'Lotjpa Balagamdail Ngar-Wu Galnyan ' 'To Speak with Respect, to Listen with Courage' - Victorian Civil Administrative Tribunal 2020
Victorian Civil Administrative Tribunal
Victorian Civil Administrative Tribunal
Victorian Civil Administrative Tribunal

Victorian Civil Administrative Tribunal

'Lotjpa Balagamdail Ngar-Wu Galnyan ' 'To Speak with Respect, to Listen with Courage' Commission 2020.


The larger central circle represents the gathering place, ‘VCAT’, the meeting place and talking circle of two parties coming together for mediation, to discuss dispute. This was the way of our people meeting on neutral territory to resolve disagreements. Elders would sit and listen to both sides ensuring fairness and respect. Once the difference was resolved, it was forgotten – everyone moved on and accepted it. 

The five outer circles represent the Kulin nations of South-Central Victoria, the traditional lands of the Woiwurrung (Wurrundjeri), the Boonwurrung, the Dja Dja Wurrung, the Taungurung and the Wathaurung peoples. The circles represent the preservation of these significant and important cultural sites and the respect of sacredness. 

The long golden waves are the journey tracks towards VCAT, they represent its interaction and the human rights of each individual.

The spirit figures are shaped as gum leaves, a sign of peace and respect to the other party. Gum leaves are used in smoking ceremonies and are known for cleansing and making anew.

These spirit figures represent family, the strength and support received from behind one another – the backbone of Aboriginal people. The central figures meet in the middle at the VCAT gathering circle for talking and respectful business – for resolution. To speak with courage, to listen with respect.

Simone Thomson

* Story and intellectual property remain that of the artist.


We were fortunate enough to commission Simone for an artwork on canvas, the broad brief being an example of how Aboriginal people experience VCAT- the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal. Simone is an absolute pleasure to work with, and a true professional. She considered the space where the work is intended to be displayed when choosing a colour palette, and made particular efforts to understand and set realistic timelines.

Simone not only went above and beyond to deliver our canvas (during a pandemic!) but also created a very special and intricate piece of art. “Lotjpa Balagamdail … Ngar-Wu Galnyan” “To Speak with Courage … To Listen with Respect”, is not only an example of Simone’s considerable talent, but also of her deep connection with her people and ancestors, and the words that she provided paint almost as beautiful a picture as she has created on canvas, perfectly interpreting our brief from a cultural perspective. We can’t wait to have restrictions lifted so we can put it on display for everyone to enjoy.

Kylie McCaw, CSV-VCAT Koorie Support, Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal 

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