Time Travellers

Eclectic patterning and electric imagery create a visual emblem of one of many creation stories handed down over time, honouring the DNA of ancient Aboriginal Australia. 

Art installation on brick walls, coloured paint on brick. Northern vent building 55.9 x 10.9 metres, Southern vent building 178.1 x 9.4 metres. Artwork developed with the assistance of Woods Bagot, Laing O’Rourke, PGH Bricks & Pavers and Waeger Constructions.

About the artwork

The corridors and platforms of Central Railway Station are shared spaces, amongst many different people from many countries. 

The vent structures provide a unique opportunity to engage with Aboriginal heritage values in a visually engaging, integrated, and large-scale manner, providing an interface with the enormous number of people who will use the new Central Station and Metro. 

Time Travellers unites modern images of journeys and travel with the DNA of Aboriginal Australia, connecting back to the origins of our river systems and sacred sites.

Artist Statement

"The overall concept for this artwork has emerged from a lifetime of investigating the layers of human existence and the molecular component of the DNA of ancient Aboriginal Australia that I am connected to through my family. My vision is to honour the fallen, who have returned to earth, and the layers of ancestors that lie under the contemporary world of Sydney.

The spiritual concept for Time Travellers is that I believe our old people are our guides and will offer smooth transitions when respect is acknowledged. The tunnelling and excavation of the country needs to celebrate the unseen of the city, which is Aboriginal Australia.

The DNA and serpentine-like imagery that I have created is visually emblematic of one of the many creation stories that have been handed down over time, through oral history for over 60,000 years. The electric imagery and eclectic patterning will assist passengers on their journey, whether that be purely physical or spiritual. This imagery translates and connects back to the origins of our river systems and sacred sites.

The journey we have all been on for generations as Australians has been darkened by colonisation and genocide but then elevated to a higher status through the love of humanity. I believe that the ancestors would want to remove hatred and replace this with connections of human existence. That does not mean we forget the past but work harder for a richer future together.

To visualise tribes and clans of people from Gadigal Country paddling their canoes across the corridors of time is an epic image and it is important to acknowledge this time in our history. This acknowledgement has been paramount to me in creating this work.

I see this complex, large body of creation, with architectural, engineering, and artistic components pumping with an understanding and respect for the beginning of time – a time when Aboriginal Australia and culture led the way over ancient tracks, when footsteps were laid on the earth for the purpose of travel. They were all living in that moment and now that is in the past.

We are now also living in our moment, and we will become the past; creating a new invigorating journey to travel, a new history and finding a shared vision through the human lens of the oldest living culture in a contemporary moment, now."

Artist Biography

Dr. Bronwyn Bancroft is a Bundjalung Woman and Artist. Her professional career as an artist began following her graduation from the Canberra School of Arts in 1980. 

Bronwyn’s career has included both national and international exhibitions. Her work has been acquired by major Australian galleries, state libraries and private collections.  

Bronwyn’s contribution to Indigenous literature has been immense and has included the creation of 46 books.

Bronwyn is a Founding Member of Boomalli Aboriginal Artists Co-operative (est. 1987) and has been the Co-operative’s volunteer senior strategist since 2009. 

Bronwyn is a volunteer and advocate for equality and contributes her extensive expertise to a number of community organisations and not-for-profits. Bronwyn is a Board member/Director of Australian Indigenous Mentoring Experience (AIME), Australian Society of Authors, The Returning and the Commonwealth Bank Indigenous Advisory Council.  

Bronwyn has a Diploma of Visual Arts, 2 Masters degrees and a Doctor of Philosophy from the University of Sydney. Bronwyn was the 2020 recipient of the University of Sydney’s Alison Bush Graduate Medal for her contribution to the Indigenous community.