ART MUSEUM CLOSED - Bundanon's Art Museum is closed for a three week period for exhibition changeover and will reopen on Saturday 6 July


The River and the Sea Reflections by Gabrielle Journey Jones

2022 Bundanon Writers Week Poetry Commission

The River and the Sea

Reflections by Gabrielle Journey Jones

Uncle Ben’s birds-eye brush strokes
Blessed many of his subjects unaware
That he was painting them into forever.
Crafted landscapes on Yuin Nation
Sunshine swirled across canvas
Illuminating candid conversations
Between mountains and ocean
Whispered along the river tracing
Umbarra Black Duck Songlines.

Bejewelled butterflies glisten
Bedazzling busy billabongs
Cockatoos circle contributing
Equal gifts friendship and feathers
Dancing kangaroos in flight
Dingoes and wallabies harmonise
Snakes warm themselves in good weather
Lazy geese swim, glide and dive
A kaleidoscope of wildlife.
People sway in patterned pairs
Entranced on a disco dance floor
An intimate affair capturing
A collection of favourite memories
Each couple a sacred story
Unfolding within Uncle’s narrative.
Perhaps, earlier that day they lined the sand
Preparing to have a go at beach volleyball
Socially distanced like a string of Christmas lights.



Gabrielle Journey Jones is a poet, percussionist and community builder living on Yuin Country, Far South Coast NSW.

She was born in Sydney on sovereign Gadigal Country and is from from Maori and African-American bloodlines. Gabrielle has shared her spoken word performances as feature poet at local, national and international events for over 20 years. Gabrielle has two poetry collections published by Ginninderra Press, ‘Etymology of Courage’ (2021) and ‘Spoken Medicine’ (2017). Gabrielle’s third collection ‘The Purpose of Truth’ will be released by Ginninderra Press in 2023.

This poem was commission by Bundanon and the South Coast Writers Centre as part of the 2022 Bundanon Writers Week program.

Poets were invited to write a poem in response to works by Reuben Ernest Brown (Uncle Ben Brown) from the exhibition The River and the Sea


Bundanon acknowledges the people of the Dharawal and Dhurga language groups as the traditional owners of the land within our boundaries, and recognises their continuous connection to culture, community and Country.

In Dharawal the word Bundanon means deep valley.

This website contains names, images and voices of deceased Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.