Nambucca V-Wall Revitalisation Project – Interpretive Design

Extensive collaboration with Muurrbay Aboriginal Language and Culture Co-op was undertaken to develop the interpretive content, artwork and messages around language revitalisation and Indigenous connection to culture and country.

Interpretive graphics throughout the site aim to enhance the visitor experience and understanding of the location through storytelling and playful use of Gumbaynggirr language.

Colours are inspired by the vibrant painted rock art along the V-wall, with typographic application of Gumbaynggirr words across the ground-plain and wall surfaces.

Dawkins Park Environment Precinct Interpretive Plan

Client: Nambucca Valley Council

Dawkins Park is a public green space in the heart of Macksville, with a man-made lake that has become home to a bustling colony of water birds, a windmill to aerate and improve water quality, and other environmental sustainability initiatives.

Together with schools from the local area, and Cascade Environmental Education Centre, Council have developed an environmental case study on Dawkins Park that examines water quality, bird life, water bugs, and human impacts both positive and negative.

Fisher Design + Architecture was engaged to develop a precinct interpretive plan,  with content development and design for signage supporting the sustainability initiatives.

The eye-catching artwork featured on the Dawkins Park entry sign is by Gumbaynggirr artist Denise Buchanan, and is a representation of the connecting waterways that surround Macksville.

Nyambaga Bindarray (Nambucca River) Public Art Trail

Client: Nambucca Shire Council

In 2022, Fisher Design + Architecture was engaged by Nambucca Valley Council to develop a Public Art Precinct Plan for the Nambucca River foreshore walk, with implementation of the Public Art Trail beginning in early 2023.

The project aimed to enrich the experience of the Nambucca River Foreshore Walk for the community and visitors with a high quality, visually exciting palette of sculpture, art and interpretive elements on the river foreshore walk.

Working closely with the Gumbaynggirr community, local high school students, artists, sculptors, fabricators and content writers, FD+A project managed the public art and signage implementation, in collaboration with co-project manager Nick Warfield (Creative Communities).

Artists, sculptors and other creative contributors included:
AF Edwards, Annalisa Wilson, Ash Johnson, Ben Taranto, Bim Morton, Brentyn Lugnan, Uncle Bud Marshall, Earnshaw Engineering, Elaine Carmady, Hannah Smith, Jeramie Scahill, John Van Der Kolk, Mark Merritt, Muurrbay Aboriginal Language & Culture Co-operative, Susie Peake, YOWA, Yumba Designs.

Biyurrgung-Birrugan-Gumburr guluun-ngaarlu naan.gal (Dangar Falls)

Client: Bellingen Shire Council

Biyurrgung-Birrugan-Gumburr guluun-ngaarlu naan.gal (Dangar Falls) is a highly-visited tourist attraction featuring a new viewing platform, a spectacular waterfall, an idyllic swimming spot, an enticing labyrinth and a track winding through picturesque native bushland. 

Extensive consultation with the local Gumbaynggirr Elders and Muurrbay Aboriginal Language & Culture Co-operative resulted in the development of a Gumbaynggirr name for the site. Along with a new layer of interpretation the falls viewing area now provides a fresh cultural perspective on this popular location.

Artwork featured on the sign panel and corten steel cut-out details on the main shelter is by Gumbaynggirr artist Charlotte Jacky.

Yuludarla Memorial Garden – Nambucca

In October 2017, along the banks of Nyambaga Bindarray (Nambucca River), a young Aboriginal man’s remains were unceremoniously excavated during a house relocation. Forensic analysis determined that the young man would have been around 14-16 years old when he was buried here around 700 years ago.

Working closely with the Gumbaynggirr Men’s Elders group, FD+A developed plans for a garden surrounding a memorial stone to the young Aboriginal man, and design and content for two interpretive signs. The interpretation describes the deep Gumbaynggirr connections to this special place, which is close to the bend in the river which gives Nambucca (Ngambaa Baga Baga – crooked knee) its name.

The vivid artwork featured on these signs was created by Gumbaynggirr artist Denise Buchanan.

Wonga Walk Interpretive Master Plan & Rest Nodes – Dorrigo National Park

Client: National Parks and Wildlife Service, Coffs Coast Area – 2022 – 2023

The Wonga Walk in Dorrigo National Park is one of the most popular nature walks on the North Coast, set within World Heritage listed Gondwana rainforest. 

Fisher Design and Architecture were part of a team of architects, designers and sculptors commissioned to provide an interpretive design master plan, a suite of viewing platforms and rest nodes, interpretive signage, and sculptures along the walk. 

Wompoo sculpture by Nick Warfield.
Stainless steel sculptures by Tim Johnman.

Nambucca V-Wall Revitalisation Project – Interpretive Design

Extensive collaboration with Muurrbay Aboriginal Language and Culture Co-op was undertaken to develop the interpretive content, artwork and messages around language revitalisation and Indigenous connection to culture and country.

Interpretive graphics throughout the site aim to enhance the visitor experience and understanding of the location through storytelling and playful use of Gumbaynggirr language.

Colours are inspired by the vibrant painted rock art along the V-wall, with typographic application of Gumbaynggirr words across the ground-plain and wall surfaces.

Macksville Bridge Interpretive Space

Macksville – 2019

The Pacific Highway bridge at Macksville is a well-recognised urban feature of the Nambucca Valley which is now bypassed by a dual-carriage upgrade to the Pacific Highway.

This project connects people to the regional heritage significance of the Macksville bridge through new interpretations, streetscape improvements, and bridge illuminations, and is part of a comprehensive program by Nambucca Shire Council to celebrate, share and protect local heritage of the Macksville township.

New signage / artwork structures are proposed for the subject site (prototypes which inform future signage at other suitable Macksville sites) and a new interpretive sign intended to be located on the north end of the bridge.

 

Gleniffer Reserves Interpretive Signage

Bellingen Shire – 2019

Signage helps to achieve a sense of place for the local community and visitors. It provides information that encourages appreciation and awareness for the environment, plays an important role as a tool in safety and risk management and can be used effectively to regulate visitor behaviour and activity. Positively presented and well-designed signage encourages visitors to be more aware of, and responsive to, the special place they are visiting.

The Gleniffer Reserves signs were designed to:
– increase awareness and guide visitor behaviour
– encourage respect and awareness for the environment
– promote respect and consideration for local residents and neighbours
– be positive and welcoming
– be informative and accurate
– enhance the visitor experience and understanding of the Reserves and surroundings

In order to minimise signage infrastructure throughout the area, a consolidated approach included placement of a signage/ information board at key Reserve and State Forest access points, with informative and regulatory signage integrated for clear reference at one location.

Visitor rules and expectations at the Reserves are set by means of clear and concise regulatory signage. Rules and regulations are then actively enforced through regular visits by Bellingen Shire Council rangers and penalties imposed for noncompliance.

Signage includes Gumbaynggirr language names for identification as well as current names. Through storytelling, interpretive information aims to enhance visitor understanding of the values and importance of a place and its social, cultural and environmental context.

A collaborative, consistent approach to signage design and implementation has been developed with Forestry Corporation NSW across adjacent State Forest areas, in conjunction with Council, the Gleniffer Stewardship Advisory Group, community and environmental groups.

Bellingen War Memorial Interpretive Signage

Bellingen – 2018

Dedicated to those who fell in action during WW1, Bellingen’s War Memorial was unveiled on 26th April 1926. During 2017, Bellingen Shire Council undertook extensive works to enhance the War Memorial structure and provide a safe and contemplative place to sit. A landscaped park was created around the Memorial which enabled easy access for the first time since its dedication in 1926. The interpretive panel recounts the history of the Memorial, and the community efforts to acknowledge and remember the fallen of Bellingen Shire.

fisher-design-coffs-harbour-bellingen

Oak Hill Aboriginal Reserve Interpretive Signage

Yass – 2014

Oak Hill is an area of special significance for the Ngunnawal people of Yass. Archaeological and historical evidence shows a long association with Aboriginal people before and after European settlement. Camps on the former Aboriginal reserve were occupied by from the late 1880s to the 1950s. The presence of burial sites at Oak Hill underlines the spiritual nature of the site.

The new signage structure is designed from a robust elemental language of large sectioned timber posts and galvanised steel, which frame the signage panels. The signage includes photographs of artefacts found at the site, plans and descriptions of the site huts that were used as dwellings at the time, a timeline of major events, and descriptions of the three Aboriginal scarred trees that once grew close to the area.

Muttonbird Island Nature Reserve Interpretive Signage

Muttonbird Island- 2013

Muttonbird Island is significant to the Gumbaynggirr People culturally and forms part of their spirituality and personal identity. In addition to the cultural value of the Island, it is also an important ecological site, and home to thousands of Shearwater birds who migrate here every year to nest and raise their chicks.

The interpretive signage design at Giidany Miirlarl Outdoor Education Space comprises seven full colour polycure aluminium panels designed to fit with the rising angle of the ramp structure. The interpretive information conveys the Indigenous significance of Giidany Miirlarl, the natural significance of the Island as a rookery for the Wedge-tailed Shearwaters, and historical details relating to the Island’s history since white settlement.

Vertical anodised aluminium panels are interspersed with the timber posts along the ramp structure with etched illustrations detailing marine life.

Giidany Miirlarl Education Space Interpretive Signage

Muttonbird Island, Coffs Harbour- 2012

Muttonbird Island is significant to the Gumbaynggirr People culturally and forms part of their spirituality and personal identity. In addition to the cultural value of the Island, it is also an important ecological site, and home to thousands of Shearwater birds who migrate here every year to nest and raise their chicks.

The interpretive signage design at Giidany Miirlarl Outdoor Education Space comprises seven full colour polycure aluminium panels designed to fit with the rising angle of the ramp structure. The interpretive information conveys the Indigenous significance of Giidany Miirlarl, the natural significance of the Island as a rookery for the Wedge-tailed Shearwaters, and historical details relating to the Island’s history since white settlement.

Vertical anodised aluminium panels are interspersed with the timber posts along the ramp structure with etched illustrations detailing marine life.

Winner 2012 National Indigenous Tourism Award Winner
Winner 2012 Austrailan Institute of Architects- Premier’s Prize

Solitary Island Marine Park Interpretive Signage

Muttonbird Island, Coffs Harbour- 2012

The Solitary Islands Marine Park starts at the base of Muttonbird Island and stretches 75km up the coastline to Plover Island in the North, covering an area of around 71,000 hectares. The mixing of the warm tropical waters that travel down from the North on the East Australian Current and the cool temperate waters from the South creates a wide range of species diversity, including warm-tropical, sub-tropical and cool temperate species. The park is home to 550 species of reef fish, 90 species of coral and over 600 molluscs. There are a range of habitats in the park including estuaries, reefs, rocky shores and open ocean.

The Solitary Islands Marine Park interpretive signage design comprises a full colour polycure sign on aluminium panels, set into a robust timber and gal-steel stand, designed to withstand the extreme weather conditions experienced at the site.

Client: National Parks & Wildlife

Giidany Miirlarl Public Artwork

Muttonbird Island, Coffs Harbour- 2012

The project incorporates an outdoor education and performance space and timber entry ramp to the island, providing shelter and a place for story telling, learning, and rest. Integration of the structure with artwork by local Indigenous artists creates an engaging experience through which one enters the island, enhancing awareness of the natural and cultural significance of this special place. Working closely with the artists, Fisher Design + Architecture transformed sketches and drawings into elements designed to enhance the experience of walking toward and through the space, and enable a cultural storytelling of the significance of Muttonbird Island.

The local Aboriginal People of the past and today in the Coffs Harbour area belong to the Gumbaynggirr Aboriginal Nation. The Gumbaynggirr People have an ongoing connection with the land and water. For them, heritage and nature are inseparable from one another. The Island is significant to the Gumbaynggirr People culturally and forms part of their spirituality and personal identity.

The artwork inscribed into the timber screen by artist Shane Phillips depicts the story of ‘Giidany Miirlarl – Muttonbird Island and the Giant Man’, as told by Gumbaynggirr Elder Aunty Gloria Phillips:

“The Northern Headland is an island joined to the mainland by a breakwater, is known as a site for nesting Muttonbirds (Moon Island). Muttonbird Island was a meeting place for the ancestors (clever men) who made plans around the camp fire for the next initiation of young lads. Also, harvesting yams and Mutton Birds for their families – over indulgence was a matter for the Giant Man who came down from the moon each month to take care of those who had more. Penality was issued when the giant walked on the beach and took control of the tides – this was used as a weapon for the tribesman who disobeyed the lores.”

Set into the central area of the Education Space at Giidany Miirlarl is a design based on artwork by Indigenous artist Janelle Marshall. The artwork represents a traditional firepit with blackened sticks radiating out toward the Indigenous Nations neighbouring the Gumbaynggirr Nation – the Yaygirr, Banyjalang, Jarriwan and Danghatti. The fifth stick – Gilagung(Ga) – points East to the ancestors out to sea. The artwork was created from a combination of resin set natural black beach stones, naturally coloured gravel and black granite.

Client: National Parks & Wildlife, Coffs Harbour City Council and Arts Mid North Coast

Project: Giidany Miirlarl Outdoor Education Space- Fisher Design and Architecture with Mackenzie Pronk Architects, public art collaboration with Gumbaynggirr artists

Artwork: Shane Phillips and Janelle Marshall

Winner 2012 National Indigenous Tourism Award Winner
Winner 2012 Austrailan Institute of Architects- Premier’s Prize

Sawtell Clock Tower Interpretive Signage

Sawtell, Coffs Harbour- 2008

Three panel designs combining overlaid text, graphics and photographic images were commissioned by Coffs Harbour City Council for the Sawtell Rotary Centenary Clock Tower. The semi-transparent backlit glass panels are incorporated into the triangular steel clock tower design, and reflect local themes: the environment, community & heritage, and Sawtell surf culture.