These photos, taken by my father in the 1950s, show a landscape that I love.
Imagine my surprise when the last book I read in 2015, hard science fiction about interplanetary colonisation by British author Stephen Baxter, inadvertently slotted itself into the Indigenous Reading Challenge I set myself earlier in the year.
The book – Proxima – is not a perfect fit with the challenge because it is not by an Indigenous author, but one of the main characters is Aboriginal Australian.
– SPOILERS –
A big thank you to everyone who’s supported me so far on my Winter Readathon to raise money for the Indigenous Literacy Foundation.
I’m well over halfway to reaching my personal goal of $500, and the team as a whole is only $411 short of its $5,000 goal.
The Readathon finishes at the end of July, so it’s not too late to donate to this excellent cause.
Books I’ve finished reading:
The Swan Book, by Alexis Wright (my review here)
Poor Folk, by Theodore Dostoevsky
The Death of Bees, by Lisa O’Donnell
Wrong Turn at the Office of Unmade Lists, by Jane Rawson (my review on Goodreads)
Hadji Murad, by Leo Tolstoy (my review here)
The Carpet People, by Terry Pratchett
I’ve also been nominated to read:
Wild Cat Falling, by Mudrooroo
Heat and Light by Ellen van Neerven
Today I’ve officially run out of books because I’m waiting for the last two to arrive at the library and won’t get them till Tuesday at the earliest.
Help me out — nominate a book for me to read!
In her Boyer Lectures, Marcia Langton points out that many white Australians haven’t really got to grips with the reality that Aboriginal people can be middle class. Instead they cling to a particular stereotype of Australia’s Indigenous population: very dark skinned, very poor and in need of help, either living isolated from modern society in remote areas, or begging on urban streets.
It’s a convenient stereotype, because it enables non-Aboriginal Australians to continue acting in racist and paternalistic ways towards Indigenous people, including denying them the right to self-determination and identity. Continue reading
Today is the anniversary of the British colonisation of Australia in 1788. On this day, after a voyage of roughly 8 months, 1,500 British ‘officers, crew, marines and their families, and convicts’ disembarked on shores inhabited by the Eora nation.
At great cost to the original inhabitants, the British established the colony of New South Wales, thus laying the foundation for a new nation, Australia, which was formalised by the federation of the various British settlements throughout the continent over 100 years later on 1 January 1901. Continue reading
Signs of change.
Signs with layers of meaning.
I pass these every time I drive down to my shared caravan on the South Coast, and I almost always see a dead kangaroo or wallaby on the side of the road. Occasionally I see a live one in the bush. I don’t think I’ve ever met, or even seen, an Aboriginal person around here, although they are the traditional owners of the land, and their words, perhaps the original place names, perhaps not, still mark the signs.
I know they’re still around, maybe they’re staying away from the holiday makers. I felt sad when I looked at the Aboriginal word. I wondered how many words and how much knowledge have been lost in this area. Is it a sign of recognition and acknowledgement, or of appropriation and loss?
It’s proving surprisingly difficult to find out much about the traditional owners, who were apparently people of the Dharawal-Dhurga language group — so far mostly un-referenced mentions on tourism sites — but I’ll keep looking.
SIgns of occupation.
Interestingly, the archeological record only shows occupation of this shelter for less than 2,000 years, although Aboriginal people have lived in Australia for more than 40,000 years — which I guess is a sign that no matter how long you live in a place, there are are always new things to be found.
Check out other people’s interpretations of signs for the wordpress challenge.