First Nations mural transforms heart of Oakleigh

Visitors to the popular Oakleigh Activity Centre will have noticed an eye-catching new feature outside Atkinson Street car park: a stunning mural by Gunditjmara, Yorta Yorta and Wemba Wemba artist Tom Day.

Launched on 13 February 2024 and titled ‘Nanyubak’ – a Yorta Yorta word meaning ‘to dream the future’ – the mural depicts the lines of connection that bind people to the land and to each other. Bunjil the Eagle and Waa the Crow feature prominently, while the teal thread of the local Scotchmans Creek runs throughout.

It's the first large-scale mural solely designed and installed by a First Nations artist in the municipality.

Commissioning the artwork aligns with Council’s Innovate Reconciliation Action Plan, and creating it was a collaborative effort, with input from the Wurundjeri Woi Wurrung Traditional Owners and more than 300 members of the Monash community participating in the consultation on the draft concept design.

The Nanyubak mural was delivered by Monash Council, in partnership with the Victorian Government.

For more information: First Nations mural in Oakleigh


Commissioning a First Nations mural aligns with Council’s recently endorsed Innovate Reconciliation Action Plan that outlines the shared approach Council is taking to work alongside Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples to advance reconciliation in our workplace and across the Monash municipality.

As part of this project, artists were asked to submit two concept designs. Gunditjmara, Yorta Yorta and Wemba Wemba artist Tommy Day (represented by Mamam) was chosen by our Public Art Project Panel, which included representation from the Wurundjeri Woi Wurrung Cultural Heritage and Aboriginal Corporation.

Monash residents were invited to have your say in which of the two concept designs they would like to see transform this busy corner of Oakleigh.

A total of 313 people voted on the mural, with 263 (84%) preferring concept 1 and 50 (16%) preferring concept 2. The most common rationale for selecting concept 1 was the bright and vibrant colours and the inclusion of the Bunjil and Waa (eagle and crow).

For the full results, please see the Community Engagement Report.

The final mural concept and the artist's statement of changes can be viewed below.

Artist's statement on updates and final concept

Final mural concept

Artist Tommy Day's statement:

"After community consultation, I’ve refined my palette where vibrant blues, greens and magenta have been included for a richer tapestry for a contemporary audience. The animals are larger, with Waa the Crow now a multidimensional guardian alongside its counterpart, Bunjil the Eagle."

Concept 1: Bright and vibrant Concept 2: Soft earth

The aims

Artists were briefed on the mural's aims, which are to:

  • celebrate First Nations culture
  • foster community pride and a sense of belonging
  • provide a welcoming and fitting gateway to the vibrant Oakleigh Activity Centre
  • improve community safety and reduce tagging and bill posting.