IartC acknowledges the Traditional Owners and custodians of Country throughout Australia. We recognise their continuing connection to the land, waters and skies, often expressed through art.

Artist Member

Fay Nelson


Painting on all media

Artist Member

Fay Nelson


I thought Bunjee's name was ideal for the website, because Bunjee means 'Mate' in our language. So, I painted the picture of Bunjee for my logo. I thought he was the ideal choice as I remember him - his personality was always happy, loving and welcoming saying, "hey, Mum, I am glad to have you give me a cuddle." This came through his smiling face; he was always happy, cheeky and bold.

I use the Mr and Mrs, Brother, Sister, Aunty, Uncle, Granny, and Grand Pop terms of address in my books, because that is how my Old People taught me to address my Relatives. And I believe, by using these terms of address, it shows respect. And birds and animals may not use words that we use, to communicate when we speak to each other, but their messages are still very clear.

The land we love, because it provides us with much of our food and drink, be it real water or products made from or with real water - is the provider of food, water and home for us, wherever we live on this planet. The same love for country, is felt by our birds and animals, and they suffer fear and dread when the rains don't come; the waters dry up and fires burn their land and their bush.

My relationship with the birds and animals, flora and fauna, comes from my Granny's teaching about Totems and Kinship. These relationships last for lifetimes. My mother, who died when I was a little girl, visits me every day in the form of a Willy Wag Tail bird, which is her Major Totem. She comes and chatters to me in the garden. Other Relatives, whose Totems live near me, visit me often as well.

The other important feature in my books, is the value to me of my identity as an Aboriginal person. This includes knowledge of the culture of my own homeland, and knowledge about the Ancestral Spirits Creators, who are all around us, as taught to me by my Granny.

I paint the Spirits as bright, beautiful, helpful creatures, who still dwell in country wherever we live. Even though I haven't written about scary Spirits, I acknowledged their presence as a child. Because the stories were meant to save our lives, and never meant to harm us, there are no scary Spirits in my books - I want people to love our Bush, because the Earth is our Mother.

These books are dedicated to all my family, wherever they may be today. I have written these books in memory of my Mum, Julia, Dad, Bert Butler Snr, Uncle Romeo, Aunty Mabel, and Granny, Norah Sambo, who raised me on the banks of the Black River, Queensland, were we lived in dirt floor humpies, hunting and gathering wild food, to supplement our store bought food.

I also include my children Tracey, Debbie and Jeffrey, their children and grandchildren.

My sister, Margaret, and brothers, Noel, Bruce, Bert, Ricko, Gully and Russell, have all given our family their beautiful children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren, to maintain our family line.

Mum, Dad and Granny taught me to respect myself and all others, our country, the birds, plants, fish and animals, and all other living creatures. Each of us has a totemic relationship with them, that lasts a lifetime. They taught me about our culture and our lore, which is reflected in each of my books, with the appearances of Bush and Water Spirits.

My pets, Rufus, Bunjee, Poly and Molly Dolly, gave me precious memories, which I treasure; their presence in my life, helped me through a very difficult time in my life, and continue to help me today, because they show their unconditional love for me, which is why I have written these little books about them.

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