First Nations man Brett Leavy creates virtual worlds showing Australia before the arrival of Europeans

It’s a painstaking operation, but Brett Leavy hasn’t stopped “carving” for the last 25 years.

And during this time the goal has not changed.

WATCH THE VIDEO ABOVE: Virtual project shows life and country in Brisbane before arrival of Europeans.

Watch the latest news on channel 7 or stream for free 7plus >>

“The goal has always been to communicate cultural heritage,” Leavy told

Leavy, a Kooma man from Queensland, has made it his life’s work to create an “Indigenous metaverse”.

That is, a virtual representation of the Australian continent before the arrival of Europe.

Brett Leavy’s Virtual Songlines project depicts life in pre-colonial Brisbane. Credit: Bilbie Virtual Labs

As part of the unique Virtual Songlines project, Leavy leads a team that has now created depictions depicting First Nations life and lands in places such as Sydney, Brisbane, Melbourne, Newcastle, Townsville, Barcaldine and Uluru.

Although the project has a strong educational aspect, he said the idea originally arose as a “practical application of cultural heritage” during the application process for his people’s Native Title.

This heritage is usually presented in documents such as archaeological and anthropological reports and mapping.

Life before the arrival of Europe has been carefully recreated using digital techniques. Credit: Bilbie Virtual Labs

“I started thinking about how I could portray it better,” Leavy said.

“A lot of people have said, ‘Wow, that’s a great learning tool.'”

“Yes, but isn’t it a great recording tool? Isn’t it a great store of knowledge?

“I think so, so I want to work towards that.

“I want to build an interactive and immersive temporal and spatial culture mapping system.”

The project started as a way to show cultural heritage. Credit: Bilbie Virtual Labs

Leavy’s work has been exhibited in railway stations, museums and government buildings.

It’s a slow process, with about 75 percent of the build dedicated to research as it follows “cultural protocols, co-design and oversight,” while the programming and development aspects are meticulous.

But Leavy’s motivation — to “give substance” to the concept of First Nations sovereignty — remains.

“Where were our suburbs? Where were our supermarkets? Where were our dishes, our butchers, all these things that we have these days,” he said.

“They connect the past with the present and look to the future.”

What is National Reconciliation Week?

National Reconciliation Week is an annual event for Australians to celebrate and learn about First Nations history, culture and achievements.

The week takes place from May 27th to June 3rd.

In celebration of National Reconciliation Week, takes a look at the issues affecting First Nationals in Australia and their stories.

Mark Olive shows how to make a delicious, easy dinner using indigenous Aussie flavors

Mark Olive shows how to make a delicious, easy dinner using indigenous Aussie flavors

James Brien

James Brien is a 24ssports U.S. News Reporter based in London. His focus is on U.S. politics and the environment. He has covered climate change extensively, as well as healthcare and crime. James Brien joined 24ssports in 2021 from the Daily Express and previously worked for Chemist and Druggist and the Jewish Chronicle. He is a graduate of Cambridge University. Languages: English. You can get in touch with me by emailing:

Related Articles

Back to top button