Communities and Justice

Photographer – Tayla Martin

Andrew Whitehead b. 1958

Andew Whitehead an artist in his sculpture workshop
Andrew Whitehead b. 1958

Well-recognised sculpture artist, Andrew Whitehead, works at his property near Urana producing incredible artworks that have been shipped around Australia and internationally, with 12 public artworks on display across the country.

‘I began a mechanical apprenticeship at 40 years of age at the local shire where I worked for 10 years. That’s where I learnt to weld. I started going to the back shed and building things. I entered my first sculpture in the Farm Art Show in Lockhart, 10 years ago, where I won. I pretty much entered every year since then.’

Speaking with Andrew, he stated that his career has only just started, ‘I’m only about one-third of the way into my career.’

Francisco De-Costa b. 1955

 Franciso Da Costa in his kitchen cooking a fiery dish
Francisco De-Costa b. 1955

Franco is well known as a chef in Nyngan and has lived an adventurous life.

When the civil war erupted in Mozambique in the late 1970s, Franco left his country, moving to Portugal. Growing up, Franco was part of Boy Scouts, where he developed his love for cooking – always cooking for his group. When asking Franco what he enjoyed to cook most he said, ‘I like to cook spicy food for myself, but I enjoy to cook whatever people want.’

Throughout his career, Franco has cooked aboard the QE2 and the Southern Crown Cruises, travelling all over the world. While living a hectic life in London for five years, Franco and his wife Teresa decided to move to Sydney in 1989 for a better lifestyle.

After working in various kitchens they decided to relocate to the small community of Nyngan in regional NSW. Franco was offered the head chef position at the Outback Motel in 2006. ‘We moved to Nyngan as we wanted a quieter lifestyle and place to raise the children. It’s a friendly town and community.’

Hayley Hills b. 1955

Hayley Hillis at her art workbench cutting up paper
Hayley Hills b. 1955

I met Hayley Hillis when she began teaching me at university as a photography and art lecturer.

When sitting down with Wagga artist Hayley, I found out she has surely done it all. ‘I’ve done everything: jeweller, nurse, yoga teacher on a cruise ship, matchmaker, the list goes on. I’ve also moved house over 40 times,’ the most recent being when she was evacuated from her house during the North Wagga floods in 2012.

Most of Hayley’s and her partner Allan’s belongings were destroyed in the flood. At the time, Hayley was studying her Master of Arts Practice in Photomedia, and while she managed to save what she could of her work, she also lost a lot during the flood.

Peter Driscoll b. 1935

Peter patting his kelpie
Peter Driscoll b. 1935

Pete has just recently moved off his property in Urana. He lived there from 1973. It is where he and his wife, Moy, raised their family. He was born into farming and for over40 years loved working the land, navigating the seasons, good and bad, and living the lifestyle of a farmer with his family.

Now in his 80's, Pete says, “I don’t let getting older stop me, I just keep doing what I’m doing. It’s going to happen regardless.”


Tayla Martin

Tayla Martin (b. 1995), is passionate about the role that art plays in sustaining regional communities. Photo-media artist Martin graduated with a Bachelor of Photography and Graphic Design from Charles Sturt University in 2017. Martin was then selected as a student finalist in the Sony World Photography Awards exhibiting at Somerset House London, as well as finalist in the William and Winifred Bowness Photography Prize. Martin received a Create NSW Young Regional Artist Scholarship, where she has continued developing her photographic practice about the rural community Nyngan, where she grew up.

Last updated:

14 Oct 2022