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Connection To Culture

10th November 2020

The theme of NAIDOC Week 2020 is "Always Was, Always Will Be" and to celebrate, we'd like to share the story behind the artwork and Dean John Tyson's vision.

At HELP we’re proud to be part of First Nations inclusion and diversity. For National Reconciliation Week 2019 we commissioned a painting by First Nations artist Dean John Tyson to be displayed on our vehicles to celebrate First Nations culture.

Kabora artwork displayed on Help Employment Mini-bus 

Rainbow Serpent Dreaming (storyline)

Kabora the rainbow serpent is an ancient being of the water dreaming. Many water ways were made by Kabora on her travels in the dreaming (creation storyline). The creeks & rivers bend from where she travelled, bottomless waterholes is where she dove deep into the land.

Kabora is a giant water serpent, but also takes the form of carpet python. You can still see the beauty of the rainbow serpent left in the carpet python’s leftover sheadings of translucent colourful snake skin. Kabora is the giver of life and can also take life, as she is of the great beings. We have a resting place on Stradbroke Island called 'KABORA' or 'BLUE LAKE', it is a sacred site as it is a place, one of many that she created. 

Employment Programs Coordinator, Tanya Allford alongside Branch Manager, Beaudine Tapine unveiling the first bus with "Kabora" on display

Kabora represents all the beautiful things in nature & the sacred lore we must abide by. Also the nourishment of all beings with the beautiful water that flows, life giving water. We have to remember Kabora is not a mystical snake of legend but a direct history of creation that has remained in our storytelling. 

Artist Dean John Tyson showing the full Kabora painting 

The colours in this painting are very important they are:

  • Gurung/black= Sacred lore
  • Gudji/red= Men’s lore
  • Gann/yellow= Woman’s lore
  • Buba/white= our Ancestors & Biral (god)
  • Kahjal/green= trees & plants
  • Tabelban/blue= water & sea

The two opposite sides of the artwork represents:

  • Both our mother’s & father’s land/country (Jarra / Earth-world)
  • The lore system of two moieties (Dilbai & Kopajin)
  • The two genders male & female (malah & jundal)
  • The past & present (wunjayi & muda)
  • Good from bad. (minyalung from  maribah)

The middle of the artwork represents:

  • The Milky Way 
  • Biralijah (Sky World) where we go when we leave this realm
  • Mirrigin (stars) our ancestors that now remain as stars in Biralijah
  • The sacred lore & history of creation that binds all beings together and has been there though out the ages
  • Biralijah (God’s country),  Biral (God), Ja (country)

This painting is also a story of connection & belonging though the dreaming of Kabora, the land and natural law (lore). The strong connection between us the people, Sky World and the Under World and all beings that dwell between.

KABORA 2019 ©
DeanJohn Tyson
Bingkin Ngugi



HELP respectfully acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of the land on which we work and pay our respects to Elders both past and present. We are committed to work towards a positive future for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.


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