Region: Western Districts, Vic
Community: Framlingham Mission
Language: Kirra wurong
Local group: Guntijamara
Subjects: Dry Rivers, fire stick, thang poonart eels biting stones, Body paint.
ABN AMRO Bank,
Prince of Saudi Arabia,
Prime Minister of Turkey,
Sultan Indris of Sallengoor,
Cambridge University, Woodside.
1974 Mornington Penninsula Vic.
2000 Rome. Korea. Noosa Regional Gallery.
2000 Parliament House in Brisbane.
2001 Noosa Regional Gallery.
2004 ABN Amro Tower, Sydney.
2003 Volvo Gallery Sydney.
2015 Cooee Gallery Sydney.
Kurun Warun was born in Australia in 1966. He is a member of the indigenous Guntijamara
tribe and is a descendant from Truganini, the last Tasmanian indigenous queen.
Kurun Warun whose name means 'Hissing Swan' lives in the Noosa hinterland in South East
Queensland. He is best known for his exceptional dot art and talent as a didgeridoo musician.
He expresses his culture through art and music, and has won international recognition in
these fields. Starting at just eight years of age, he has become a sort after artist; his
works now are valuable pieces of collectable aboriginal art. His aboriginal dot paintings
have a traditional meaning which is not always immediately discernable, but within the
colours, lines and space we are led through an underlying story. Kurun Warun also finds
expression through traditional dance and music. Being an accomplished didgeridoo musician
he has performed around the world in places as far flung as Italy and Korea. He played a
role in the Sydney 2000 Olympic games as a traditional artist, has appeared on NBC in the
United States and before Chelsea Clinton, former US president's daughter.
Although it was later in life that he really developed his art practice, Kurun Warun was
also related through his extended family to artist Lin Onus and musician Archie Roach.
Kurun says "Archie Roach's uncle was my grandfather. Mum used to babysit Archie." Archie
Roach's great songs of dispossession were the stories of Aboriginal people at Framlingham.
Kurun Warun's mother came from Framlingham mission near Warnambool, on the south-west
coast of Victoria. Kurun Warun can also claim fifth generation descent from Truganini,
famously called the last Tasmanian, who had come from Tasmania in 1838 to Port Phillip.
Kurun Warun's great grandmother was Truganini's granddaughter. The location of Framlingham
along the Hopkins River had started as an Anglican mission in 1861 and operated as an
Aboriginal reserve until 1916. Framlingham was home to Girai Wurrung and Djargurd Wurrung
people from the regions around Warnambool. These people had lived around the Western
District Lakes for thousands of years, leaving a history of archaeological sites including
fish traps, rock scatters, middens and burial sites. The Gunditjmara people from further
north from Portland and Lake Condah were also forcibly moved to Framlingham but fought to
settle closer to their own lands. After the closure of Framlingham in 1916 some of the
residents remained in the community and were finally granted ownership in 1971 of the 237
hectares of the land in 1971.
Today the only buildings that remain from Framlingham are the old church and one hut that
date from about 1920. Kurun Warun's use of colour reflects the primary resources of
indigenous people - red, black and white are used to convey cultural body markings and
structures found in nature.