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Yamatji woman and artist Carol Martin reveals giant mural on Chapman Road of a Beemurrah rainbow serpent

Jessica MoroneyGeraldton Guardian
Carol Martin's mural of the rainbow serpent Beemurrah.
Camera IconCarol Martin's mural of the rainbow serpent Beemurrah. Credit: Jessica Moroney/Geraldton Guardian

A colourful mural painting the Yamatji dreamtime story of the Greenough River mouth opening to the ocean was revealed on Friday with a welcome to country and smoking ceremony.

Yamatji artist and former State MP Carol Martin revealed her mural on Chapman Road on Friday, which tells a story of the rainbow serpent, or Beemurrah, that lives in the fresh water of Chapman River.

An exhibition was hosted at Market Creations Agency and contained a colourful array of Aboriginal art work painted by Ms Martin, each telling ancient stories handed down by the generations.

“What I wanted to do was to make sure everyone knew this place should be respected,” Ms Martin said.

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“Not all of us have seen a Beemurrah, when we grew up our oldies took us and showed us. Some of us can recall what we saw and recreate it. That’s why I was really happy to share this with everyone.”

Yamatji Marlpa Aboriginal Corporation project manager Derek Councillor began the reveal with a welcome to country and smoking ceremony. He said the Beemurrah travelled towards the mouth of the Greenough River and discovered the ocean existed.

“All he saw was this vast, blue water. The Beemurrah belongs in fresh water, he doesn’t know about salt water. But he wanted to go in the ocean and have a look,” he said.

The story explains the sea serpent became angry because Beemurrah did not belong in his country. The two serpents had a battle and the Beemurrah retreated back to his country.

“When the Beemurrah returned to the river the sea serpent followed him and pushed all the way along the beach back to the mouth of the Greenough River,” Mr Councillor said.

For Yamatji people, Mr Councillor said when the river flowed into the sea the brown water symbolised the Beemurrah trying to get back into the ocean.

Ms Martin’s art exhibition is available until this Friday.

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