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Mandy Nicholson

Mandy Nicholson is a Wurundjeri-willam (Wurundjeri-baluk patriline) artist and Traditional Custodian of Narrm (Melbourne) and surrounds. 

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Layers of Country 

Layers of Country
Biik-ut (Below Country)

Is where we collect ochre for dance and ceremony. The roots of plants (depicted in the linework of the design) represent the roots of plants being sustained by Biik (Country).

Biik-dui (On Country) 

Is where we all live, but also balance our cultural lives with every day lives. The flowing lines represent our journey/s while the line work represents how connected and grounded we are with Biik (Country).

Baanj Biik (Water Country)


Is within every element of life and every layer of Country. From oceans, creeks, rivers, rain, dew, mist, and water vapour in the stars. Water forms part of our Welcoming ceremonies where visitors are invited to drink water from Wurundjeri Country.

Murnmut Biik (Wind Country)


We cannot see the wind but we can see what it touches, so when this is where our ngulu (voice) and the smoke from our Welcome fire absorb into everything around it, including the plants and Us and transcends to Bunjil.

Wurru wurru Biik (Sky Country)


Is where we see our Creator Spirit Bunjil the Wedge-tail eagle in his physical form watching over his Country and guiding his people. Waang the Raven his Helper is alongside him.

Dharrangalk Biik (Star Country)


Darrang=tree; galk=stick and Biik=Country. This is the Bush Country above the clouds where Bunjil lives in his spiritual form as the star Altair. The two stars either side of him are his two wives the Gunuwarra (black swans).

Wurun (mannagum)


Wurundjeri are the manna gum people, with ‘wurun’ meaning manna gum and ‘djeri’ meaning the grub that lives within it. Manna gum leaves are used in Welcome ceremonies where green leaves are placed on the embers of a fire to release the healing properties of the oil to cleanse visitors.


On the lawn close by you will see Wominjeka

Cultural meaning:

‘Womin’ = to come from somewhere;

‘-dji’ and instruction of being asked to come;

‘-ka’ = purpose


By the Birrarung

Iuk (eel) (pronounced ee-ook)


The original path of the Birrarung (Yarra) flowed through what is now Royal Botanic Gardens Melbourne and is now known as Ornamental Lake. Iuk migrate down the Birrarung in Spring, swimming all the way to New Caledonia with the young elvers returning to the Birrarung where their parents lived.


Great gatherings would take place along the banks of the Birrarung right where you’re standing called Tanderrum, a great celebration of the Eastern/Central Gulinj (Kulin) of the Woiwurrung (Wurundjeri), Dja Dja wurrung, Boon wurrung, Daungwurrung and Wadawurrung.

Murnong (Yam Daisy)

Staple food source where women would use their ‘wulunj’ (digging sticks) to aerate and till the earth. Broad meadows of yellow were recorded when Europeans arrived in Narrm (Melbourne) as well as manicured grass and scrublands. Narrm meaning scrubland.


Wurun kurn-brook 

Wurun kurn-brook (manna gum blossom)


Manna gum being the tree Wurundjeri, the Traditional Custodians of Narrm (Melbourne) are named after.


At the end of the trail, the words Twaganin Kirrip are projected onto Mueller Hall, the artistic treatment is by Mandy Nicholson.


The Cultural meaning:

(Farewell friend) ‘Twaga’=to go; ‘-in’=you. ‘Kirrip’=friend 

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