Ingham Daily Press

Keeping People Connected

Culture Corner – with Warrgamay artist and traditional owner Michael Ryan.

IN this video Michael explains how he uses art to connect with his culture and talks us through the story of his drawing of the Abergowrie Valley.

The former Gilroy student discusses the significance of the traditional symbols in his artwork.

Diamonds are used to represent the Abergowrie mountain range.

Running through the centre of the piece is an image of a snake, which portrays the Herbert River, where Michael’s family have hunted for thousands of years.

The lines symbolise the sugar cane and cattle industries. Michael’s grandparents spent most of their lives working in these industries. He explains how his late grandfather, Jack Cashmere, was a skilled bushmen who worked for many years for the Sheahans, a local farming family.

There are four gathering circles on the image.

The first group represents Ingham, where Michael grew up. Hawkins Creek, where his family lived for a long period before moving to town, is depicted in the second group of circles. The third cluster includes the symbol for a watering hole, which represents The Ashton Hotel, where Michael enjoyed time with friends as a younger man. St Teresa’s College is portrayed in the fourth gathering circle. This is where Michael now works as a cultural leader and teacher aide.

These images tell part of the 48-year-old’s journey up to this point in his life.

Thank you, Michael, for sharing your stunning art and your rich culture.

We pay our respects to the Warrgamay, the traditional owners of Abergowrie, and to their elders past, present and emerging.

Are you an artist? A song writer? Do you have a poem or story to share about Hinchinbrook’s history? Culture Corner wants here from you – email

Culture Corner – canvassing Ingham arts.

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