How Do I Know My 3 Year Old Has Pneumonia A Story About Aboriginal Identity

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A Story About Aboriginal Identity

My story begins as a descendant of the original inhabitants of Australia; I am Aboriginal, with a mixture of English and Dutch heritage. During my childhood and primary school years until the age of 8, I lived with my extended family in a place called “Blackman’s Point”. Like most eastern NSW state locations this was also a massacre site for Aboriginal forefathers and mothers which occurred during the settlement of the coastal town of Port Macquarie in the mid 1800s. “Blackman’s Point” is called “Goolawahl”. (Pronounce as gool-a-wall.) in Birripi culture.

The many rivers that flow from the mountains of the west and the Great Plunge Range to our coastal sea (Pacific Ocean) mostly have aboriginal “creation” stories attached to them. Just like the Western Australian/Northern Territory “Noongar” people and the South Australian “Pitjanjarra” have their own “dreamtime” culture and beliefs. So do the NSW, Queensland and Victorian Aboriginal genealogical families.

Australian Aboriginal people in NSW call themselves either “Goori”, “Boori” or “Murri” and refer to that way as opposed to the European version of “Koori”. The kinship we all shared in the 60’s was strong as I remember our rented old farmhouse at “Blackmans Point” had to endure (as did we) three major floods in 1963, 1964 and 1966.

Almost the entire town of Port Macquarie was under water at some point during those instances of summer when months of heavy rain caused masses of water from the mountains to flow down the Hastings River (Dhoongang) out to reach the sea just to be. pushed inland by the huge Royal tides of the Pacific Ocean.

It was during the 1964 flood (biggest on record for Port Macquarie) that our family lost sister Patricia when we were both hospitalized from the onset of double pneumonia. Patricia was one year old, I was 3 years old. After the floods of 1966 and until 1968 our extended families of cousins, sisters, brothers, uncles, aunts, mother, father, grandmothers, grandfathers had to leave the old farmhouses (they were two farmhouses separated by a bridge over a tributary; to the river), they suffered a lot of damage while the floods raged and no wooden structure could withstand land as they did any longer when the bridge was washed away, the roads were washed away, the cattle, the sheep, the farmers crops and every other living thing that did not have wings. Luckily uncle Trevor Rumbel (he was a licensed fisherman) had two boats to rescue us as the Hastings River poured in through the front door at 2am. The front door was raised 6 feet with a wooden step down to the creek. (tributary)

My sister Tanya was born in 1966 and Jo-anne was born in 1968, the Vietnam War was on TV and a small room for all of us children (there were 13 of us) to fit in front of the only black and white TV. set We had plenty of other activities swimming, fishing and tree climbing to do most of the time. After leaving Port Macquarie and extended family, Dad, Mum, Tanya, Jo-anne and I moved further north about 160 miles to the town of Evans Head. Yes, another important native place, of the “Bunjalung” people. Evans Head (Goanna Headland) is a mythological site from the “dream time”.

Corborea and ceremonies were performed on this headland (boring ground) to honor their Goanna spirit totem as well as increase the fish supplies with their Bungalung tribal songs. Evans Head today is as it was then a fishing town with fishing trawlers and recreational boats moored at the Fish Co-op along the Evans Head River.

Evans Head had large clay banks (used for ceremonial body painting). After leaving in 1969, we returned along the coast to Sawtell, which is 10 miles south of Coffs Harbor (a pioneer cedar lumber mill) with a major jetty built for the ships to transport the rich cedar to England and Europe. Starting 6th grade was in a town called “Woolgoolga” (pop currently 25000) about 15 miles north of Coffs Harbor (population 100,000) on the mid north coast of NSW. Woolgoolga, Sawtell and Coffs Harbor are towns located in “Gumbaynggir” or “Gumbangar” country. “Woolgoolga is a variant of the Gumbaynggir word for “Weilga” or native plum. My grandfather William “Goola” (koala) Holten (1923 -2002) would tell me that when disputes between tribes of the “Birripi” and neighboring “Dunghutti” (crow people) it happened that it was the Gumbaynggir who mediated in quarrels. Birripi and Dunghutti people have a long association with the Gumbaynggir. I also learned that the Birripi goanna spirit “Booral-men-den-di” (size of Boeing 767) caused sand to be placed high on top of “Yarrahapinni” Mountain (three koalas rolling down a hill – Gumbaynggir legend) while swinging its giant tail into the sandy loam to avoid the attacks of the giant “Haves” (Dhungutti). According “Dreamtime”. ” the Birripi giant goanna spewed fire at the giant crows (Dhungutti) and that is why all the crows are black today.

During the European settlement of Port Macquarie as a penal colony in the 1800s a great battle between Europeans and the combined Birripi, Dhungutti and Gumbaynggir people fought at “Goolawahl”. The story of the battle describes how the Hastings River turned red with the blood of the fallen.

My mum and sister stay in Woolgoolga and my sister Tanya, dad and grandma passed away there. After the Aboriginal Land Rights Act was passed in 1983 which empowered Aboriginal people to claim crown land for their community members in NSW, many great improvements in education, employment and self-determination for the Aboriginal people in NSW took place.

In 1993 the Court of Appeal of Australia overturned the doctrine of “terra nullius” that Australia was unoccupied when Europeans settled at Port Jackson (Sydney Harbour). Eddie Mabo an elder of the Meriam people claimed common law title to their island of Murri off the North Queensland coast and asserted common law rights through the Queensland Federal courts for 10 years that his people had unconquered ownership and occupation of their island and no government from Australia had better title to it than them.

Eddie Koiki Mabo (1936-1992) passed away before the decision was given by the Court of Appeal.

In 1997 the Native Title Act 1993 was almost reduced to water with the amendments realized by the Liberal Government of Australia and then Prime Minister Hon John Howard MP. The so-called 10-point “Wikiplan”

(Wik was the name of the Northern Territory, Gulf of Carpentaria tribe) who were faced with a scheme for them to be granted native title they should also agree to allow pastoral leases to coexist with their native title claim in the Gulf of Carpentaria Australia. Also the common law rights of all Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people claiming Aboriginal title were subject to the 10-point Wik Plan.

As planned by the “Wik” people:

(who spoke no English nor could understand a word) voted in favor of the proposed amendments to the 1993 Native Title Act to allow pastoral leases over tribal land to co-exist with Native Title holders and for the rest of Australia’s aboriginal race. prove Native Title in Federal Court for every application to claim Native Title rights.

I was informed (no names mentioned) that due to the interpreter (government appointed) supervision at the “Wik” conference 1997 it was sometime before the Wik representatives lowered their hands from the call to vote. Apparently the interpreter forgot to tell them to stop voting. (tongue in cheek)

Since 1993 ten native title claims have been determined.

As at 2000 561 claimants native title claims were lodged in Australia.

In 2000 63 claimant native title claims were submitted for the Northern Territory.

I have worked for and been a member of Aboriginal Land Council’s since 1992. I was elected Board Member of the Darkinjung Local Aboriginal Land Council, September 2009.

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