Winners of the 2021 Heal Country! NAIDOC Photography Competition

Published on Wednesday, 8 December 2021 at 12:17:44 PM

Caption: GRAMS 2021 Heal Country! NAIDOC Photography Competition winners announced at Regional Geraldton Library


Winners of the GRAMS 2021 Heal Country! NAIDOC Photography Competition were revealed at the Geraldton Regional Library on Tuesday 7th of December.


The competition’s aim was to capture and celebrate this year’s NAIDOC theme, Heal Country!, and give the community an opportunity to share how they connect with Country and inspire others to heal.


GRAMS CEO, Deborah Woods said she’s thrilled and honoured to present the winners for this year’s competition.


“We would like to thank all participants who submitted their magnificent photo entries for the competition,” she said.


“The message (Heal Country!) was captured so vividly through all the photographs and they’re a testament to our culture and strength.”


All the photo entries were displayed for judging by GRAMS CEO Deborah Woods, Yamatji Art Manager Roni Jones and Gallery and Public Art Geraldton Coordinator Marina Backer. More than 40 people turned up for the exhibition and the winners were recognised and presented with their prizes.


Competition Winners

Congratulations to all our winners from each category.


15 years and under

1st prize winner – Marissa Kelly

Story Time

“Back on country, listening to our family stories of passed and what would they want to achieve for our future and we need to help to achieve this to happen. Been around the campfire and away from wifi, phone etc is best for us young kids because we learn a lot.”


2nd prize winner – Jace Kelly

Sand and Fun

“Enjoying family when going camping in bush.”


3rd prize winner – Rashiel Martin

Black Yellow Red

“Our community coming together and getting to know each other, is a way we can 'Heal Country'.”


16 to 30 years

1st place winner and champion photo of the year – Jessica Bradley

Heal Country: Next Generations footprints

“In this photo my two sons hold hands barefoot, grounding themselves to our country. As I learn myself, I teach them our culture and our ways, they walk this land together and follow the footprints our ancestors have left to guide us with.”


2nd place winner – Tyron Merritt

The Bundara (Stars) 🌟guides our travels throughout Country (Barna)πŸŒžβ›ΊπŸ”₯

H- heal our nation, our homeland by greater protections.
E - embrace Indigenous culture and knowledge of Australia's Country (barna).
A - ancestors caring for and protecting our country(barna).
L - land our sense of belonging - cultural connection is important to Aboriginal people of Australia.

C - connecting to country(barna) is family, kin, law, lore, ceremony, traditions and language to celebrate Country which speaks to us through spiritually, physically, emotionally, socially, culturally that is an importance to Aboriginal people of Australia.
O - our identity, our heritage and our ways with RESPECT.
U - understanding of country (barna) and culture of the Australian Aboriginal people.
N - NAIDOC WEEK invites that nation of Australia to celebrate country with the Aboriginal people of Australia.
T - traditional land and culture of the Aboriginal people of Australia.
R - recognising and respecting our country (barna) and culture.
Y - you mob-nhurra (all Australians) are invited to stand, walk besides, and support Aboriginal people by love, treasure and fight for this land, as we have done, and will continue to do forever - HEAL COUNTRY.

3rd place – Teharnie Martin

'Healing Country' When Mother Nature Goes Crazy.

“During the times when our Country destroys itself due to natural disasters, like Cyclone Seroja. We as a Community and Custodians of the land must come together, help each other, restore and maintain our land πŸ–€πŸ’›β€”


31 years to 50 years

1st place – Taisharn

Generations of healing

“This photo represents generations of traditional caretakers caring for the land that has been slowly neglected throughout the years, as Indigenous people its is our job to care for this land one seed at a time. This is our country, our home we want it to stay beautiful for the next generation to come. In my photo you will see 2 hands one young one old, helping plant a young tree. By listening to our elders and teaching the younger generations we can keep our country beautiful. Trees provide home food shelter and oxygen for both animals and humans. We are losing many trees due to deforestation and one way to heal our country is to put the trees back.”


2nd place – Gwen Rakabula

Fire and Heart

“Find the spot, collect the wood, pile them high, spark the match, smoke rising, smell it, breathe it in all the way to your lungs, listen to the crackle of the wood mesmerized by the orange red pink and blue flames. Being in country heals your heart, heals your mind and heals your soul.”


3rd place – Justine Adams


“Our country is not where we live, it is who we are. Country is a part of our heart, it’s a part of our spirit. We come from it, as sure as we will return to it.
When we are feeling disconnected, we look for our country. We long for it when we go away.
We sing for it. We dance for it.
We cry for it, tears of joy, pride, and sorrow.
We need to heal our country because since the very first sunrise and sunset, our country has healed us. But we can’t do it alone, we need to do it together.”

51 years and over

1st place – Bernadette Jones

Manda Bigawu - Plants for Sickness

For thousands of years our people have been surviving off our lands. We are taught from a young age how to look after country when on country and it will look after you by providing the necessities such as food, water, shelter and here in my photo bush medicine. This is my Aunty teaching me how to collect ‘barlbarra manda - terpentine plant’ for healing.”


2nd place – Simone Little

Hunting and Gathering

“This photo means a lot to my kids, show the kind of man that their Grandfather is and how their dad was raised and how Pop show his skills of hunting and gathering to his son, which will be pasted on to them.”


3rd place – Louisa Edwards

Love and protect our rivers

“All my life I been told that where there's water there is life. The rivers are the tracks of Bimirra and we are lucky to have our waterways in good health. Climate change and industry are changing the flow of our rivers and we need to protect the water to take care of the land.”



1st place – Tash Gillespie

Saltwater Sunset

As the sun sets on the horizon, reflecting over the saltwater, there is a certain beauty in the splashes of pinks, blues and purples.

However, the beautiful colours above the coastline hide a real threat, and with the ocean being a source of nourishment for my people, overfishing has become one of the biggest risks to fish depletion.

We must take care of our waterways and be mindful to only take what we can eat.”


2nd place – Shauna Oakley


Bringing Culture to our future.

“By protecting, sharing, and teaching our culture with our future generations and the greater Australian community only then can we start to heal our country.”


3rd place – Glenda Jackamarra


“Irribiddi a place of significance out on Murchison country.

This picture is capturing a man talking to country, feeling the presence of his ancestors and asking for help to heal his country.

With so many intrusion on traditional homelands destruction of significant sites he always goes out to find the magic of country healing from his ancestors and their homelands.”


The photo entries can be viewed virtually on the GRAMS website:


You can also see them in person on display at the Geraldton Regional Library until January 31st 2021.   





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