Wednesday, March 2, 2011

unearthing homeland....


"If I was the prime mister I would make us all live like aborigine's". Such a grand statement for a ten year old, but when I was a child I wanted to be an aboriginal, because I thought that I would not truly belong to this land unless I was one. I knew it belonged to them even before I new who them was.

My childhood playground was on the side of a mountain where the old farming fence line was blurred as the bush merged over the falling down colonial barriers. The sand stone rocks, the caves, the eucalypts, the trickling creeks, the wallaby and kangaroo paths, the never ending bush was my backyard, was my adventure, my land. That was until I discovered that it belonged to others. Others who were apart of the land, that held stories of the land and survived entirely on this land. Others who had been here for ever.....

But the others had long gone from here...

I knew the stories of Bunjil the creator, I knew what you could eat in this bush around me, I knew I belonged in this bush around me, it held me, it was me, it defined me. My spirit was ingrained in its soil, my feet new how to fly barefoot across rocks, stumps, prickles and jumper ants, I lived for this land.

But I was not an aborigine ...

The first time I met or even encountered an aboriginal person was not until I was a  teenager when an aboriginal cultural centre was to be eventually built in the valley of these once indigenous occupied mountain ranges. Where there is over 100 rock art sites and a past that is profuse in aboriginal history as it was an abundant supply of food, shelter and gatherings for the tribes of this area.

I was delivered in the plains of this land and grew up in these encompassing mountains, with the three sides of the fence line bordering the thick national park bush. My parents were new hippies of sorts, both teachers, both labor voters, both rebelling in their own way from the confines of their own child hood. They sold the sports car for the land and and gave away careers in the city to build their self sufficient ideals of producing food, hobby farming goats, sheep, chooks, children the usual....

I had freedom to roam, to build, to make, to dream...when things upset me, the land held my escape. It brought relief, comfort and belonging. It made me safe, and never ever afraid. The balance for life was always here... for me.


As I explored this unique landscape I developed my own landmarks and own stories. To the front was a rocky steep lookout that had a winding creek at the base and a small shelter half way up where two slats of sandstone had come together to form a tent like cave. This was the founding base of my imaginings of living the life of an aborigine. Walking to the right and up towards another valley was a beautiful  hill covered in sparse trees and small rocks, I believed this was a giant turtle that had lay down to rest after traveling over the steep ranges. Heading back up to the left was the many winding animal trails that led into the gully to the south. Up to the steep range behind sat the pivotal sanctuary of seclusion.

"The rock" our personal lookout assessed by an old long misplaced fire line track that lead to the base of the bluff. It was a sheer, rocky, tough walk, short and demanding. To climb on to the rock was a delicate process of reaching, clasping, stretching and hoisting yourself up. But once up the exposed vulnerability and solitude was energized with freedom.  Stretching out on its platform you could watch the clouds waft by or the eagles sail to either one of the higher peaks on both sides without a thought of having anything but nature disturb your tranquility.

The aspect to the valley behind was alluring and deceptive as it drove your eye up to the immense range behind where it was a sight of robust splendor, so captivating it could possibly transfix you eternally. Outward to the northern and eastern lowlands the terrain extended till it became a hazy infinite whisper.

I thought it would be there forever....and it is... sort of, but a diverted walking trail now slides behind this rock and I know it was selfish to think it would be untouched by mainstream world and the feeling was of someone stomping over my sacred land....and then I realized that I had glimpsed for one nano second what it must of felt like to be an aboriginal person and still feels like.

I no longer want to be anyone but myself and I do know I belong to this land and I know I don't have the inherent knowledge of ancestry that ties me to this land. I do however have my own knowledge and it maybe like a fledgeling; young and immature but its my story. Its one that has traveled the earth and has stemmed from far away lands with their own magical narratives.  But I only know were I started from and deep with in me I tune with this earth and this place.

This is my homeland.



I am sorry to the indigenous people of this land, I am sorry that they were driven away, taken away and stolen away.
I'm sorry for your great loss and heartache. My heart aches for you and for me......



2 comments:

  1. Thanks JL for reminding of my bold statement xo

    ReplyDelete
  2. Beautiful, such a wonderful narrative.

    ReplyDelete