Mystic Edge


Mystic Edge is a text-based sculptural work of welcome located at Scarborough Beach, Perth, Western Australia.


It is remarkable for presenting a significant Nyungar text in a public art context. It is also unique because the ‘Welcome to Country’ inscribed into the sculptural edge and into the ground surfaces were authored by a non-Aboriginal artist (Paul Carter) and endorsed by an Aboriginal Elder and co-artist (Neville Collard). Carter and Collard collaborated on the translation of the English into Nyungar.

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Like other works by Material Thinking, Mystic Edge was an artistic response to a ‘creative template’: the Metropolitan Redevelopment Authority had commissioned Material Thinking to prepare a ‘creative template’ for the Scarborough Beach Redevelopment. Two of its place-making stories, in particular coalesced in the design of Mystic Edge. One was the meaning attributed to the Nyungar word waullu - this word has the double sense of meeting and parting: like the interval between lightness and darkness, it signifies both coming together and moving apart – and the other was the meaning attributed to the surfing phrase ‘mysto edge,’ referring to a surf spot that breaks on a far away reef and that can never be reached.

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Mystic Edge was conceived as part of a constellation of ‘Welcome’ works interpreting Nyungar protocols of access to country. In particular, the spatial distribution of its parts is influenced by the organization of the ground plane devised by landscape architects Taylor, Cullity, Lethlean and by the disposition of the five ‘episodes’ forming the Tjunta Interpretation Trail (in whose conception and design Material Thinking also participated).