08 Nov 2023

From Wiradjuri Country to The Rocks - Meet Shelby-Rae Kschenka

Discover Shelby-Rae Kschenka's handmade baubles, where heritage hangs on every branch

High above The Rocks, an extravagant seven-metre Christmas tree stands adorned with more than just baubles. The Rocks Christmas Tree’s wooden ornaments all carry a story, a piece of Wiradjuri Country, carefully hand-crafted by First Nations artist Shelby-Rae Kschenka. These aren't mere decorations; they're a celebration of the oldest continuous culture on earth, designed to captivate, educate, and inspire.

About her work

These lovingly handmade miniature artworks are the vision of Shelby-Rae, the force behind Marara Designs. Her Christmas baubles are a canvas for First Nations narratives. More than decorations, these are keepsakes of culture, each swirl and dot a homage to her Wiradjuri heritage, painted with soulful strokes on the canvas of culture and tradition.

“Yuwin Ngadhi Shelby-Rae – My name is Shelby Rae.”

The artist explains her name is a promise, a promise to her three boys, her community, and to you – the promise of a culture shared, celebrated, and continued.

The artist was born in Narrandera NSW, which she calls her home and safe space. “It’s the place I run to when I need to connect with my culture, put my feet in the grains of sand that sit on the banks of the Marrambidya (Murrumbidgee River), listen to the Murraany (cockatoos) squawking among the gumtrees and be with my mob.”

With each bauble, Shelby-Rae tells a story about these roots, offering a Christmas decoration with a soul, a spirit, a story.

This season the historic laneways of The Rocks have been transformed into Christmas Wonderlanes just waiting to be explored. Savour a feast for the senses as you stroll laneways brimming with festive soul and spirit. Art, culture, twinkling lights, delicious feasts and fun activities await.