About Elsie

Name        :    Elsie RandallBorn         :    10th June 1967

Tribal area:    Yaegl / Bundjalung


Elsie’s is a Yagel/Bundjalung woman who grew up in Maclean and Yamba, far north east coast, NSW, Australia.   She has 3 children aged between 12 and 26 years and one grandchild aged 6.  She has spent 25 dedicated years employed in areas of welfare, health, family support and Youth Justice.  Elsie’s is particularly passionate about supporting and advocating for the needs of disadvantaged Aboriginal Families, Women and Children.

Elsie’s paternal grandfather, Noel Randall’s family originated from Ulugundi Island (yaegl country) before most of the families on Ulugundi was relocated to Hillcrest mission.  Elsie’s grandfather married Kathy Dungay from Burnt Bridge mission, Kempsey (Dainggatti tribe) and both lived at Hillcrest where they raised her father, Reg Randall.  Elsie’s father met her mother Patricia Currie and married Patricia when she was 18 and pregnant with Elsie.

Elsie’s mother Patricia, is a bundjalung women who was born and raised on Mooli Mooli Aboriginal reserve near Woodenbong, NSW.

From early childhood, to adolescence and through to her early adulthood, Elsie has encountered many difficult challenges and needed to find her own way to cope with living life.  Such dysfunction and/or traumatic events she fell victim to or witnessed included ongoing incidents of abuse, domestic violence, neglect, violence, and Alcohol and Drug abuse.

Elsie states that from an early age she didn’t feel that she had a voice nor felt safe enough to talk/tell anyone around her about what she and many other Aboriginal children around her had or was experiencing.

It was around when Elsie was 5 years of age when she began to draw her significant traumatic events, picking out one event at a time, transferring them out of her head and used what ever she can find (pens, pencils, textas and crayons).

Elsie says she started out drawing pictures, inventing symbolic shapes, native animals/flora and/or spirit type figures to illustrate her memories/events, and used particular colours to represent her moods she felt before, during and after the event.  Such a style was so that her paintings were not so easily recognised by her perpetrators, close family and/or friends, in order to keep herself safe.

For Elsie, her paintings were used more for therapeutic purposes rather than a hobby, enjoyment or creativity.  Elsie developed and sustained this way of thinking from her early childhood (5 yrs old), during adolescence and continues to do so throughout her adulthood years to date.  This process of transferring each individual traumatic experience out of her head on paper, canvas or board allowed her to see a clearer picture of she wanted to work through and reflect and establish how such an experience has had a positive impacted on her life, and to ultimately come to some level of acceptance before moving onto to the next one sort through.

A quote from Elsie:

When I began to paint I found that this method of transferring my stories out of my head, allowed me to empty my head completely and focus on one event or experience at a time.  I found this to be extremely therapeutic in the sense that I was dealing with only one issue at a time; could clearly remember each individual incident; visualise it; reflect on my experience and emotions at that time; and try to pick out all the positive lessons I have taken away from that particular experience that makes me the strong Aboriginal women I am today.

Whilst I will never forget, it also enables me to gain some level of acceptance before moving on to the next one to process.  This whole process is the main reason why I paint.  I didn’t start out painting for money, as a profession, because my work is pretty or even creative.  These are added bonuses to what I’m aiming to achieve from my works.  This is my ongoing process of healing which started from a broken silenced child, the totally lost, hurt, angry and confused adolescent, the timid, scared young adult woman through to the much more mature strong Goori women I am today.

I remain on my long journey to peace.  But my biggest hopes and dreams is to eventually share my knowledge and to ultimately earn my title of becoming one of my communities most respected Aboriginal female elders and through my art, will continue to educate/support other Aboriginal young people, women and children during their time of healing and/or trying to cope in this very challenging world we all live in.


Many of Elsie’s Art has been sought after and purchased by private buyers, both on national and international levels and are not listed below.

Other sales resulted from exhibitions and public art projects as follows:

2010  Coldstream Arts Festival, NSW

2010  NAIDOC Family Day, NSW

2010  NAIDOC – Toronto West Lakes, NSW

2010  Sorry Day – Government Sector

2010  Nungera Aboriginal Women’s Centre, Maclean, NSW

2010  Exhibition Auction – Newcastle Prominent Members Club, NSW

2010  Department of Community Services – Aboriginal Consultation Protocol, NSW

2009  Arthouse Australia – Yamba – The Rivers Run Black , Exhibition, NSW

2009  NAIDOC Family Day, NSW

2009  NAIDOC – Newcastle Foreshores, NSW

2009  Aboriginal and Non Aboriginal NGO Sorry Day Event

2009  Newcastle Show, NSW

2009  Maitland Show, NSW

2009  Exhibition – Hunter Valley Garden Aboriginal Art Gallery, NSW

2008  NAIDOC – Newcastle Foreshores, NSW

2008  Exhibition – Angarie Point Complex, NSW

2006  Sunshine Coast Anti Racism Conference, QLD

2006  Winnam A & TSI Corp Aboriginal Art Gallery, QLD

2005  Exhibition – Bondi Beach Crown Plaza, NSW

2005  “Tidda Group” – Exhibition, NSW

2004  Art Project – Muloobinba Aboriginal Family Support Services, NSW

2004 Awabakal Corporation – Aboriginal Elders Services, NSW

2004  Newcastle Life Line project, NSW

2004  Cessnock Correctional Centre, NSW

2003  Yamba Art Gallery, NSW

2002  Rydon Conference, NSW

2002  Kariong/Baxter JJC, NSW

2000  JHH Hospital, NSW

1999  Newcastle Mater, NSW

1995  Naroola Aboriginal Bail House, Moree, NSW

1998  Department of Juvenile Justice – Young Offender Art Program/Exhibition, NSW


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