The story behind the dress

The Uluru dress was designed and made by Yaneira Velasquez. At the last minute, I had to step in to model the dress in a fashion shoot. I’m not a model, so I felt very self-conscious. However, by the end of the shoot, I didn’t want to take it off.

I really connected with this dress. It’s so beautiful, powerful and such a representation of the beauty of Australia as well as being a celebration of our Indigenous culture. I think this dress has a little bit of magic weaved into it as it certainly stirred something in my soul.

Here is the story behind the dress in words of the amazing designer Yaneira Velasquez:

The passion and inspiration for Uluru Dress is Australia.This dress is an opening, a glimmer, a reflection of layered land. Uluru Dress exposes our amazing culture, talent and versatility to an expectant world of fashion. With love I strive to sew together Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australian the two Australians into one beautiful and whole garment.

I wish to bring this gift to my external vision, to my adopted home. Through its nature and architecture, art and story I wish to open up our unique Australian spirit to the “Material World”. I love this country very much and that is why Australia is my inspiration.

  • Creator and designer of Uluru dress: Yaneira Velasquez
  • Indigenous Artist: Peter Muraay Djeripi Mulcahy
  • Model: Juliette Knox
  • Photographer: Sam Walker
Paul House with gum leaves and smoke
Paul Girrawah House

Paul Girrawah House has multiple First Nation ancestries from the South-East Canberra region, including the Ngambri-Ngurmal (Walgalu), Pajong (Gundungurra), Wallabollooa (Ngunnawal) and Erambie/Brungle (Wiradyuri) family groups.

Paul acknowledges his diverse First Nation history, he particularly identifies as a descendant of Onyong aka Jindoomang from Weereewaa (Lake George) and Henry ‘Black Harry’ Williams from Namadgi who were both multilingual, essentially Walgalu-Ngunnawal-Wiradjuri speaking warriors and Ngunnawal–Wallaballooa man William Lane aka ‘Billy the Bull’ - Murrjinille.

Paul was born at the old Canberra hospital in the centre of his ancestral country and strongly acknowledges his First Nation matriarch ancestors, in particular his mother Dr Aunty Matilda House-Williams and grandmother, Ms Pearl Simpson-Wedge.

Paul completed a Bachelor of Community Management from Macquarie University, and Graduate Certificate in Wiradjuri Language, Culture and Heritage and Management from CSU.

Paul provided the Welcome to Country for the 47th Opening of Federal Parliament in 2022. Paul is Board Director, Ngambri Local Aboriginal Land Council, Member Indigenous Reference Group, National Museum of Australia and Australian Government Voice Referendum Engagement Group.  

Paul works on country with the ANU, First Nations Portfolio as a Senior Community Engagement Officer

Acknowledgement of Country

Reconciliation Australia acknowledges Traditional Owners of Country throughout Australia and recognises the continuing  connection to lands, waters and communities. We pay our respect to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures; and to Elders past and present. 

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples should be aware that this website contains images or names of people who have passed away.

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