Transport for NSW will soon be reaching out to local Aboriginal communities along the Woolgoolga to Ballina Pacific Highway upgrade as development begins of an art trail to be known as ‘Songlines Driveway’.
Transport for NSW Regional Director Northern Anna Andrews said similar artwork has already been implemented along the Pacific Highway road corridor at Banora Point and at Nambucca Heads Service Centre.
“Local Aboriginal communities will be invited to contribute to designing artwork for bridge safety screens and in rest areas along the 155 kilometres of dual carriageway once it opens to traffic in 2020,” Ms Andrews said. “Transport for NSW is currently seeking to appoint a professional services contractor to facilitate the artwork development process, in consultation with these communities and Transport’s own Aboriginal Engagement team.” The tender for a professional services contractor is currently open and is advertised on NSW Government eTendering website. The NSW Government is supporting the Aboriginal art trail as part of the Beyond the Pavement design policy.
Beyond the Pavement seeks to improve journeys, make rest areas more attractive to stop and rest, help reduce vandalism and graffiti, and improve the tourist experience. Transport for NSW began the art trail process in 2016-17 with a collaboration exercise drawing together many Aboriginal groups and artists. This identified themes, stories, artists and artwork ideas, which will now help in developing designs emphasising Aboriginal cultural connections along this section of the highway.
About seven per cent of the Woolgoolga to Ballina workforce identify as Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander, with more than one-third of those identifying with the local Aboriginal nations of Gumbaynggirr, Yaegl and Bundjalung.