Bunjil the Eagle & Bunjil’s Nest

Term: 3 Year: 2019

In Term 4 of 2018, Spotswood Primary School held its biannual Art Show and fundraiser and one of its themes was ‘Australiana’. Students were involved in many creative projects surrounding this theme, and responded in a variety of ways. Outcomes included: stitched animal softies, drawn, printed or collaged botanical plants inspired by Australian artists; felted Australian landscapes and coral sculptures; and a collaborative whole school project constructing a Red Eucalyptus Gum tree.

One of the most meaningful projects and special to Spotswood Primary School was Bunjil the Eagle and Bunjil’s Nest. Year 3/4 students and teachers were fortunate to collaborate with Boon Wurrung Elder, Aunty Fay Muir to create a representation of Bunjil the Eagle. Aunty Fay Muir shared stories of Bunjil and his importance to the Boon Wurrung People. Students listened, learned and wrote messages about the significance of taking care of our environment, our connection to land and reconciliation.

Bunjil is a creator deity, culture hero and ancestral being, often depicted as a wedge-tailed eagle. In the Kulin Nation in central Victoria he was regarded as one of two moiety ancestors, the other being Waa the Crow. In Koorie communities in Victoria, the Bunjil story comes with a great amount of responsibility for carers and parents to look after and nurture their children and the environment. In return, it is hoped that as the children grow they will accept the responsibility of caring for each other and the land.

Bunjil’s colour palette was kept in line with the natural and organic colours of our land. Students were given feather templates of various colours, shapes and sizes and were shown examples of simple patterns they could use to add detail to their feathers with Posca markers. Feathers were arranged to depict Bunjil flying, and placed down on plywood using PVA glue with a final wash over the top. Bunjil’s nest was constructed using fallen branches and sticks from our school grounds and padded with raffia and wool fibres.

Spotswood Primary School would like to acknowledge People of the Kulin Nation and the Boon Wurrung People, the traditional people and custodians of the land on which we gather, the land from Werribee River to Wilson Promontory.

We pay our respects to the Elders both past, present and emerging.

Special Thank You
Spotswood Primary School would like to thank Aunty Fay Muir, Elder and Traditional Owner of Boon Wurrung Country, for imparting her wisdom and knowledge about the meaning and importance of Bunjil to the Boon Wurrung People.

Cynthia Asp
Spotswood Primary School