Hunter Region Bicentenary MemorialPrint Page Print this page


Photographs supplied by Sandra Brown
The monument commemorates the Aboriginal people, European settlers and convicts who lived and died in the Hunter Region of New South Wales. It is believed to be the nation's first unified Indigenous / non-Indigenous monument and commemorates the bicentenary of European settlement in the Hunter Region 1797-1997. 

The Hunter Region Bicentenary Memorial was opened by Dr Refshauge and Aboriginal elders on February 19, 1999. 

The Memorial has three aspects - Yallarwah Place, Yallarwah Bicentenary Walk and Yallarwah Circle of Reflection. Yallarwah is an Awabakal word meaning resting place. Yallarwah Place, in the grounds of the John Hunter Hospital, provides what is believed to be the first accommodation centre for the families of Aboriginal patients in Australia and will serve the Aboriginal communities of the Hunter and northern New South Wales.

The Bicentenary Walk is a track in bushland adjacent to Yallarwah Place that meanders through the trees to a circular clearing, the Circle of Reflection, where six large stones have been placed in a circle. On a seventh stone in the centre is the first of the three bronze plaques created by Vlase Nikoleski, which is in the shape of a book. The right-hand page reads: In memory of the Aboriginal people, European settlers and convicts who lived and died in our shared Hunter History 1797 -1997, while the left-hand page has a quotation from the Reverend Lancelot Threlkeld (1825-6) explaining the significance of the stone circle to the Awabakal.

The other plaques - one placed at the head of the Bicentenary Walk and the other on Yallarwah Place - depict the hand prints of Novocastrian Tales authors, as well as Gough Whitlam and the NSW Minister for Health and Aboriginal Affairs, Dr Andrew Refshauge, who opened the building. "Hands have been used as images and forms by artists through different periods as signatures and as a means of expression" Vlase said.  Aboriginal culture utilised stencilled hands in order to mark a presence - to say that individuals have been there and are part of the place. Hands are very expressive and no two hands are the same. "By putting the hands together in a certain way, I have made a complete image that generates energy and houses the writing that Paul (Walsh) wanted to incorporate, so that they are protecting as well as harnessing the collaborative spirit of the place." 


Address:Kookaburra Circuit, Yallarwah Bicentenary Bushwalk, Near Hunter Medical Research Institute, New Lambton, 2305
GPS Coordinates:Lat: -32.919718
Long: 151.691398
Note: GPS Coordinates are approximate.
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Monument Type:Monument
Monument Theme:Landscape
Approx. Event Start Date:1797
Approx. Event End Date:1997
Artist:Vlase Nikoleski


Actual Monument Dedication Date:Friday 19th February, 1999
Front Inscription


Yallarwah Bicentenary Walk 
          1797 -1997
The Rainbow Serpent and 
the Hunter River journey to find 

Yallarwah Circle of Reflection

I Call of our Nation

Circle of Reflection Plaque:

" On enquiry of 
my black tutor, M`Gill 
he informed me that the tradition was 
that the Eagle-Hawks 
brought these stones 
and placed them together"

Reverend Lancelot Threlkeld 1825 - 1826
Novocastrian Tales

Yallarwah Circle 
of Reflection

In memory of the Aboriginal people, 
European settlers and convicts 
who lived and died in our 
shared Hunter history

1797 -1997


Source: MA
Monument details supplied by Monument Australia - www.monumentaustralia.org.au
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