Poet Nola Gregory’s work featured at Geraldton Regional Library and in Sydney’s immersive experience

Jessica MoroneyGeraldton Guardian
Geraldton poet Nola Gregory was recognised in the Queensland Poetry Awards.
Camera IconGeraldton poet Nola Gregory was recognised in the Queensland Poetry Awards. Credit: Tamati Smith

A First Nations creative has reached her next career highlight with her poetry showcased in Sydney this weekend, as well as exhibiting an elder’s poem at Geraldton Regional Library.

Born and raised in the City of Greater Geraldton, passionate poet Nola Gregory is a Kija/Bard woman with family ties in Turkey Creek and Broome.

The award-winning writer has a knack for raising social issues in her work since she began in 1995. It’s understood she’s the only First Nations person to have had a poem read in both the Federal and State parliaments.

Gregory’s exhibition Elders Legacy Poems, with artworks by Marrika Laudehr, is currently on display at the Geraldton Regional Library until Tuesday, November 29.

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“I was a little bit sad because we were losing a lot of elders in the community, and there was a lot of information that had been lost with those elders,” Gregory said.

“Somebody needed to honour them.”

The Elders Legacy Poems exhibition is a tribute to the hard work and influence of the elders in the community throughout their lifetime. As well as showing gratitude for past elders, Ms Gregory is also respected as an elder in Aboriginal circles.

“The original reason I started poetry — going back a few years ago around 1994 — there was an unfortunate death on the beach in Geraldton and the family seen me and asked if I could write a poem for a eulogy, and it ballooned from there,” she said.

Her passion for poetry is what keeps her going, and one of her most recent achievements was being invited to see her poetry Mother Earth used in a multi-sensory, immersive experience.

Australian Geographic, in partnership with Northern Pictures, will launch the world premiere of Our Country Immersive Experience (Our Country) on Saturday, November 19 in Sydney.

Gregory travelled to Sydney on Wednesday to watch the film showcasing Australia’s landscapes and natural wonders. She said one of her poems would feature on a 2m-high lightboard.

“I’m going over with an invitation to watch the official opening of it. I’m looking forward to seeing the film itself, absolutely,” Gregory said.

“What I’ve seen of it so far is absolutely beautiful, the Australian wildlife and about the planet.”

Gregory said she loved her community as much as her poems, and was always willing to hand down her knowledge and be involved in projects.

“I’ve given a lot to the community with regards to my poems. I work a lot in the schools in Geraldton, teaching poetry to the kids,” she said.

In August 2021, Gregory was recognised in the Queensland Poetry Awards, receiving professional mentorship from award-winning poet Pam Brown, publication in the Overland Literary Journal, and a paid performance opportunity with Queensland Poetry as part of her prize.

Gregory’s poem Australia’s Silenced History was put to music by Perth’s Artemis Orchestra, which featured the piece on its debut album last year.

Those interested in a copy of Elders Legacy Poems can speak with staff at the Geraldton Regional Library.

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