Places I Love: North Parmelia Primary School 50th Anniversary Exhibition Opening

Words and pictures by Jean Hudson @jeansodyssey

North Parmelia Primary School in Kwinana is celebrating it’s 50th Anniversary.

Artist Kaitlyn Elsegood invited Fremantle Shipping News to attend the unveiling of the North Parmelia Primary School 50th Anniversary Project at the Darius Wells Library and Resource Centre.

On Friday just gone, 22 October, I attended along with the students, school staff, proud parents, the Kwinana and broader community and the Mayor of Kwinana, Ms Carol Adams for the launch.

Year 6 students from North Parmelia Primary School have been working with artist Kaitlyn Elsegood over the last two terms to create 11 bright and bold wooden sculptures that range up to 2 metres in height and width.

The works commemorate persons, events and places that the children have identified as significant to the Kwinana area. The catalyst for the project came from the students learning about 2020’s War on Statutes and the effects of COVID, and reconnecting the community with heritage and culture.

Applying this lens to a local context, students attended a series of talks with various Kwinana locals at significant sites to learn about the history of the place they call home.

The children told me how much they enjoyed learning about Kwinana’s Indigenous History with Mr Angus Walley and Ms Charlotte McGarry at The Spectacles. The Spectacles Reserve has wetlands surrounded by degraded native bushland. They also learned about heritage and the area’s colonial and pioneer history.

The unveiled sculptures included a 2 metre tall statue of long term Indigenous local, Mr Angus Walley, who spoke with and worked with the students. On the other side of the statue is the Mayor of Kwinana, Ms Carol Adams.

‘Rebellious Women in Kwinana’ depicted 3 rebellious women of Kwinana: Hannah Postans, Alice Dicker-Lee and Margaret Feilman.

Alice Dicker-Lee was a service woman who could not understand why girls were not seen as equal to boys. She volunteered as a nurse during World War One and worked in Egypt and France. She prevented bushland from being cleared from her farm in Mandogalup and was a strong environmentalist.

Margaret Feilman became the state’s first female architectural cadet and designed the town of Kwinana. She retained the best natural features and designed the streets so that families could easily walk to the shops and schools.

Maninging Morales, one of the Year 6 students, told me how she enjoyed learning Hannah Postans who bought one of the first cars in Rockingham and loved driving her car. Maninging designed the car on the statues head.

Mr Trevor Walley, a traditional owner’s account of how Derbal Nara/Cockburn Sound was formed through a fight between the Waugal and the Yondock/Spirit Crocodile inspired a sculpture of a mythical serpent.

Along with Kaitlyn Elsegood, I met 2 of the students, Beverly Cuniah and Jak Sattler who designed an abstract piece celebrating Kwinana’s natural places of beauty – Chalk Hill, The Spectacles, the beach and wildflower season.

Another sculpture was a multifaceted piece of giant heads circling a 1.5 metre globe, highlighting the diversity of people who live in the area. Other displays included Kwinana Kreature totems and abstract cardboard self-portraits.

After the unveiling we were entertained with Hip Hop and Brake dancing performances by Year 5 and 6 students and their teacher Pepito.

So if you are down Kwinana way, drop into the library to view the statues. The Exhibition continues until 7 November 2021.

Library opening times are Monday to Thursday: 9:00am – 7:00pm, Friday: 9:00am – 5:00pm, Saturday: 9:00am – 12:00pm

* This article was written by Jean Hudson. The photographs are also Jean’s