Menu toggle

National Museum of Australia

Where our stories come alive

Collection Explorer

4

Painting no. 16, Rainbow Serpent story by Dick Roughsey - Goorialla goes down onto the sea, leaving the country peopled with animals as well as humans

2006.0077.0016

Painting no. 16, Rainbow Serpent story by Dick Roughsey - Goorialla goes down onto the sea, leaving the country peopled with animals as well as humans

Object information

Physical description

An oil painting on board in a gold coloured frame. The painting depicts a large, rainbow-coloured and horned serpent swimming in a centrally positioned water hole, surrounded by pairs of water birds, including the sacred ibis, together with a pair of emus, a tortoise and a kangaroo in the foreground. The sky is green and yellow near the horizon. The word 'WARRENBY' appears in the lower right hand corner of the painting while the word 'GOOBALATHALDIN' appears in the lower left. On the reverse of the painting, '#16' is written in black marker on the top middle of the masonite board and frame.

Statement of significance

The Dick Roughsey Rainbow Serpent collection consists of 16 works produced for the children's book 'The Rainbow Serpent' (1975) by Lardil artist Dick Roughsey (Goobalathaldin).

The rainbow serpent is an important ancestral being in Indigenous communities and emerged in ancestral stories and related manifestations for the first time some 3,000 to 6,000 years ago. 'The Rainbow Serpent' won a Children's Picture Book of the Year Award in 1976 and was one of seven successful children's books produced by Dick Roughsey in collaboration with his colleague and friend Percy Tresize.

Object information

Back to top