A SECOND mural as part of stage two of the Aboriginal Street Art Project has just been completed, which has seen Yorta Yorta man, Private Daniel Cooper featured on the Eastbank wall, paying recognition to local Aboriginal people who fought in war.
Private Cooper, who fought in WWI died on a European battlefield in 1917 at just 21 years old and is buried in Belgium. He was the son of Yorta Yorta man, Uncle William Cooper and Agnes Hamilton. Uncle William Cooper was recognised during stage one of the Aboriginal Street Art Project and is featured alongside Sir Douglas Nicholls on the GV Water wall.
While this mural pays respect to Private Daniel Cooper, the overarching purpose of the mural is much broader as it recognises all local Aboriginal people who represented Australia in war. Private Daniel Cooper is a local symbol and represents a story that is unknown by many Australians.
Shepparton RSL president, Robert Wilkie said, “The Shepparton RSL is delighted to be involved with this project. Aboriginal and Torres Straight Islanders have served in every conflict that the Australian Defence Force have been involved in and deserve to be recognised.”
Yorta Yorta Nation Aboriginal Corporation acting CEO, Damian Morgan Bulled said, “This mural recognises the local Aboriginal people who courageously put their lives on the line to represent their country in war. Particularly at a time during the earlier wars when the Australian Government wasn’t allowing Aboriginal people to represent their country. Private Daniel Cooper is an example of such courage and he is a symbol that represents all local Yorta Yorta people who bravely defended their land.”
Nephew of Private Daniel Cooper, Alf Turner said, “Uncle Dan was a courageous Yorta Yorta man who risked his life and never returned to the country he defended so bravely. Many other local Aboriginal people fought and I am glad they are finally being recognised for their courage.”
On May 27 at 11am, a dedicated service will take place at the mural to pay tribute to all local Aboriginal people who have fought in war.