Beyond the Walls 2022 – Message Sticks

« Back to Beyond the Walls 2022
Message stick


Message Sticks:

These days, passing on a message is as simple as sending a DM or making a call, – however, this of course wasn’t the case for the First Nation’s Ancestors.

In their traditional culture, the Ancestors could communicate across the vastness of this Country, without a smartphone or modern technology. There is significant importance of the message stick in First Nation’s culture.

Crafted by local wood, and easy to carry – were carved, incised, and painted with symbols to convey messages and information. They were used to share information across all the different nations, mobs, dialects, and language groups.


Message sticks

Phunktional’s Message Stick Background:

Phunktional has been working closely with the young people in Reiby (Dharug country) and Frank Baxter (Darkiinjung country) Youth Justice Centre. The project has seen the young people create and choreograph 11 different and unique dance pieces with seven professional dancers.

Each centre was presented with a traditional message stick for the young people to add their symbols, artwork and stories which would be then presented by local Elder to the Centre’s for keepsake as a reminder of the positive and cultural journey they have embarked on throughout the Beyond the Walls project.

Digital Message Stick:

Phunktional has put a modern twist and addition on passing on delivering messages for the purpose of the Beyond the Walls production. Welcome to our digital message stick platform.

Here we have the digital messages from community members, cast, family, and audience members who attended the 2022 Beyond the Walls production show.

A wonderful platform to share memories, reactions, responses, reviews and positive messages to the young people about their creative and cultural stories developed and created with Phunktional, the young people in Reiby and Frank Baxter Youth Justice Centre and supported by NSW Government.

Need help or support? See our phone guide on mental health, violence & assault services.


Matana NSW Government

Leave a comment for the choreographers


  1. DEADLY Everyone has done such great work to create powerful stories and messages for people to carry in their hearts and mind forever. The messages, creativity and talent by all involved in this project is awesome and inspiring! Thank you for the great gift to society. All of you have opened the door of success and opportunity to go further and achieve even more success, so always believe in yourselves positively and keep your dreams and ambitions alive. Would love to see more of this again in the future and on social media. All the best from peoples of Ngunnawal and Wiradjuri mobs.

  2. Jeff Meiners

    Really enjoyed everyone’s performance in the show at SDC. The stories were communicated clearly through impressive collaboration and evident teamwork. Each performer’s personal and authentic movement skills, creativity and styles shine through. I hope you’ll all continue!

  3. A beautiful way to bring light to such important stories, those of our young First Nations children. So courageous of them all to share their stories and have them showcased on stage. Very moved by the performances! A great display of unique creativity, sharing stories through movement and song. Needs a bigger stage to reach more people. A very important message to share! Loved it!

  4. Sharon Stockwell

    Thank you for sharing your creativity with us. It was very clever how you brought multiple ideas together to connect with your audience and impart powerful messages. You engaged my emotions and I felt wonderful watching your performances tonight. Thank you – You can be very proud of what you have achieved! All the very best and I hope you continue with this work

  5. Kalkani Choolburra

    This production was absolutely amazing!

    I love the fact that this production gave our young people inside a voice and showcased the amazing talent we have being the oldest storytellers on earth.

    I’m so proud of you all!!

  6. Frankie (age 10)

    Your show was so moving and all the dancers are so talented I wish you all the best of luck in the future you are all very creative keep it up! Hope you all have a merry Christmas

  7. Texas Bishop

    I liked the creepy masked ones ❤️✌️‍♀️‍♀️

  8. You all did a deadly job and should be so incredibly proud of your achievements. Know you’re all talented and have a bright future ahead!

  9. So thankful I was able to watch this amazing performance. Absolutely amazing, congratulations. Brought me to tears more than once. Big love to you all x

  10. Herb Robertson

    Fantastic work straight from the heart I received all your message sticks

  11. Timothy Gray

    The show as a whole was so deadly, you mob at Frank Baxter and Reiby should be so proud of yourselves. I was getting flashbacks of being in juvenile detention and I got teary when your messages were played but thank you for sharing stories and expressing yourselves.

  12. Joshua Toole

    Deadly my little brothers, I’m from Bourke and work in Sydney. I was lucky enough to see your work. When you fullas get out make sure you stick at it with deadly work like this or whatever you want, look what happens when you put your minds to something, so powerful unk.
    Proud of ya brothers.

  13. Thankyou for a truly humbling and moving performance. Looking forward to hearing more about your journey forward. Well done guys. x

  14. Absolutely loved the production. It was awesome to see such a diverse range of performances, all of which celebrated culture in their own way.

    The choreographers (and dancers and producers) are clearly incredibly talented. Well done to all!

  15. Amy Johnson

    Such an amazing and inspiring piece showcasing young peoples voices through the power of dance! Congrats to everyone involved, keep doing deadly things like this for mob.

  16. Thank you so much for the privilege of witnessing your incredible stories and creative voices. So powerful and moving, and cannot believe you put it all together in just two weeks! You are capable of all that you dream of. Keep going, believe yourselves and remember the support of your loved ones and all of us who’ve connected with your stories. Thank you again so very much and look after yourselves! Excited for what’s ahead of you in your future and all the impact you will have through your lives!!!

  17. Thank you for sharing this amazing story. I was enthralled and moved. The grace, courage, skill and style of the work will stay with us.

  18. Thank you so much for sharing your stories with us. It was humbling to contemplate your experiences and important to feel your presence.

  19. Peta’Lee Mumford

    …I had goosebumps!!!
    The talent, expression, movement, stories and videography was just so captivating and breath taking! I feel so honoured to have been part of this creation. Thankyou so much for sharing and please keep dancing to express your voices!!

  20. Fefe Morrison

    Wow – I was transformed to another place and space! Mesmerizing performances. I love the collaborations and also the work that was performed by the young men from Baxter.

    A real testament to the unwavering power of creativity to shine through all circumstances.

    Many thanks

  21. Carol Spittles

    I loved the performance at naughty noodle Haus. The dancing was superb, the dancers were dynamic and inspiring. I loved that culture was the central theme of each composition and that it bought audience and dancers together in an emotional bond. What a fantastic program. So great to see these young people have a chance to express themselves in such a powerful way. Well done to all who assisted them in the journey

  22. Thank you for such awesome and inspiring pieces. The costumes the story the choreography. The films. Just beautiful.

  23. Debra Coulson

    So inspiring! Powerful and heartfelt story telling. Thank you for sharing your deadly talent and stories

  24. Katherine

    What an extraordinary dance series.. moving and outstanding choreography and passion and energy
    First rate .. the story telling in dance and to the audience was so inclusive and informative
    Wow !!!

  25. Jessica Thomson

    The performance was deadly, i cried when everyone was stripped to their greens the song choices were so powerful, I would definitely say that the creators should become youth leaders in the community when they come home. I really believe they can help create change.

  26. Joyce Lingat

    That was an awesome show!! I feel privileged to have witnessed such a wonderful performance.