Museums & Galleries Qld

Kombumerri Aboriginal Corporation for Culture at Beenleigh, Grassland Art Gallery in Tambo, and Miles Historical Society honoured in 2013 Gallery and Museum Achievement Awards

Posted on: 20 December 2013

Museum & Gallery Services Queensland (M&GSQ) proudly announced the recipients of the 2013 Gallery and Museum Achievement Awards (GAMAA) at a special event hosted by Museum of Brisbane on 22 November. Guest presenter, Hon. Ian Walker, Minister for Science, Information Technology, Innovation and the Arts presented the winners with specially-commissioned trophies created by Queensland artists, Charlotte Beeron, Theresa Beeron, Ethel Murray and John Murray, represented by Girringun Aboriginal Art Centre.

We bring you the stories on each of the Winners and Special Commendation recipients of the 2013 GAMAA in five categories. In this fourth article, we announce the GAMAA recipients in the category, ‘Organisations: Staff of Under 4’:

WINNER – Kombumerri Aboriginal Corporation for Culture, Beenleigh, for their projects HaikuWrite into Art, and Language App

SPECIAL COMMENDATION – Grassland Art Gallery, Tambo for their exhibition, Significantly Tambo

SPECIAL COMMENDATION – Miles Historical Society Inc. for their Museum Business and Strategic Development

This category was generously sponsored by design specialists, Brandi Projects. The Winner receives goods or services to the value of $1,000.


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The Kombumerri Aboriginal Corporation for Culture was formed in 1984 to research and promote Aboriginal language and cultural knowledge of the Yugambeh region of south-east Queensland. Write into Art is an education initiative to invigorate use of the Yugambeh Aboriginal language. It was conducted as a pilot program in 2013, with a view to extending it to other parts of Australia, if successful, where it could be used by other language groups. The program comprised three elements:

  • The creation of Queensland’s first Aboriginal language dictionary App, available free on iPhones and Androids. The App was designed in response to requests from community (Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal), families and educators to help make the language accessible. The App has more than 1,000 words and phrases. It has received strong community response since its launch, with requests to add other Aboriginal languages to it. It was the second in Australia.
  • The creation of Australia’s first Aboriginal Haiku poetry program. Haiku poetry is a Japanese poetry form that involves just three lines, and a total of 17 syllables. It provides the general public with a very accessible way to begin using Aboriginal language, culturally approved by local community. More than 200 entries were received.
  • The creation of Write Into Art – Art Inspired by the Written Word. This program was offered as a pilot to Year 11 and 12 students through selected schools. It required them to nominate a piece of their artwork inspired by an Aboriginal word. 26 winners were given a 3-day workshop hosted by the Logan City Council and Yugambeh Museum, run during the school holidays. The workshop showed students how to turn their art into a profession. They met Aboriginal artists, gallery managers, curators and language workers. It culminated with a tour of Dreamworld, the Gold Coast’s largest theme park, where they met Aboriginal artists working on the new $2 million Aboriginal interpretive centre, due to be unveiled in 2014. They also met engineers who regularly work with artists to create some of the world’s most innovative rides and themed experiences. This request was a first for Dreamworld.

The Write into Art project was developed with extensive community collaboration and discussion, and included partnerships with Logan City Council, Dreamworld, The Smith Family, Worklinks, Education Queensland (Indigenous Support Unit) and State Library of Queensland. These partnerships have already led to employment and training opportunities for the local Aboriginal community.

It was developed with a view to improving the capacity of language groups throughout Queensland and the rest of Australia, by drawing on resources and capital available to Yugambeh Museum. It encourages the inter-generational passing on of knowledge, by encouraging use to negotiate new meanings for words and language with their Elders. It recognises that language resources are difficult to develop in a community that has often relied on oral tradition, when the relationships between youth and Elders is often problematic. The Write Into Art Project empowers youth to be part of the revitalisation of their own language, through technology that they are familiar with.

The Write Into Art program won Highly Commended at the Queensland’s Reconciliation Awards 2013.

In choosing Kombumerri Aboriginal Corporation as the Winner in this category, the judges were impressed by the organisation’s leadership in developing a highly innovative and diverse range of programs to engage with and revitalise the Yugambeh language. They commended the use of technology to raise awareness and engage with audiences, particularly young people, and its potential for wider application. The project has raised standards and developed skills and knowledge for participants, and the major partnerships which have been established have led to highly successful outcomes for the Aboriginal community.


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Tambo is the oldest town in Queensland’s central west, celebrating its 150-year anniversary with a week of events and festivities in June 2013. A component of this celebration, Significantly Tambo, was an eight-week exhibition in the Grassland Art Gallery, and represented the first local history exhibition that has been co-curated with the Tambo community.

The exhibition comprised significant objects collected or loaned from the community that represented important events and eras in Tambo’s heritage. Queensland Museum’s Museum Development Officer (MDO) for Central Queensland worked in partnership with the Community and Council’s Arts and Cultural Officer to identify the most appropriate objects and the most effective methods of interpreting and displaying them for the people of Tambo. The Grassland Art Gallery and the MDO put out a call to all Tambo residents to showcase objects that they thought were Significantly Tambo. The 18 objects selected for display were just a selection of the many items that were offered.

A timeline of momentous and meaningful events was researched, developed and utilised as a centrepiece of the exhibition to narrate the story of its heritage, town, district and the people that make Tambo unique. This valuable community resource will be re-purposed at the end of the exhibition and incorporated in the historic Post and Telegraph buildings that operate as the community museum.

Working with the MDO, participants increased their knowledge of professional museum theory and practice in areas such as object handling, preventative conservation, significance, research, and display techniques. The project took a whole-of-community approach, aiming to elicit participation from the general public through the sharing of individual stories and privately-owned objects with contextual interpretation, including some which were often excluded from public histories. It specifically targeted new audiences and sections of the community that had not previously engaged with the Gallery, addressing the challenges faced by geographic isolation and community work patterns that can restrict access through the use of technology and social media.

In awarding Grassland Art Gallery a Special Commendation in this category, the judges recognised Significantly Tambo as an important exhibition for the region. By telling its comprehensive history, the exhibition inspired community engagement and ownership. It demonstrated the effective use of objects to present the stories of the region’s heritage, and the use of social media to publicise and promote the exhibition during prime tourism season to achieve both community and entrepreneurial outcomes.


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Miles and District Historical Society Inc. owns and operates the Miles Historical Village Museum, a premier tourist attraction for the Western Downs region. In late 2009 at the Annual General Meeting, a relatively new mix of enthusiastic community members stepped forward to assist some of the long-standing members on the committee.

Since this time, a number of key business and strategic initiatives have been developed and implemented to assist with improved management and direction, including: a 5-year Business and Strategic Plan; a Significance Assessment; an Interpretation Plan; the “Village People” Volunteer Program; a Collections and Preservation Plan; and a Merchandise Policy.

The development of these plans and policies has assisted the committee to focus on activities and strategic actions for this large-scale facility. There have been a number of significant projects and activities that, through funding avenues, have assisted with the delivery of the Business and Strategic Plan.  A large number of volunteer hours have also added to the success of these activities.  Partnerships are an essential component to continued success in strengthening and supporting the facility. They include: Western Downs Regional Council, Dogwood Crossing @ Miles, Miles Regional Arts Council, Origin Energy, Miles State High School, Miles District Chamber of Commerce, and Brisbane Boys College volunteers.

In 2010 the Museum was recognised as a winner in the Miles District Business Excellence Awards.

In awarding Miles Historical Society Inc. a Special Commendation in this category, the judges commended the Society’s strategic initiatives in planning for the future, and their professionalism in approaching challenges. They acknowledged the Society’s conscientious commitment to development and sustainability through their efforts to engage audiences and improve their day-to-day delivery.


The 2013 GAMAA was presented by Museum and Gallery Services Queensland. This prestigious annual event is designed to celebrate the outstanding achievements, professional excellence and innovation of Queensland’s museums and galleries. The Awards recognise the valuable contribution our State’s museums and galleries make to enriching their local and wider communities, and honour the extraordinary commitment and talents of paid professionals and volunteers working in the industry.

For a full list of winners and photos of the event, and to see what the GAMAA Judges said, go to the M&GSQ website at

The 2013 GAMAA were proudly sponsored by Museum of Brisbane, Brian Tucker Accounting, Brandi Projects, Archival Survival, Regional Galleries Association of Queensland and Museums Australia Queensland.


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Museums & Galleries Queensland

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Phone: 07 3059 9740

Museums & Galleries Queensland is the peak professional body for the public museum and gallery sector in Queensland.

Museums & Galleries Queensland promotes, supports and provides services to foster excellence in museums, galleries and keeping places. We strive to ensure a future where museums, galleries and keeping places are relevant, accessible and valued by their communities.

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Rebekah Butler, Executive Director
Debra Beattie, General Manager
Melissa Fletcher, Information Officer
Deannah Vieth, Training and Professional Development Manager
Leisha Walker, Training and Professional Development Program Officer
Donna Davis, Exhibition Program Officer
Bonnie Melrose, Exhibition Program Officer
Andrea Higgins, Exhibition Program Officer

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