Joondalup: Yellagonga’s face to be projected on side of admin building for Kaleidoscope Festival


Talented artist Charmaine Cole’s impressive Yellagonga work.
How Charmaine Cole has depicted herself.
Talented artist Charmaine Cole’s impressive Yellagonga work. How Charmaine Cole has depicted herself.

The king of Perth, the mild, amiable Yellagonga, is no more.

That’s how the newspaper of the day announced the death of the great Whadjuk Noongar tribal Elder in 1843.

It would take nearly 150 years for the regional park around Lake Joondalup to be named after him.

And now on the western side of the lake, nearly 185 years since he drowned in the Swan River, he will be again.

His face will be projected on to the side of the City of Joondalup’s administration building for this week’s Kaleidoscope Festival.

It is Noongar artist Charmaine Cole’s digital depiction of how he looked.

With no photographs of the respected warrior, Cole drew on her own Elders’ faces and photos of Noongar men “in their ochre” doing corroborees in the 1920s at a Welshpool reservation.

“I was concerned I was not getting him right. I went on how he looked in 1833. I was asking him ‘am I doing you correctly?’,” the Marangaroo artist said.

“It was really strange; his mouth started moving around on my computer screen and I felt I was on the right path.

“He’s different from all my drawings; he’s a real individual – he stands out.”

Yellagonga was never forgotten by his descendants.

“My feeling is his spirit is still here on earth,” Cole said.

“He’s still very attached to his people, spiritually here as our ancestor.

“And he’ll help and guide our people through life.”

Cole said the story of how Noongar land was created belonged to Yellagonga and his people.

“We’re sharing something sacred,” she said.

“Our belief will never change thousands of years from now.”

Kaleidoscope Festival
Where: Joondalup city centre
When: November 9-12
Time: 5pm-10.30pm

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