Wotjobaluk Elder Uncle Ron Marks watches over a sleepy town, but who is he?
Wergaia man Uncle Ron Marks is the Manager of Wotjokaluk experiences at Little Desert Nature Lodge. Operating in Nhill, Western Victoria he uses his intensive background in education to guide authentic, local Aboriginal cultural experience for lodge visitors. As an elder he is considered a pillar of the community and has always found ways to give back by involving himself with youth education. Recognition of his endeavours has been brought to quite the unique canvas- the disused Sheep Hill grain silos.
The creative brain behind the project is Shaun Hossack and the artist who created the incredible 30m high x 40m wide portraits of 4 Aboriginal faces is internationally known as Adnate. The 4 faces in the oversized mural include Uncle Ron Marks himself, Aunty Regina Hood and 2 younger members of the Barengi Gadjin community, all representing the passing of knowledge and history from Elders to the next generation. The starry night sky in the back drop holds a symbolic weight amongst the local people. Marks says that “we used them for navigation, we used them for seasonal changes, so the stars meant a lot, the moon meant a lot and of course, so did the sun”.
These incredible artworks took over 300 litres of house paint, 100 spray paint cans, and nearly 3 weeks to complete. They are located not too far from Sheep Hills station, or if driving, just off Sheep-Hills-Minyip Rd, on the way to Little Desert Nature Lodge, where you can stay and meet the legend Ron for yourself! You can also enjoy a cultural experience with Ron on our Naturewise experiences to Little Desert.
Uncle Ron Marks next to the 30 meter high version of himself & a full view of Sheep Hill Silo Art by Adnate.
Photographer: Patrick Rocca