The parish of St Mary's Thornbury is proud to have constructed on its soil 'The Centenary of Federation Community Reconciliation Fountain'. This beautiful visual, designed by Glenn Romanis, marks in a significant way the achievements of one hundred years of Federation of which all Australians can be justly proud. Glenn's images are based on a Dreamtime story 'Kramban and No-yang' (described below).
It has been a collaborative effort between the Federal Government, the Australian Council for the Arts-ATSIC Board, the Aboriginal Catholic Ministry and other Indigenous people, the City of Darebin, private industry and the Church. At the official commissioning ceremony on the 9 September 2000, the following dedication statements were expressed:
Reconciliation is one of the most important challenges facing us as we enter the 21st century and our second century of Federation. The Aboriginal art form used symbolises the essential need of water for everything to survive and grow strong. This creates the environment of all species of plants and fish to live harmoniously with each other. This is what we strive for, that all Australians may live with justice and enjoy peace and harmony as we grown into a better nation.
United in our diversity, we have gifted our community with a beautiful artwork ,deep in its significance, which will give food for thought, inspiration, pleasure and joy, to young and the not so young alike.
At one time there was no water anywhere on the face of the earth. All the waters were contained in the body of a huge frog, and men and women could get none of it.
A council was held, and the wisest amongst all the animals enquired into the circumstances connected with this extraordinary drought. It was found without doubt that the monster Frog had within himself all the waters that should have covered water places on the earth and if the Frog (Kramban) was made to laugh the waters would run out of his mouth, and there would be plenty in all parts.
It was agreed that an effort would be made to cause the monster Frog to laugh. Several animals danced and capered before him, but he remained as solemn and stupid as any ordinary Frog, even when their gestures were sufficient to arouse joy, laughter everywhere. All the animals tried and failed. At length, the Eel (No-yang) began to wriggle and distort himself, and the Frog's jaws opened. He laughed outright. When He laughed, all waters came out of his mouth.
This story is significant to the Fountain's visual as the area surrounding the Northern Suburbs is bordered by the Merri Creek which contains many Frogs, eels, fresh water fish and from the seeds of the indigenous plants, nardoo and villirsa, damper is made. The swamp lilies are a symbol of purity. The indigenous and introduced species (Red Fins) of fish swim happily together.
Glenn Romanis has researched and adapted this story to create the visual of the fountain. The water, symbol of life, flows through, healing and uniting all.
Father may they be one, as you and I are one.