Contents of Black Fellas Dreaming Museum to be auctioned

On Wednesday 9 May 2007, Bonhams & Goodman will auction the contents of the Black Fella’s Dreaming Museum – the collection of well known indigenous artist Gordon Syron and his wife Elaine. Many documentaries have been made about the museum, the couple and their unconventional approach to showcasing indigenous art.

Black Fella’s Dreaming Museum was the fantasy and will of one man – Gordon Frederick Syron. Syron’s history is as fascinating as it is chequered. Born in 1942, Syron was raised at Minimbah on the mid-north coast of NSW, near Forster-Tuncurry on the Coolongolook River. He is one of 16 children. Both grandfathers were white – one Scottish, one Irish. His two grandmothers were Aboriginal.

Gordon grew up on a dairy farm that his family owned. This was unusual as most aboriginal children of his generation grew up on a mission. Gordon became a top boxer, winning the NSW Golden Glove Award several times. He was representing Australia, at the top of his career when injury cut short his boxing career. He then worked at a variety of jobs including truck driver, taxi driver, electrician and linesman for Telecom.

He learned to paint while serving a life sentence in prison. A family dispute over the property on which he had lived and worked all his life saw him shoot and kill his uncle’s adopted son. The act to protect his family’s ownership of the property saw him serve 10 years of a life sentence in prison – six of these were spent in maximum security.