This is a multi part series because of the quantity of photos.
Photos are by me, Runningonempty, and all copyright. Copies by request to my email, as they will be better quality.
Video by Bangarra , an aboriginal contemporary dance theatre.
This post below is written by guest writer Jabiru, my husband, and all opinions in it are his.
G'day everyone I'm Jabiru, recently my family and I visited the William Rickets Sanctuary in the lovely Dandenong Ranges. If you could ignore the other people it was quite serene, being surrounded by amazingly creative works of art in a beautifully lush bush setting.
My favourite was the child with the possum on her head.
It's a very pretty rainforest setting with lots of ferns. It's quiet, dark and very green. We watched a video in what was his original log cabin home though now with the addition of a wooden floor, as he was content with only packed earth.
Via the video we were made aware of his world view which to my mind contained too much of Rousseau's Noble Savage. He implied Australian aboriginal life was idyllic, pre white man anyway, but they were hunting and killing the animals he was talking about. They had no way to store food so in really lean times some would have starved, hence their nomadic way of life.
His stated world view didn't encompass tribal warfare, painful initiation rites, scarification, and arranged marriages. Some Dreamtime stories have young lovers escaping their tribe, because one or the other is being forced to marry an elder. They would sometimes take women from other tribes too. There's good and bad in any society.
His environmental message was good and to be applauded but I think he was eccentric to say the least (but essentially harmless). In saying that, he was however, an incredibly talented artist who was methodical, driven and not at all concerned with making money beyond maintaining his very basic lifestyle.
He obviously possessed a very moral inner core and in the end a generous spirit in leaving his many works for the general public to enjoy.
The sanctuary was certainly worth the trip and I would gladly go back another time for a longer visit and recommend it to anyone, locals or visitors from overseas.
Part 2 follows.