Project Northern Beaches Coastal Walk, Aboriginal Art and Storytelling
Artist Frances Belle Parker (Yaegl)

Year 2022

Oyster Shell Middens
Narabeen Lagoon, NSW

Middens along the coast are places where Aboriginal people gathered to feast together, leaving the remains of shellfish. There are several identified middens across the Northern Beaches that are protected and revered.

Frances’ oyster shell middens pays tribute to these sites.

“The story of the middens is about digging further than what you see on the surface and understanding the underlying history, not only of the artworks, but also of the land that you are on,” Frances Belle Parker, 2022.

Whale Songs
Long Reef Headland, and Avalon, NSW

Whales are embedded in Aboriginal culture in many forms including dreamtime stories, and totem animals for various language groups. Sydney features many significant artwork sites depicting whales and the Northern Beaches is an area where whales have long been respected within the Aboriginal history of the coastline.

Singing in the whales has been a tradition practiced along the east coast of New South Wales involving gifted Aboriginal Elders singing to them, calling them in from the headland. Frances recalls being told about an Aboriginal Aunty who possessed this gift, who would call and sing in these amazing creatures.

The artwork is comprised of cast bronze plaques, installed along the Coast Walk. The stories on the plaques symbolise the ‘singing-in’ of the whales along the coastline of the Northern Beaches. The night sky is reflected through the mark-making and stars featured, and the coastline is depicted, acknowledging the bloodlines of the traditional owners of the Northern Beaches.