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NAIDOC Week in the Gallery

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We are celebrating NAIDOC Week in the Gallery with a display of works by our local artists. The range of styles and themes makes for an exciting display.

As we move towards Christmas, we encourage you to drop in and look at the works that are available. Original artworks make wonderful gifts.

We also stock a wide range of giftware, cards, Christmas wrap and decorations. We hope to see you soon.

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emus 50.5 x 50.5

Mabel Ritchie – Emus I – Acrylic on canvas – 50.5cm x 50.5cm

This is Mabel Ritchie’s painting of emus. The emu has been in the news lately. The Americans have decided that “ee-moo” is an acceptable pronunciation, while in Australia it has always been “ee-mew”.

Perhaps we could solve the problem by opting for the traditional Dunghutti word – “Nguruyn”.


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Acquisition of Work by Gus Kelly

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Gus Kelly – Yalaanggur Yurra (Turtle) – Coloured Pencil on Paper  – 96.5 x 75.5cm

The gallery is pleased to announce that it has purchased Gus Kelly’s beautiful, large format pencil drawing Yalaanggur Yurra (Turtle) for its permanent collection.

Over the years, the gallery has developed a policy of selecting works for permanent display. We currently have works by Alison Williams, Lewis J Knox, Mabel Ritchie, Jaluka Rosalee Quinlin, Esther Quinlin (deceased), Elwyn Toby, Andrew Stewart and Clem Ritchie.

Gus was a founding member of the Dunghutti-Ngaku Aboriginal Art Gallery and has continued to exhibit with us throughout the years.

Please take the opportunity to drop into the gallery and view this latest acquisition. The detail in the work will astound you.

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Works from the Three-Nations Art Exhibition

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Our new exhibition – Always Was, Always Will Be – is open to the public.

Working with the Wadjar Regional Indigenous Gallery at Yarrawarra Aboriginal Cultural Centre and the Armidale Aboriginal Cultural Centre and Keeping Place, we are celebrating the achievements of artists from a wide expanse of northern NSW.

The exhibition will be open until August 28th. We are currently open from 10.00am to 3.00pm Monday to Wednesday but will shortly return to being open to the public 7 days a week. Please phone ahead (02 6562 1432) if you want to check if we are open.

Watch an NBN Television introduction to the exhibition at:

Mudjai - Waterlily for webMudjai Jeremy Devitt – Water Lily – Acrylic on canvas

Nick Levy -Turtle Dreaming for webNick Levy – Turtle Dreaming – Acrylic on canvas

Bruce Irving - Many Rosellas for webBrian Irving – Many Rosellas – Acrylic on canvas

Zeita Davis - New Moon for webZeita Davis – New Moon – Acrylic on canvas

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Two Views of an Important Local Site

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Burrel Bulai – Barralbarayi

Barralbarayi is the Dunghutti name for the mountain which can be seen to the west of Kempsey.

It has also been known as Burrell Bulai, Mount Sugarloaf, Anderson’s Sugarloaf and Mount Anderson. It is a cap made of basalt formed by the Ebor volcano 20 million years ago.

“This is a view of the landscape and the traditional people around Burren Bulai. There is rain falling on the mountain but the children are still happily swimming in Nulla Creek. There are a number of campsites around the base of the mountain.”
Leo Leeko Wright – My House – My Site – Burrel Bulai 1
Acrylic on canvas 76 x 61cm.

“Barralbarayi is the Dunghutti word for “Mt Sugarloaf” or Mt Anderson, which is the Goanna symbol.  This place has special spiritual significance to Thunghutti people.  It is the initiation ground for young men coming of age.  Pink dots represent women, they too have their own sacred ground & are not allowed to walk on the mountain – they must walk around.”
Elwyn Toby – Barralbarayi
Acrylic on canvas 76cm x 60.5cm. DNAAG Collection.


Nulla Nulla Creek and Barralbarayi

Why is it an Aboriginal Place?

Burrel Bulai Aboriginal Place (Barrralbarayi) is a sacred natural feature and is associated with initiation ceremonies. 

Why is the site important to Aboriginal people?

It is considered to be one of the most powerful sacred sites in Dunghutti Country. It has special significance to local Aboriginal people because it is a place where ‘clever-people’ would prepare for specialised initiations. The mountain also has importance because it lies at the centre of Dunghutti Country and has strong powers capable of drawing home local Aboriginal people.

As Burrel Bulai, it was recorded as a place of significance by Ray Kelly, an Aboriginal Research Officer with the NSW Sites of Significance Survey team. Ray Kelly documented stories told to him by initiated men at Bellbrook Mission about the importance and power of Burrel Bulai.

Uncle Bob Smith has shared stories of Barralbarayi on video for the ABC My Place series – The Goanna Spirit on Anderson Sugarloaf Mountain.

This can be accessed at:

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Art Behind Closed Doors


Boundaries by Leo Leeko Wright

The gallery has just taken delivery of new works by local Dunghutti artist Leo Leeko Wright. Leo is looking at local history with his works; at traditional camping areas, hunting practices and important local sites. These and other works will soon be part of our Always Was, Always Will Be exhibition.

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Always Was, Always Will Be

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Artwork by Zale Davison

“Always Was, Always Will Be” is the theme for NAIDOC Week in 2020.

Together with Wadjar Regional Indigenous Gallery (Corindi Beach) and the Armidale and Region Aboriginal Cultural Centre, DNAAG was working towards a joint – Three Nations – exhibition.

Covid-19 restrictions have changed the way we are working,  but it is also challenging us to look for creative ways to support our artists and to celebrate their work.

We are keen to proceed, even if in a different format or at a later date.

We are currently investigating the possibility of placing artists works online before proceeding to physical exhibitions in the galleries.

I will keep you posted on our progress.

Alan Guihot – Gallery Coordinator.

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Closure due to Covid 19 Pandemic

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The gallery is currently closed to the public due to the lock-downs caused by the Covid 19 Pandemic.

We are using this time to update our online presence and to research the history of the gallery as it goes into its twelfth year of operation.

You can still contact us by phone or email if you have any inquiries.

We look forward to reopening as soon as possible so that the public can continue to see the outstanding works being produced by our Mid North Coast (NSW) artists.

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Sad Passing of an Important Artist

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Uncle Milton Budge (Dec’d) with the certificate celebrating his award of the
2007 Parliament of NSW Indigenous Art Prize.

One of the founders of the gallery, Uncle Milton Budge, has passed away. Milton exhibited throughout Australia and in 2007 his piece – Ration day times (Working for food rations, Collecting rations and rations)  won the Parliament of NSW Indigenous Art Prize. This work now forms part of the Parliament of NSW permanent art collection. Milton’s beautiful work is held in private and public collections throughout Australia. DNAAG was privileged to be associated with Milton and to exhibit his work, which shared important stories about our local history and culture.

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Congratulations Lewis John Knox

Church After The Fire

Our congratulations go to Lewis John Knox the inaugural winner of the Saltwater Freshwater Aboriginal Art Prize at the Coffs Harbour Regional Gallery

Church After the Fire – Lewis John Knox

Acrylic on canvas

50cm x 40cm x 1.2cm

Judge Djon Mundine had the following to say about this beautiful artwork

Church After the Fire is a painting about a time and a place committed to the memory of Lewis John Knox within the Aboriginal region now called the mid-north coast of New South Wales. It talks of the ‘mission called Burnt Bridge outside Kempsey that gave birth to a number of story-teller historian painters; Robert Campbell Jnr. and Adam Hill a.k.a. Blak Douglas among them. Picasso once lamented his wish to paint with the wonderment of a child. The childhood memory related here is simply directly expressed in naive brush strokes, colours, and partial impressionist composition. It moved an immediate visual-emotional response among a field of entries across a wide range of scale, styles, and subjects.

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NAIDOC Week – We All Stand on Sacred Ground

NAIDOC stands for National Aborigines and Islanders Day Observance Committee. Its origins can be traced to the emergence of Aboriginal groups in the 1920′s which sought to increase awareness in the wider community of the status and treatment of Indigenous Australians.

NAIDOC week celebrations are held annually around the country during the first full week of July to acknowledge and celebrate history, culture and achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

It is a timely opportunity to recognise the contributions that Indigenous Australians make to our country and our society.

This year the Dunghutti Ngaku Aboriginal Art Gallery will acknowledge and showcase artworks of our Dunghutti region together with aboriginal artists of the mid north coast from 6-12 July 2015.

The Gallery is situated inside the Visitor Information Centre, South Kempsey Park on the old Pacific Highway.

Gallery hours are from 10am – 4pm Tuesday to Sunday.

Be sure not to miss this opportunity to view and support your local Aboriginal Artists and Art Gallery.

‘This Exhibition has been made possible through funding from Australian Government Indigenous Visual Arts Industry Support program.’

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Easter Break

Looking for something to do over school holiday break? Why not drop by the Gallery to view the vast collection of artworks on display.  The gallery also has on hand bush tucker products, home wares, prints etc.


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NAIDOC Exhibition

Serving Country
Centenary & Beyond

This year the Dunghutti Ngaku Aboriginal Art Gallery will acknowledge and showcase photographic portraits by Sydney photographer Sarah Barker of three Kinchela Boys whose fathers served in the armed forces for our country.
Private Cecil Robert Clayton joined the 2/13th Infantry Battalion (known as Devil’s Own) on 10 July 1940 and was discharged on 8 June 1944.
While Private Cecil was serving in the forces during the 1950’s the Government took away 6 of his 9 children in 1957. Buddy Clayton was sent to Kinchela Boys Home and Aunty Fay Clayton was sent to Cootamundra Girls Home.
Upon Cecil’s discharge he returned to the Riverina and while the non-Aboriginal soldiers he served with received benefits such as the Soldier Settlement Blocks, he did not. No returned Aboriginal soldiers were eligible for those benefits.
Uncle Cecil Bowden and Uncle Stan Harradine’s fathers both served in the armed forces. While Uncle Cecil Bowden’s father was away fighting for our country his children were taken away with Uncle Cecil ending up in Kinchela Boys Home.
NAIDOC week celebrations are held annually around the country during July to acknowledge and celebrate history, culture and achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. This year celebrations will be held from the 7th – 11 July
The display of images together with artworks from aboriginal artists is presently on display in the gallery to acknowledge NAIDOC week from Sunday 7 July to Sunday 14 July.
The Gallery is situated inside the Visitor Information Centre, South Kempsey Park on the old Pacific Highway.
Gallery hours are from 10am – 4pm Tuesday to Sunday.
Be sure not to miss this opportunity to view and support your local Aboriginal Artists and Art Gallery.

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New Works

The Gallery presently has on display an extensive range of wonderful aboriginal artwork from Dunghutti region and mid north coast.
New works by Anthony Flanders are well worth a look. Anthony is a Dunghutti man who has a lone lineage of artistic ability in the family.
Don’t forget some of the artists exhibiting in the Gallery have had works hung in the NSW Indigenous Parliament Award, Finalists in Telstra Aboriginal & Torres Strait Island Award, have been short-listed for Ray Ban ‘One sight’ project and shown in prestigious Galleries.
Comments from the visitors book state that it is ‘The Best Aboriginal Art Gallery on the mid north coast’ so be sure not to miss it.

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Burnt Bridge Exhibition – Travelling

Church Day (2)

The Burnt Bridge Exhibition featuring works by Mabel Ritchie, Clem Ritchie and Johnny Knox will be showing at the Armidale Aboriginal Cultural Centre & Keeping Place from 30th January through to 22nd March.

It will then travel onto Yarrawarra Aboriginal Art Gallery from 27 March through to 25 May.

Burnt Bridge Exhibition is a Delineate project, an initiative of Accessible Arts in partnership with the Don’tDISMyAbility Campaign sponsored by NSW Government, Department of Family & Community Services.