I walk on Aboriginal land. In the city, it can be hard to remember this. But I try to remember, beneath my feet is the land of the Cadigal people. I grew up walking on Wiradjuri land. I didn’t know who owned the land then, I thought we did. Since that time, I’ve had the lands of many nations beneath my feet. I try and always find out whose land it is, but it is sometimes surprisingly difficult. Yuin land.
Darug and Gundungurra land.
As I look through the photos I selected for this post, I notice a theme. In several of them, the actual surface of the earth is obscured or dominated by objects, materials and even plants introduced since European colonisation.
This sculpture by Adelaide artist Louise Haselton also captures that theme. It illustrates why the English colonists defined Australia as ‘Terra Nullius’ (uninhabited land). They were dazzled by a vision of this continent’s natural wealth, so they chose not to see its people.
I noticed, too, that in some of the photos I chose, there’s a sense of decay or destruction — dead leaves, a broken lobster carcass. Do these images signify the damage and loss caused by the theft of Aboriginal lands? Or maybe they represent hope; that life goes on in spite of all.
See what’s beneath other bloggers’ feet here.