Fundraising Dinner for Warmun Community Art Collection

The Warmun Community Art Collection holds some fo the earliest eart produced in the Kimberley. The collection is of historic, spiritual, social, aesthetic, research, art historical and cultural significance. It is critical to our understanding of the Kimberley region, the contribution of the Catholic Church to culture, Australian art history, and Gija history. These works have influenced art that is held in museums and galleries around the world. Its survival is in jeapoardy and held is needed with its preservation.

On the 13th March 2011 after weeks of heavy rainfall from a monsoonal trough, the rivers and tributaries in the east Kimberley were already filled when a further deluge ran across the land forming a torrent of water throughout the region. Nestled tightly on Turkey Creek, the Warmun community was ravaged. All of its houses, offices and buildings were devastated by the deluge. The community was declared a natural disaster zone and nearly everyone was airlifted from their homes to Kununurra 200 km away.

The Warmun Art Centre, which held the Community Art Collection, sustained considerable damage to its buildings, equipment and its artworks. The waters indiscriminately washed away paintings. By grace of being in an enclosed space, the Collection was damaged, but not lost.

The Warmun Community Art Collection (WCC) contains significant works by the first generation artists of the east Kimberley painting movement: Paddy Jaminji, Rover Thomas, Jack Britten, Henry Wambini, Hector Jandany, George Mung and Queenie McKenzie. For many years, elders would congregate under a bough shelter and use these items to teach. The children who were taught with these items are now adults and practicing artists themselves. They too, now believe their children need to be educated in the same way.

At least half of the items had been submerged in muddy flood waters and all sustained mould damage due to humid conditions over the following days. With generous probono support from all around, and in particular from Argyle Diamond Mine and CCMC, and from ANKAAA the collection was helicoptered to an air-conditioned building and into the safe hands of CCMC conservators.  Toll Holdings provided a truck to bring the artworks to Melbourne.

From 17 to 21 October community elders will visit Melbourne to advise on the conservation program for the collection. To ensure this collection is returned to its rightful place, your help is needed. A fundraising dinner will be held at University House at the University of Melbourne on 21 October 2011.  Community elders and conservators will talk about the importance of this collection and about the conservation program that will see its safe return to Warmun.

For bookings or information on how you can help support the conservation of this important collection please contact Director of the CCMC, Associate Robyn Sloggett on 8344 6455 or email

Date: Friday, 21 October, 6.30 for 7.00pm

Venue: Main Dining Room, University House, University of Melbourne, Parkville.

Bookings and information: Director of the CCMC, Associate Robyn Sloggett on 8344 6455 or email