Skip to content

Update from the Gallery regarding COVID-19

The Art Gallery of New South Wales is open. In line with decisions made by the National Cabinet as communicated by the NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian, the Gallery is observing strict physical distancing and hygiene measures to protect the health of all visitors and staff and minimise the spread of COVID-19 (coronavirus), including timed-entry tickets. More information




Contemporary art

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander art

View More:


Pakapanali Yimanka Kapi Paluwiyanga



Johnathon Bush


07 Oct 1974 -


Art centre documentation for this work states;

“This painting depicts the history that took place on the banks of Goose Creek. This is my country, this is where my ancestors rest. A long time ago my people had a village there in Goose Creek.

Joe Cooper a buffalo stockman came to raise buffalo on my country without my ancestors’ approval. He and his men set fire to the camp. Half of my family were killed. Only Bugabai, my Grandfather, my Grandmother and my uncle survived the fire. All the others passed away. When the village was burnt my family found that Milikapati had civilisation.

You can feel a presence at Goose Creek. Sometimes we call out to the creek and say we are home. Last time we didn’t call out, the boat tipped over in the middle of the creek – crocs and all.

This painting has an image of my Grandfather in the layers of the ochres red for the blood massacre, yellow for the earth we hunt from, white for the water we fish from. He is in between these traditional materials my ancestors have painted with for centuries. I started using charcoal to get away from the manmade black and white gesso. I used this charcoal to paint Bugabai in to this picture, but the ochres of the past cover him up so only his presence can be felt when I tell this story.

Goose Creek is my Father’s country, my Grandfather’s country. They are there but we can’t see them in this picture. We can only feel their presence when we visit.”


Place where the work was made

Melville Island Northern Territory Australia

Cultural origin

Tiwi, Arnhem region



Media category


Materials used

natural pigments and charcoal on canvas


153.0 x 200.0 cm


Purchased with funds provided by the Aboriginal Collection Benefactors’ Group 2018


Not on display

Accession number


Artist information

Johnathon Bush

Works in the collection



Where the work was made
Melville Island