The Painting

One in a Series

Morning Star bark painting
Morning Star
This bark painting was painted by Nicolas Pascoe, a Burarra person, and it is proudly displayed in an office at Questacon.

Painting on bark as a method of recording knowledge is a tradition specific to groups living in northern Australia and is still being practiced today. A bark painting is like the deeds to the land and a family tree in one. The knowledge that is held in these images is the intellectual property of the community and is copyrighted to its custodian.

The painting is one of a series of 31 paintings that is the story of the Murrungun clan who are close relatives of the Burarra people. The artist and custodian of the story is Terry Ganadila. This particular work was painted by his brother-in-law, Nicholas Pascoe. It tells of the seasonal calendar used by the Burarra people.

The Morning Star series of images shows how the weather, land, plants, animals and people, past and present, are all interrelated.

The story tells of the clan’s responsibilities to the land and shows what signs from nature should be followed to decide when things such as hunting, harvesting or burning should be done. It contains laws regarding relationships and marriage, the location of sacred sites and emphasises the importance of obeying spiritual laws.

The fishtrap at the centre of the painting was used in Burarra Gathering's logo.

Australia's Indigenous people communicate their knowledge in many ways - oral storytelling, painting, sculpture, engraving, printmaking, weaving, textile design and the dance and song of ceremonies. Many people are now using modern communication technologies to record and share their stories and knowledge.