There are many people in the Katherine region who do not hesitate to go the extra mile to make a difference to the lives of their friends, families and the community they live in. Those people are often quiet achievers who do not get the recognition they deserve. To celebrate quiet achievers in the region the Katherine Times - with the support of
Nitmiluk Tours - proudly presents this week’s Community Hero.
John Dewar is a Mayilli man from West Arnhem Land.
His country is north of Katherine in the Oenpelli (Gunbalanya) area.
He was born in the area now known as “The Rocks” on the eastern side of Katherine in the Dry Season of 1956.
John’s father worked in many places when John was a little boy, spending a lot of time in the Maranboy region working for the tin mine and the timber mill and also as a stockman, yard builder and fencer on the stations in the area.
The family settled down on Eva Valley Station, now known as Manyallaluk and John spent a lot of his youth there learning from and working for his father.
As an adult John has done many things.
He worked as a tourist guide and artist at Manyallaluk, the old Eva Valley, for many years. In recent years he has moved back up to Katherine and works now for Mimi Arts as an artist at the Nitmiluk Gorge tourist centre, spending time as a mentor and role model to young Aboriginal tourist guide trainees there and at Maude Creek. On Fridays John works back in the Mimi Art Centre showing school children and tourists how his paintings are made and telling his cultural stories.
Following in his father’s footsteps, John works hard and enjoys his cross cultural job.
He says “I don’t like to sit around. I like to work and paint and to keep busy”.
His great knowledge of culture and country and of the history of the area make him a very valuable mentor and role model for the trainees at Nitmiluk and cultural storyteller in his art and explanations at Mimi.
John’s artwork is in the style of west Arnhem Land and very similar to his uncle who is an extremely well known artist from the Oenpelli area.
John himself has many works hanging in homes and galleries around the world and a very beautiful work in the Strangers Room in Parliament House in Darwin.
Every week the Community Hero celebrated in the Katherine Times receives at $50 Nitmiluk Gorge meal voucher.
NOMINATE a quiet achiever and receive a $15 Nitmiluk Gorge meal voucher if your nominee features as the next Community Hero.
Email the name and a brief description of your hero’s achievements (and a photo if you have one) to
firstname.lastname@example.org or ring the Katherine Times on 8972 1111.