The City of Greater Geelong is funding the research and restoration of an Aboriginal mural at the Old Geelong Gaol – the first project to take part in  the Council’s inaugural First Nations Cultural Heritage Grants program.

The project to identify the artist, research the history of the artwork, and restore the painting, will be supported by a grant of up to $60,000 under the new funding stream, which was endorsed by the Council in December 2021, along with 39 other 2021-22 Community Grants. 

It is understood that the walls of the Old Geelong Gaol were painted over about 30 years ago when the Gaol closed and parts of what appears to be an artwork of a waterfall, measuring 12m by 3m, have been uncovered under a layer of paint.

The research aims to identify if the mural is the work of former inmate Revel Cooper (c.1934-1983), a Noongar man, who painted another artwork at the Gaol and became a well-known Indigenous artist, with  work hanging in the National Gallery of Australia.

Deputy Mayor, Trent Sullivan, said the Council’s grants provided important opportunities for the Council and community to partner in significant projects which would provide a range of benefits for many years to come.

“Congratulations and thank you to the successful grant applicant for putting forward such an important project,” Deputy Mayor Sullivan said. 

“The City would also like to thank the independent grants panel for their work in assessing the First Nations Cultural Heritage Grant applications.”

Chair of the Council’s Finance portfolio, Anthony Aitken, said that the inaugural grant reflects the Council’s commitment to Reconciliation with Geelong’s First Nations community.

“We have worked with the Wadawurrung Traditional Owners over the past 18 months to establish this new grant stream and we’re so very proud that the first recipient will be using the funds in such a unique and creative way,” Mr Aitken said.

“It’s exciting to imagine the possibilities of how First Nations history will be celebrated and conserved in Greater Geelong into the future, through this new grant stream.”

Round two of the First Nations Cultural Heritage Grant is currently open until 11 April 2022, with grants available for projects that recognise, protect and conserve Aboriginal cultural heritage.

Examples of ideas that will be considered include:

  • Development of a Cultural Heritage Management Plan (CHMP) for an Aboriginal Heritage Place and objects (including those on the VAHR)
  • Activities and works identified in an approved CHMP where they fall within the boundary of the Aboriginal Heritage Place or object or curtilage of the heritage place or object

This might include:

  • Bollards and fencing to protect a site
  • Projects to record site values including oral histories
  • Interpretative signage, seating, track work or other activities to enhance visitor’s experiences to a site
  • Re-establishment of native plants

Leave a reply

©2024 Council. All rights reserved


We're not around right now. But you can send us an email and we'll get back to you, asap.


Log in with your credentials

Forgot your details?