Wayne Connolly
"I started working at the Yarrabah Arts & Cultural Centre in the late 1990s"

I helped to construct the boardwalk near rainforest at the back of the museum. I started painting canvas and making ceramics in 2019.

My Father's mother Bessie Yeatman married Stanley Connolly. She was Kuku Yalanji and Kuku Taipan. They were from Wujul Wujal and Maryvale. My Father's father was from Kowanyama to Ngukurr (Roper River) and his name was Claude Ponto. He was a legendary tracker. The Police took him from the bank of Mitchell River, near Kowanyama where he lived to go down to Victoria to track the notorious Bushranger Ned Kelly.

One of the Bush Rangers shot him in the knee. He then retired and ended up in Yarrabah.

He started making carved and polished trophy shells. One of his shields is in the National Museum of Australia’s collection. He met my Grandmother in Mossman. They were both working for the local police. My grandmother was from near Kalkadoon and was forcibly taken and was part of the stolen generation. My mother, Valmai Connolly (Donavan-Marshall father’s side) (Mitchell- Hicks Mother’s side) is from the Gumbaynggirr language group from NSW. Her tribe ran from Nambucca all the way south to Wallaga Lake Aboriginal Mission to escape from being stolen and slaughtered.

My parents meet at college in Sydney. My mum was studying nursing. They finally ended up in Yarrabah where they had five kids.

My father Wayne Connolly Snr was a priest under the Saint Albans Anglican Church. We moved a lot in my younger days.

We lived in Oenpelli (NT), Palm Island (QLD), Cherbourg (QLD) and then Kowanyama. I finished high school in Yarrabah where I know live.

I have family in lots of places and enjoy travelling to visit them. I’ve been interested in art for a long time and thought I would give it a go.

I do a lot of camping and hunting on land and sea and love traditional food. At the moment my art is looking at life experiences of being in nature.

I like painting animals, fish and nature. I love listening to the old peoples’ stories.

Group Exhibitions

Endeavour Voyage: The Untold Stories of Cook and the First Australians National Museum of Australia, Canberra ACT 2020, April


2016 Philomena Yeatman, Edna Anbrym and Valmai Pollard, Public Art Mosaic Installation. Shields Street Heart Re-Development

2016 Philomena Yeatman, Edna Anbrym and Valmai Pollard, Public Art Mosaic Installation. Shields Street Heart Re-development

The Yarrabah Aboriginal Shire Council acknowledges Aboriginal peoples as Australia’s First Peoples
We recognise the Gunggandji and Mandingalbay Yidinji, as Traditional Owners for Yarrabah and cultural custodians.
We pay our respects to our Elders past, present and emerging.
Find out more about what's on offer from Yarrabah Cultutal Precinct in the sections below:
About Yarrabah
Yarrabah is traditionally owned by the Gunggandji and Mandingalbay Yidinji and is a very picturesque part of Tropical North Queensland
Upcoming Events
There are lots of exhibitions and events happening - Check out what's coming up here and get involved with our community
Shop Online
Have a look inside our online gallery and securely buy our art through our website. Paintings, sculptures, fashion, jewellery and more
Meet The Artists
Meet the artists that produce traditional and modern artworks of authenticity and originality from the Yarrabah Arts & Cultutal Precinct



Website designed, hosted & maintained by Allcorp © 2021