Drive to Aboriginal songlines on the Pacific Highway
Aboriginal artworks have been installed at nine overpass bridges spanning four lanes on the new Pacific Motorway between Woolgoolga and Ballina on the north coast of New South Wales.
The new artworks along the Woolgoolga to Ballina Aboriginal Art Trail depict the creation stories and ancient travel routes (Songlines) of the Aboriginal nations of the region.
The Australian and NSW governments funded the $4.9 billion Woolgoolga to Ballina upgrade to provide 155 kilometres of safer, four-lane divided road.
The Woolgoolga to Ballina Aboriginal Art Trail is part of the Pacific Highway upgrade project which also included upgrading nine interchanges, more than 170 bridges and more than 350 other connecting roads.
The upgrade opened to traffic in 2020 and reduces the distance between Woolgoolga and Ballina by 13 kilometres and saves motorists about 25 minutes in travel time.
Transport for NSW is planning a community event involving all the artists and their communities, to be held in the coming months.
For more information visit www.pacifichighway.nsw.gov.au/drive-songlines.
Quotes attributable to Federal Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Local Government Minister Catherine King:
“The Australian Government is committed to working collaboratively with the NSW Government on key infrastructure projects and I’m proud that local Aboriginal communities have been part of this journey.
“Motorists travelling on this route will not only enjoy a smoother and safer journey but also get to experience Aboriginal artwork that depicts stories from Gumbaynggirr, Yaegl and Bundjalung narratives.
“The artists were selected by local Aboriginal communities and stakeholders and their artworks communicate the rich and ancient history of these nations.”
Quotes attributable to NSW Regional Transport and Roads Minister Jenny Aitchison:
“The NSW Government is securing a brighter future for communities in the northern rivers and surrounds by building the infrastructure projects that matter to locals, tourists and industry.
“While we get on with delivering major infrastructure in regional NSW we also place critical importance on recognising Aboriginal culture and heritage wherever possible.
“This not only creates more employment opportunities in the region but further strengthens connections to Aboriginal culture and identity and recognises the cultures of the Gumbaynggirr, Yaegl and Bundjalung people.
“Locals and visitors alike will now be able to enjoy world class infrastructure as they travel through the beautiful natural scenery whilst experiencing connection to the deep Aboriginal history and culture of the region.”
Quotes attributable to Federal Member for Richmond Justine Elliot:
“The artworks tell the ‘Songlines’ of the Gumbaynggirr, Yaegl and Bundjalung nations, reflecting their physical and spiritual belonging, and connection to Country.
“The artworks are in place on nine highway overpasses, along a 155-kilometre section of highway between Woolgoolga and Ballina.
“The artists were selected by local Aboriginal communities and stakeholders, and their artworks communicate the rich and ancient history of these nations.”