Gumbaynggirr elder Uncle Martin Ballangarry with his gift to Kempsey District Hospital

ART OF DIALYSIS: Uncle Martin Ballangarry with Hastings Macleay Renal Coordinator Trish Campbell, as well as, from left to right, Peta Vandermeys, Loretta Smith, Clinton Gibbs, KDH Renal Unit Nurse Manager Peta-Maree Butterfield, Benelong Carroll, Christine Drennan and Lois Sallustio
ART OF DIALYSIS: Uncle Martin Ballangarry with Hastings Macleay Renal Coordinator Trish Campbell, as well as, from left to right, Peta Vandermeys, Loretta Smith, Clinton Gibbs, KDH Renal Unit Nurse Manager Peta-Maree Butterfield, Benelong Carroll, Christine Drennan and Lois Sallustio

Proud Gumbaynggirr elder and Nambucca Shire councillor, Uncle Martin Ballangarry, has presented a very personal gift to Kempsey District Hospital - a painting that tells the story of a renal patient, his son, Benelong Carroll.

The traditional artwork will take pride of place in the hospital's Renal Unit and, in true Gumbaynggirr way, tells the story of country, family and Benelong's journey as an accomplished musician, dancer, singer and world-recognised didgeridoo performer.

The presentation took place in the Renal Unit where Benelong undergoes dialysis three days a week and was attended by the 42-year-old's daughter and grandson, as well as renal nurses and Aboriginal Health staff from Kempsey and Port Macquarie.

Hastings Macleay Renal Dialysis Coordinator Trish Campbell was delighted to accept the artwork on behalf of the renal team.

"This is such a beautiful gift and it is a privilege to accept this artwork on behalf of all who are, and will be, cared for by our dedicated team."

The painting tells the story of country - Bellbrook, South West Rocks and Bowraville, the home of Benelong's father's people, of Benelong's home and that of his mother's people.

The central circle represents Benelong's travels around the world as a sought-after Aboriginal dancer and singer, while the blue represents the river travelling to the sea, and the mullet that were a staple of his ancestors' diet under tribal practice.

Uncle Martin said he intended to add to the painting - the totems of Gumbaynggirr, Dunghutti and Birpai nations - just as Benelong's journey would also continue.

"The story of this painting tells a little of everything," Uncle Martin said.

"I am grateful for the care Ben has received from the hospital and appreciate everything they have done to keep him alive.

"Dialysis saved my son and now he has a grandson who has brought him back to life."

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