“That first painting is full of the monkeys on your back” @ The Girrawaa

New Skills, New Futures through the Girrawaa Creative Work Centre, Bathurst

The Girrawaa hands 1

Participants work each weekday @ The Girrawaa, Bathurst. Image: OurMob

Broadening skills, crafting horizons and building new futures are three of the goals of the Girrawaa Creative Work Centre, at the Bathurst Correctional Centre.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander inmates are supported by the Department of Justice, Elders, teachers and the Bathurst Local Aboriginal Land Council to learn how to create and sell their artwork and build careers as successful artists.

The partnership with Bathurst LALC has been running since Girrawaa began 18 years ago.

Bathurst LALC External

Bathurst Local Aboriginal Land Council. Image: OurMob

Girrawaa is a Wiradjuri word meaning “goanna” and the building itself is shaped like a goanna resting on the hill.

OurMob visited The Girrawaa recently to speak with the participants about the Centre’s impact.

OurMob has received publication permission from the Department of Corrective Services and each of the men who agreed to appear in this special feature and photographs.


The Girrawaa Jeremy cropped with paintings

Jeremy’s first painting is on left, the second just two weeks later, on right. Image: OurMob

The Girrawaa close painting stick

Intricate work at The Girrawaa, Bathurst. Image: OurMob

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  1. Beautiful work, and beautiful people, learning about themselves, and the gifts they have within them.

    Thanks for sharing this heartwarming video.

  2. Hello
    When I was a child I heard of Australian natives but I didn’t
    see them. There were no native Australian in any of the suburbs, shopping areas or schools. I was thirteen before
    I saw a native. Later I worked in retail and again no natives in service nor customers.
    Later I looked into politics and found the answer as to why. I was appalled that a people who truly were the original owners with a background of more than forty thousand years could be hidden from sight .
    Where can I see more of the art as I cannot leave the house.

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