Helen Milroy’s Dance of life

Dance of Life painting by Helen Milroy, 2006
‘Dance of Life’ painting by Helen Milroy, 2006

Helen Milroy is Australia’s first Aboriginal psychaistrist. She also works as an artist and story teller, using language that a child can understand.

Her book for children, ‘Wombat, Mudlark & other stories’, gives voice to relationships between creatures and their lands and waterways.

Her painting, ‘Dance of Life’, depicts the Aboriginal multi-dimensional perspective on health: biological, physical, psychological, emotional, social, spiritual and cultural.

Freemantle Publishers write, “…From a falling star to a lonely whale, an entertaining lizard to an enterprising penguin, these Indigenous stories are full of wonder, adventure and enduring friendships. Told in the style of traditional teaching stories, these animal tales take young readers on adventures of self-discovery and fulfilment.”

For the Royal Australian & New Zealand College of Psychiatrists,

Health in Mind, Milroy writes, “…When we enable a person to restore all of the dimensions of their life, then we have achieved a great deal. When all of the dimensions are in balance, within the universe, we can break free of our shackles and truly dance through life.”

On Wed 30 October I write to Helen:

Subject: Penguin and Sky
Date: Wed, 30 Oct 2019 09:32:43 +1100
Organization: Living Data Seeding Treaties Incortorated

Dear Helen,

I am writing to ask permission to include your story ‘Penguin and Sky’, in a project that aims to inspire and inform people to tell their own stories of relationship to the natural world. The project is ‘Seeding treaties: Voices from the Southern Ocean’:

I am an animator who works with scientists and other artists to combine scientific data and cultural responses to our changing world, and I recognised the great healing power in your ‘Wombat, Mudlark and other stories’.

With your permission, I would read your story as a stimulus in workshops to engage people (specially children) in writing, drawing and animating from the perspectives of various creatures and their lands and waterways.

I look forward to hearing from you.

Best wishes,

Helen responds:

Subject: Re: Penguin and Sky
Date: Wed, 30 Oct 2019 02:33:03 +0000

Hi Lisa,
Thanks for your email. I think the project is very exciting and very much in line with what the stories offer. That is to embed children within an ecological framework so everything becomes interconnected and in relationship with each other. Very happy for you to use the story as you describe. I did contact my publisher and they are in agreement as well.
Good luck with the project.

Professor Helen Milroy
University of Western Australia
35 Stirling Hwy
Crawley WA 6009

National Mental Health Commission
Email: enquiries@mentalhealthcommission.gov.au

Helen’s publisher writes:

Subject: Penguin and Sky
Date: Wed, 30 Oct 2019 02:48:26 +0000

Hi Lisa,

Helen Milroy passed on your request for permission to Fremantle Press to also consider (as her publisher). We’d all be delighted to see the work used this way. What a great initiative!

Please would you be sure to credit the book as follows (we always hope that people will seek out the book to purchase which is so important for our authors):

Wombat Mudlark and other stories by Helen Milroy © 2019, published by Fremantle Press.

And if there’s anything else on our publishing list you might like to consider please let me know.


All best wishes,

Jane Fraser / CEO

+61 (0)401 205 933 / jfraser@fremantlepress.com.aujfraser@fremantlepress.com.au

Fremantle Press Office: +61 (0)8 9430 6331 / Fax: +61 (0)8 9430 5242
25 Quarry Street, Fremantle WA 6160 / PO Box 158 North Fremantle WA 6159