It was a revelation that was neither surprising or unwelcome.
In fact, when Chris Beal learned he was indeed Indigenous in his late 50s it was confirmation of what he had believed for many years.
Sixty-two-year-old Chris, who identifies as a Worimi man - his family lived in Newcastle for many generations - also has a strong connection with the Biripi nation.
Now renowned across the Manning Great Lakes for his fabulous and unique form of dot art, the retired Anglican priest and secondary school teacher taught Aboriginal culture at St Clare's High School.
Chris can trace his intuition back beyond his 20s when he realised his attraction to Aboriginal culture and events, teachings and readings.
Often he was called 'brother', a reference reserved for members of the Indigenous community and his facial features scrutinised.
Chris said First Nations People have an innate ability to identify with fellow Indigenous just by their facial features, along with a personality and nature of spirit.
"When I go back and connect the dots it all makes sense."
An avid reader of almost any publication, and fascination with Indigenous culture, spirituality and philosophy, one of Chris's long-time favourites is Nargun and the Stars, a children's fantasy book which draws on Aboriginal mythology.
"The more I learned about Aboriginal culture the more I became spiritually aware."
After completing his teaching studies at Newcastle University, Chris was posted to a number of schools across the country, before landing in Adelaide and theology studies at Flinders University.
"I learnt so much about Aboriginal culture in Adelaide and my five best friends were of Aboriginal descent."
Everything in Aboriginal culture is meant to be shared.Forster artist, Chris Beal
The son of a former Christ Church Cathedral (Newcastle) minister, Chris said it wasn't about following his dad into the priesthood but he felt a strong call to study theology later in life.
Chris' artwork began as a hobby when he was living in Western Australia where he worked as a school chaplain at the time.
After a life-time of studying Aboriginal culture, it was only a natural progression to embrace the popular dot art style.
"Something in me says that art speaks to me."
After a life-time living in five states, Chris and wife Anne returned to the East Coast, to be closer to their children, settling in Forster.
His passion for dot art ramped up after meeting well-known and respected Biripi Elder, artist and Taree businessman, Russell Saunders who encouraged him to continue his work
"My artwork just took off."
In the years since he began working in Taree and discovered his Aboriginality, Chris has donated his time sharing his art skills with young Koori kids, yarning with local elders and community members and become immersed and connected to country.
Chris also has shared his generosity on a more material level, donating and giving many of his paintings
"Everything in Aboriginal culture is meant to be shared."
A couple of years ago Chris connected with Blue Dust Collective owner, Renee Collocott, who invited him to share a space in her Forster gallery.
"My art has expanded here; I have had so many wonderful conversations with people about my art and now it is my religion.
"It is my medical practice; I find it relaxing and stress relieving."
Chris says he is inspired by nature and his own motivation, and spiritual stories.
And, unlike western art, he believes anyone can learn to dot paint.
You just need to have a good sense of colour and let the spirits guide you, he says.
"That is why my paintings are unique."
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