Children of the Billabong



'Children of the Billabong' Casurina Swimming Pool DarwinNT 1984
Mural Size : 6m x 30.5 m
Directed by David Humphries & Rodney Monk  

The mural is painted on the back wall of the hardware store, facing into the grounds of Casuarina Swimming Pool. It was designed for the scale of its environment and visually complements the landscaping.  

Sited opposite the blue tiled, chlorinated municipal, pool its imagery of indigenous children enjoying the pleasures of the natural environment is a gentle comment about how different the cultures of Darwin are. 

The mural was part of a Community Employment Training Project conducted by David Humphries for Darwin City Council & Browns Mart Community Arts Centre.
Three young local artists were employed to undertake a six months program of community murals for the city.
This first mural was their training project, conducted by David Humphries. Concurrently Rodney Monk was directing a mural at nearby TiwiHigh School. The projects merged together, thereby expanding the experience for both groups. 

The artist team set up an outdoor studio/workshop space in front of the wall and began the design development process. This immediately attracted interest and consultation began, primarily with the patrons of the pool, but it expanded to include the immediate neighbours, local schools and shopping centres
This research, combined with the teams own experiences and observations of life in the pool compound led to six different design concepts being developed. 

In order to gauge public response and decide on the final design an exhibition was mounted at the pool and an evening BBQ presentation arranged. Each design was projected full scale onto the wall allowing everyone the opportunity to experience and comment. After lively discussion the design for 'Children of the Billabong' was chosen.
The design was transferred by scale grid and painted up in sections, this method gave opportunities to participate and many pool users joined in the painting.