A public artwork created by Uncle Russell Saunders and his daughter Raechel Saunders has been gifted to the Taree Universities Campus to use as an outdoor mural to grace the campus's new home.
The mural was originally created from funding given to the Rotary Club of Taree on the Manning for an Australia Day 2022 project from the National Australia Day Council for Australia Day events to create a lasting contribution to the community.
The mural was supposed to be installed on a fence along the foreshore walk opposite the RiverStage, however issues with permission to install the mural mean the installation never took place, and the artwork has been stored away since.
Rotary has now donated the artwork to the Taree Universities Campus (TUC) so the mural can be seen in all its glory, with the artists' original intentions of the work welcoming people to the Manning River.
"The way (Russell) has drawn the painting is the Indigenous guys welcoming people to the river; like it's stretching out across to the river and welcoming people into the space," Donna said.
"Uncle Russ has been waiting patiently in the wings and going 'I've painted that couple of years ago; what's going on? I want to see it out in the public'."
The mural will be installed, at TUC's cost, on the outer walls of the organisation's new home, the former council chambers in Pulteney Street, Taree, hopefully in time for the official opening date of March 14, however it all depends on the person contracted to install the mural.
How times have changed
The mural's home will be on the old library side of the building, visible from Pulteney Street. There is currently a rough patch of garden near the installation site, however there are plans to turn that into a bushtucker garden and yarning circle, with the mural making the background.
"There was such a thing about trying to get the (former) Greater Taree City Council people to fly the Indigenous flag, and the Biripi people walked the street and made it happen. And for it now to be on that building, it's just like a real sense of how times have changed, and that's nice," Donna said.