennel Seed cafe, just across from the pilot pole, which displays a song about growing up in Bellingen written by her daughter Gemma.