Born: 1960 at Mitchell River Mission, Gulf of Carpentaria

Community: Kowanyama

Homelands: Between Duckhole and Magnificent Creeks including Worrpo (Ten Mile Swamp) and Patha pakalin (The Crossing)

Language group: Yirrk Thangakl: Central Western Cape York Peninsula

Clan story place: Mel thiw (Baldy Owl)

Stephen was born at Mitchell River Mission on April 7 1960 to the Mel thiw (Baldy Owl) Clan of the Yirrk Thangakl speaking people of the Mitchell River Delta on Cape York.

His Grandfather and father’s clan country lies between the Duckhole and Magnificent Creeks including Worrpo (Ten Mile Swamp) and Patha pakalin (The Crossing) where his father and his father’s sister were laid to rest on their country.

Stephen’s clan have inherited a rich connection with the land of their ancestors which includes his clan shield designs.

Stephen Says;

As a young boy I watched my elders carving artefacts and making body adornments to wear in corroboree. I leant from them. Years later I now hold this knowledge and I am developing these ancient techniques to create new works. I am hoping to role model to younger members of our community so that they will join me in maintain and revitalising this ancient craft.

In recent years, Stephen has worked in the township of Kowanyama and throughout his traditional homelands. Over this time Stephen’s cultural knowledge inspired his desire to create traditional Shields. During the past year Stephen has been working with other members of his community to research and strengthen their knowledge and skills to create beautifully handcrafted artefacts. Through the use of traditional carving and painting methods, Stephen has created a new body of work which will be on exhibition with Cape York Art at the Cairns Indigenous Arts Fair and in 2016.


2016      Cape York Art, Curated exhibition at Cairns Indigenous Art Fair