Proud Wiradjuri and Pacific Islander woman, Darby Ingram-Rauluni, has turned her creative outlet into a small business venture that celebrates her traditional language.

Her brand Hill Sixty started out as a blog of the same title. She began posting on the blog four years ago, using it as a space for creative self-expression and connection.

As her website’s readership and community grew, Ingram-Rauluni decided to funnel her creativity into making sustainable keepsakes from the heart.

“At first it was just family and friends that read and supported me, and it had always felt finite,” she said.

“As I started to navigate my first relationship, grief and general young adulthood, the sentiment toward what this meant to me grew and so did the community around it.”

Darby Ingram-Rauluni is the brains behind Hill Sixty. Photo via @hillsixtymade Instagram.

Her latest creations include tote bags and affirmation card decks, which feature Wiradjuri language and serve as a reminder to honour yourself and live slow.

“I’m currently selling small calico tote bags, that feature the definition or translation of the Wiradjuri word Yindyamarra on them,” said Ingram-Rauluni.

“I chose Yindyamarra because I feel close to the pace it encourages and the importance it places on respect. I want to live my life with this approach of nurturing and honouring.”

“I think that message is threaded throughout the blog, Instagram and now products. To respect and honour, not only those around you but your being for all that it is.”

The affirmation cards provide an opportunity to become mindful of the dialogue people have with themselves.

Ingram-Rauluni said the first drop of cards does not include Wiradjuri language, but her second deck, which is yet to be released, will be fully printed in Wiradjuri language.

“The [first] affirmation cards don’t feature any Wiradjuri language; however, I acknowledge my ancestors and the nuance of how I’ve been raised in the cards,” she said.

“This was a conscious decision, as the next product I’m working on is a set of cards that are completely in language with only a reference card for translations.

“I wanted the first few products that I sold to be true to the … Hill Sixty blog and the community that engages with it. A lot of my original blog posts are about navigating the relationship I have with myself and how hard that can be at times.”

The Yindyamarra tote. Photo supplied.

Ingram-Raulini said the total essence of both her blog and brand celebrates her ancestors. She said including language on her creations is an “act of hope and defiance”.

“The entirety of the blog … to the very name Hill Sixty, is an homage to my people,” she said.

“My family are incredible storytellers, oral historians and sophisticated communicators.

“My maternal family are First Nations people. The Wiradjuri nation are river people, we take care of the Wambool (Macquarie), the Calare (Lachlan) and the Murrumbidgee Rivers, which all run through Country,” she said.

“My family has connections to the Murrumbidgee, in a small town sitting alongside it; the Carrolls and Ingrams along with over 40 or so other Koori families set up home (many buying their land back) at what came to be known as ‘The Sandhills’,” Ingram-Rauluni said.

“This is where my grandparents grew up … We were fringe dwellers, excluded from community, but we were safe together.”

Ingram-Rauluni said The Sandhills read as ‘Hill 60’ on the small town of Narrandera’s map.

“I named my blog this, as they taught me the importance of storytelling and authenticity.”

The young creative’s tote bags and affirmation cards are a reminder for the Hill Sixty community to be true to themselves and “unapologetically take up space”.

The first deck of affirmation cards will be available for purchase from September 18.

To keep up to date with announcements and make purchases, head to the Hill Sixty Instagram here.

By Grace Crivellaro