You may have noticed some interesting art being created around the venue at Workers Blacktown. Local artist Danielle R.G. has painted some masterpieces around the lifts in the carpark, and now if you travel to level 4 in the carpark lift (or take the stairs if you need to get those steps in), you can enter the club via the Parklane Airbridge (during the opening hours) and enter an immersive art experience.
Above your head is a mural that was created by local Darug artist, Leanne Mulgo Watson. The artwork includes words on the walls that tell the story of Blacktown as well as Leanne’s family story. The words describe the story of Gurangaddy, a giant eel and the lands and waters that were formed when Bulangaia, the quoll, chased Gurangaddy, a story that is elegantly depicted in the artwork above.
The location of the artwork in the Parklane Airbridge is fitting as it takes in the view of our original Blacktown Workers Club logo. Those with a keen eye will notice that through our recent rebranding, our new Workers Lifestyle Group logo and the Workers logo for each of the club maintain the original Blacktown Workers Club emblem from the 1960s. This was incredibly important to our Board of Director, that we maintain our respect for the history of the club, as well as the history of the community of Blacktown. The emblem features an indigenous warrior, holding a spear in one hand and a boomerang in the other, with the warrior now on the carpark wall as well as being depicted in a statue in a nearby garden.
The origins of how the indigenous warrior came to be on a Workers Club logo has become an urban legend, with the story involving a real-l ife character in Blacktown in the early 50s, an area that had, and still does, large population of First Nations people. The legend goes that he was the first Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander to be allowed to join the club and was a regular guest at a time when First Nations people were banned from entering hospitality venues. Thus, the logo and a sculpture were created in his honour.
While Indigenous culture has always been a part of the DNA of the Blacktown Workers Club, the focus on celebrating now through arts and culture is one of the many objectives to have come out of the Board of Director’s strategic objective to create a RAP (Reconciliation Action Plan). The Reconciliation Action Plan will soon be available for all to read via our Workers Lifestyle Group website.
The purpose of creating a RAP is to recognise and celebrate the history of Blacktown, to acknowledge the traditional owners of the land on which our clubs operate, the Darug people, and to ensure that we are actively working towards improving the lives of First Nations people in our community.
Since May 2021, and now at all major events, including the Children’s Charity Christmas Party in 2022, we invite an elder to do the Welcome to Country, while other speakers do an Acknowledgement to Country. We also do an Acknowledgement to Country at formal meetings.
In the completion of the renovation of the club at 55 Campbell Street, there were two Grand Opening Ceremonies held at different stages of completion. In addition to the elder conducting the Welcome to Country, we invited the Nulungu Dreaming Dancers to perform a blessing dance as our acknowledgement of the traditional owners of the land on which our club is built.
In addition to the art pieces already mentioned, we support the local Indigenous community through sponsorship of the Indigenous art prize at the Blacktown City Art Prize, and have done so for many years. Our administration area is decorated with legitimate Indigenous art from a local Darug artist, Leanne Watson. The collection features four artworks, and add to our collection of Indigenous art that commenced with our acquisition of artwork by well-known Blacktown treasure, Uncle Danny Eastwood that has been in our possession since the early 2000s.
We hope you enjoy the beautiful arts and culture that has been introduced at your club.