There’s a lookout area that you can drive into as you enter the town of Victor Harbor on the Fleurieu Peninsula in South Australia that’s often overlooked by those of us familiar with the area. The view is always something that grabs your attention as you drive into the town and is one that makes you go wow as you see the big blue expanse of water come into view. From here you can also see Granite Island and the causeway that leads to it, and the hills of Victor Harbor with houses sprawling in all directions.
As well as a brilliant view there is a pretty amazing artwork of mosaic tiles that tells a story with meaningful symbols of three cultures. The artwork came about due to a cultural exchange program between students of Victor Harbor schools and those of Fregon community, an aboriginal community in the remote far northwest corner of South Australia. Fregon is in the Pitjantjara Yankunytjatjara Lands, 1300 kilometres by road from Adelaide.
The student exchanges began in 1981 and since then thousands of students from both areas have been able to get a glimpse of the very different daily lives and environments they live in when they make visits to each other’s towns. This mosaic is a compilation of three cultures, non-aboriginal, Pitjantjara and the local Ramindjeri people and symbolises learning together with the inclusion of the local reconciliation symbol of Kondoli the whale. Artists from three different cultures worked together to create the mosaic design which tells a number of stories.
Whales are frequent visitors to the waters of Victor Harbor and along this coastline and according to the Ramindjeri dreaming story, Kondoli was once a large man who became a whale when he dived into the water after being speared by some of the tribespeople, and they in turn were changed into different animals including a shark, a stingray and a seal. Others were turned into birds and fish, all of which are prolific in the area today. The full dreaming story can be read at the lookout.
Other symbols in the mosaic art include sea creatures, a sea of hands to show more Australians are working towards a better future of reconciliation, animal tracks symbolising how aboriginal people have lived in harmony and with sustainability with the land, and traditional aboriginal symbols that show meetings, storytelling and other local dreaming stories.
This brilliant, colourful mosaic is one to stop and have a closer look at if you’re ever in the area.