15 July 2016
Turtle time: Jeremiah Stewart is part of a group of young people from Shepparton-based Kildonan UnitingCare’s Yanyun Lotjpan Yapenyebak program which has spent six months handcrafting a sculpture of a large turtle to present to residents of Rumbalara Elders Facility in Shepparton.
The group from Kildonan UnitingCare’s Yanyun Lotjpan Yapenyebak program has spent six months creating a special turtle sculpture which will take pride of place at the centre.
The project was resourceful and the finished sculpture — made of scrap sheet metal, bike chain, exhaust pipes, horseshoes and red gum — impressed those present for the unveiling.
Group member Jeremiah Stewart, 14, said he was pleased with the end result.
‘‘It looks very good. I was wowed with how good it is,’’ he said.
‘‘It’s good to donate it to here, because I have lots of my elders here.’’
The long-necked turtle is culturally significant to the Yorta Yorta people because it is their official totem.
Kildonan UnitingCare youth worker Kalun Atkinson said the name of the program — Yanyun Lotjpan Yapenyebak — meant ‘‘walk and talk together’’.
‘‘The names of all the boys have been engraved on it, and they are very proud of it,’’ he said.
Kildonan UnitingCare’s program manager, Ian Bloomfield, described the turtle sculpture as ‘‘a sensational piece of art’’.
Rumbalara positive ageing and disability services director Dean Walton said the turtle would be an impressive addition to the facility.
‘‘Rumbalara encourages family and friends to visit residents as often as they can as well as welcoming groups from pre-schoolers to people from other aged care services to ensure residents stay connected with the community,’’ he said.
‘‘This link we have now formed with Kildonan’s YLY members has connected another group of young Aboriginal men with Elders ensuring stories, knowledge and connections can continue through generations.’’