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In December 2022 Q Shelter had a bronze Freshwater eel totem installed into it’s garden.
The totem was funded by the Gambling Community Benefit Fund and will shortly have the following story installed to accompany the totem.
Story by Uncle Joe Kirk | Design by Wendy McNeil | Bronze casting Chalkos Fine Arts Foundry
This country is river country and the freshwater eel is one of the totems of mother earth.
Freshwater eel mothers leave the estuaries in May/April in the early morning and head to Moreton Bay via the Brisbane River to lay their eggs. The mothers know when it’s time to leave.
When they arrive they find a safe place to lay their eggs travelling through the grass when it’s wet with dew. They shine and look like a rainbow.
Then the mothers all die. 100’s of them. They all die out in Moreton Bay in the weeds.
The eggs will hatch just before December each year and grow to be white fingerlings. The babies start swimming and nature tells them where their mother comes from.
By the time they swim up into the estuaries they’re a good size, like a little snake. They arrive back to their estuary with all the other eels… They swim around like crazy because they are all back together.
“Come here boy, come here girl, you are part of us. You belong here.”
The Freshwater eel is part of our stolen generation story.