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Tue - March 29, 2011

Uluru Handover Ceremony, 1985

This is the second account in the Desert Star, of my attendance at the 1985 handover (or should that be hand-back) of Uluru to its traditional owners. The accounts were written at different times, the previous version being written closer to the actual event. There seemed to be no point in having this version sitting in my computer unread. There is a link to the photographs I took on the day.

Posted at 10:45 AM     Read More  

Tue - April 28, 2009

Lake Mungo

Sometime in the late seventies or early eighties, I saw a television program about the discovery of some human remains, revealed by a relentless desert wind blowing over ancient sand dunes fringing a lake which had last seen water some 15,000 years ago. These remains, dubbed 'Mungo Man' (although it proved to be woman's bones), had been cremated some 30,000 years ago, and are claimed to be the most ancient ceremonial burial ever discovered. The later discovery of a man's remains, coated in red ochre, confirmed the importance of the region, which, with the whole string of lakes stretching to the north, has now been designated a World Heritage Site. My first visit was in 1991, and my second was just last week, in mid-April 2009.

Posted at 12:25 AM     Read More  

Thu - September 21, 2006

History of the Western Desert Art Movement

In 1971, a young school teacher named Geoff Bardon arrived at a remote Government settlement north-west of Alice Springs, called Papunya. Papunya was established to enable government agencies to provide essential services to various language groups of Aboriginal people, increasingly dispossessed by the incursion of white invasion, and struggling to maintain the hunter-gatherer way of life they had pursued for some 50,000 years.

Posted at 04:22 PM     Read More  

Bush Tucker

Some writings I recently found of some early experiences in the desert are contained in this entry. This was a memorable day out in the bush with the Yuelamu mob.

Posted at 04:19 PM     Read More  

Uluru Handover

I recently came across these short esays written soon after the hand over of Uluru in 1985. An interesting contrast to the version I wrote recently, read here in my Aboriginal Culture blog category.

Posted at 04:18 PM     Read More  

The Trial of Lindy Chamberlain

This essay was written in the 1980's, after Lindy Chamberlain had been jailed for the murder of her infant daughter, Azaria, who had been taken by a dingo at Uluru (Ayers Rock). It seeks to expose the ridiculous logic which conspired to put an innocent mother in jail.

Posted at 04:17 PM     Read More  

Collet Barker

The Mount Barker township, region and mountain, on the south eastern outskirts of the Mount Lofty ranges, was named by Captain Charles Sturt, after Captain Collet Barker, of the 39th Regiment (Barker's compatriot and friend Captain Charles Sturt was a fellow officer). Barker was speared to death by three Ngarrindjerri men near the mouth of the Murray River on 30th April, 1831.

Posted at 04:15 PM     Read More  

The Peramangk

The Peramangk were the mysterious dwellers of the Mount Lofty Ranges prior to the white occupation of South Australia in 1836. Twenty years after the Mount Barker region was settled, they had disappeared.

Posted at 04:14 PM     Read More  

Terra Nullius: the lie of the land

Australia is fighting not only the most stupid and manipulative war in history in Iraq, but has its own internal war going on, known as the history war. In this war, eminent scholars who choose to face the sordid past of white settlement in scholarship and books are attacked, lest the displaced Aboriginal people receive some sympathy for their plight. The latest effort seeks to tell me, who was told about terra nullius throughout my school years in the 50's and 60's, that it didn't happen, and that terra nullius was invented by radicals in the 1970's to further the fight for land rights. The strategy seems to be that old reliable one of if you tell a lie, tell a big one and tell it often. Of course, all of these rewrites of history have the old "I'm not a racist, but.........." tone to them.

Posted at 04:13 PM     Read More  

Charles Sturt's Journey down the Murray

Captain Charles Sturt, of the 39th Regiment based in N.S.W. was the next officially sanctioned explorer to venture into the unknown of Southern Australia. His party of soldiers and convicts, after setting out from Sydney on 3rd November 1829 with a dray and horses to explore the interior to the west, took to the major river, previously discovered, called the Murrumbidgee.

Posted at 04:10 PM     Read More  

Uluru Handover Ceremony

In 1985, a decision was made by the Hawke Labor Government to return Uluru, previously known as Ayers Rock, to the traditional owners, the Pitjantjatjara and Yankunytjatjara people. I was fortunate enough to be there on that day.

Posted at 04:08 PM     Read More  
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