Roderick was born in the Presbyterian Mission of Aurukun. He went to the local Aurukun school which was, in those days, a boys and girls dormitory. When he was a young man Roderick worked in labouring jobs around Queensland.
Carving has always been a part of Roderick’s life; he learnt the skills of carving as he watched his elders make sacred carvings for ceremonies. Roderick first started making his own carvings in the early 1990’s and was one of the artists selected to work with Urban Art Project “Old Way – New Way” project, reworking the traditional ceremonial sculptures into bronze and aluminium masterpieces.
“I was out there with the old people when they were carving. I sat there with old people and took notice. I see all the old people carving for the dance festival. Ready for the festival. They start teaching me. And painting it the proper way. The right paints on the carving. They told me to sit down. I sit down with those old people. They said: “Don’t just carve anything that doesn’t belong to you. Do your own totems: dog, brolga, mud shell.” And I start learn, bit by bit, each day every day. Then I knew what to do, what to carve what ochre paints to use.”
Totems: (Father) Brolga, dog, mud shell; (Mother) unknown.