There is a wonderful tapestry, one that has always intrigued me, to be found in Government House in Canberra and it is in the Great Hall. It is a backdrop to the Grandest of reception rooms and while it is one that I love, I never imagined that I would find such a beautiful landscape. I imagined it drawn from the artists mind, an interpretation of a landscape that is instantly recognizable by any Aussie who is familiar with the Australian bush.
The concept of the Dreamtime is often for some a difficult concept to understand. Dreaming, that wonderful state between reality and fantasy is a place most of us know and enjoy, but the Dreamtime is a place very different. Some would affiliate it with the concept of heaven and hell when arriving at a perception of what manner of place the Dreamtime is.
The Dreamtime is a combined state of both heaven and hell, indeed the only separations made between heaven and hell are those made within the tenets of the religions scattered around the world, which is a recent development given the timeline of man.
I chose this heading pic because it has to be said that if you stand too close to the serpent, you are bound to get burnt. So what has the serpent have to do with Religion, or even Lore?
That question always amazes me and it can be simply explained to many in pointing out that there were four people in the Garden of Eden, the place where it all began in many religions. There was Adam and Eve or Man and Woman by another name, these two characters or their progeny are the two entities that most religions are singularly focused on. There was God or he who was/is the ‘superhuman’ figure or the creator (generally of some human form) and who is generally considered to be largely unreachable unless through an intermediary ie a church or prophet (or sons of God) etc and then … there was the Serpent.
I would like to share it with you now… enjoy.
An Australian Poem
Two-Fellow Level ‘gether
Missus boy and my little boy two fellow grow up ‘gether
Level play in mud all day longa the rainy weather;
Two-fellow chase em dog all-time, fight and climb em tree,
Listen hard when my man tell stories longa to we.
That little white kid him likem me, properly nice one boy,
My old man go bush all day, cut em out boomerang toy;
Two-fellow play-play all the day, one fellow black one white,
Two fellow same when play at game, two-fellow level fight.
And my old man him say to me, ‘must be someone mad,
Whitefellow think him all time good, blackfellow all time bad;
But kiddie him no more think that way, two-fellow level play,
Whitefellow talk-talk one-fellow God, two-fellowlevel pray.
‘Blackfellow all day help ‘em white, somebody must be fool.
Whitefellow boy go different kind whenever him go to school;
“Can’t understand,” my old man say, “somewhere somebody mad.”
But I no more listen, me only see, two kid happy and glad.
So I talk, ‘old man, listen here, no more growl-growl white,
All-about must live him way, which one say him right?’
Kiddie him play-play every day, kiddie him no more fool.
Two-fellow level understand when two-fellow level school.
Drawn from ‘Tales From the Aborigines’
By Bill Harney (1895-1962) – First edition Oct 1959
It is no wonder to me that our kids do not know our own history in Aus. I have spent the last few days examining just what our vegemiters are taught of our national history at school and further down is a breakdown in case you yourself are wondering. The data presented here is collected from Queensland but can be applied as an example across our country.
It is little wonder to me that we are now dealing with endemic racism and gross misunderstanding and ignorance about who we are and how we got here. Most believe we were English crim’s who having arrived in a convict boat with a couple of the landed gentry, hopped off in old Sydney town to a land full of roos, sheep and ockerisms to be greeted by Aboriginal savages and there we started the fighting. This is a load of crock! Having received such a strong response to my recent post Just Who are Aussies I have consistently heard of how history as a subject is failing to inform Australians about ourselves, and our national heritage and history.
I sincerely believe that if we were taught something of our rich and varied experience as a colony and a nation, we would not be dealing with the racial dissention we are now seeing, this about WHO Australians are and just where we each belong in our world.
The RACISM I see everywhere, sticking its head up like a ferret out of a nest to be shot at by others is truly disturbing. We need to understand WHO we are and how we got here to truly appreciate our diversity with due respect.
Our kids spend a small part of Year 5 learning about our Colonial History, that which forms the basis for our self-awareness as a nation and valued individuals and I sincerely think that this is grossly inadequate. While the topics relevant to our self-awareness are so blatantly absent from the curriculum, or are barely mentioned if addressed at all, our children will lack in self-awareness and due respect in their varied heritages.
The question of Australia as a race of people is an interesting one. Just what makes up Australia as a race? Many would say Aboriginal Australia is the only race in Aus that could qualify as an Australian race and I would disagree. It comes down to just what makes the term Aboriginal relevant. What is an Australian Aboriginal?
The pic I have used in this article here is of an Aboriginal child. I know for a fact that this child is Aboriginal, in fact her Grandmother is a Traditional Owner and her full siblings are more Aboriginal in features as well as fact.
We are not talking traditional Aboriginal tribal people, very, very few of these people exist if they exist at all in today’s world and if they do exist … why would they join us? Anthropologists will tell you that the traditional tribal Aboriginal race ceased to exist in its purest form in the 1930’s. Today there are near half a million people who see themselves as Aboriginal and many more who can claim aboriginal descent but also have what is largely a convict ancestry from the Colonial Australian era.
We recently had one of the more humorous experiences we have ever come up against in our lives in regards to skin colour. It was a question of race, or more appropriately one of skin colour. Racial identity has become a very blurred issue since the arrival of the interactive global community and this particularly in Australia where we have something of a melting pot.
Australia has always been part of Asia, no one just moved the place here… the land has always been here and despite being a country where our natural skin colour should be brown-black, we are governed by what is seen as a largely white skinned democracy. This statement in itself blurs the lines of reality. It is a theology rather than a fact. Parliament is supposed to be dominated by our representatives even if it would seem women don’t live in Australia anymore if you go by the number count.
Does the question of race really exist anymore? No doubt for some trapped in an economic socio-merry-go-round it seems to. But in the broader view, is it at all really relevant?
But first, let me recount what happened so you can understand where I am coming from.