New mural reflects the history of fishing in Hervey Bay

THE story of the Fraser Coast’s rich fishing history is now being told through a new mural overlooking Fishermans Park in Urangan.

A new mural overlooking Fishermans Park in Urangan tells the history of fishing in Hervey Bay. PHOTO: Supplied.

The mural was commissioned by the Fraser Coast Regional Council and created by Akso Juhasz and developed in consultation with the Butchulla Native Title Aboriginal Corporation.

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Painted on the side wall of Urangan Fisheries, the mural links the Butchulla and European history of fishing in the region.

Fraser Coast Division 10 Councillor Zane O’Keefe said the Butchulla people had fished Hervey Bay for thousands of years and taught early European settlers how to fish the waters.

“Many worked on local fishing boats,” Cr O’Keefe said.

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The Butchulla Native Title Aboriginal Corporation’s Lorraine Woolley said Fishermans Park holds many happy memories.

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“This was where we played as children, although the sea came to where the road is on a king tide then before they built the harbour,” she said.

“The Butchulla People have a long association with the area [as well as] a long association in the local fishing industry.”

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Lorraine’s father, Mickey Wheeler and grandfather Percy Wheeler were local fishermen.

In about 1903, as a 19-year-old, Percy was one of the first Butchulla to hold a professional fishermen’s licence.

When her brother Ian Wheeler left school, he went to work with local fisho Kev Riley; the Rileys are their cousins; and her other brother Ken, spent all the time he could on K’gari (Fraser Island) fishing.

Her father worked with Nick and Ed Schultz, the founders of Urangan Fisheries.

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Artist Juhasz said the mural was culturally and historically accurate.

“Aunty Lorraine told me a lot of stories about the local history of fishing and the families,” he explained.

“She gave me pictures and I did a lot of research so that the nets, the boats and fishing methods I have painted are accurate.

“While they reflect the people and history of fishing, they are not of anyone in particular. The faces I created.”

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The mural also includes a range of marine animals that live in the waters of Hervey Bay that were culturally significant to the Butchulla People such as dugong, diamond-scaled mullet and turtles.

Mrs Woolley hopes the mural will form a part of a cultural trail that starts at the Kundu Tree (scar tree) in Dayman Park and winds its way along the shoreline through Fishermans Park to Pulgul Creek – culturally significant spots for the Butchulla.

“Fishermans Park has many historic links to the Butchulla and fishermen. It was a Butchulla meeting place and the region’s professional fishermen used to tan their nets there,” she said.

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“It was for many years the home of the Hervey Bay Seafood Festival which was organised by local professional fishers.

“If it all goes to plan eventually there will be another shelter shed, barbecue and all abilities access to Fishermans Park.” 

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