Source: The Road to Lightning Ridge
(Or, A tale of Two National Parks.) I consider the National Parks of Australia to be my second home, a place where you can’t see the air you breath, nor see the concrete for the trees. As my …
Source: Girraween and Basket Swamp
Nimbin at a glance. In the hills behind Byron lies the sleepy little town of Nimbin, where hash resin replaces the sleep in the locals eyes. It takes a bit over an hour to get there from Mullumbimb…
This is less of a blog post and more spruicking a new blog I’ve started, full of my travel adventures through Austrlia. My first tale is about Mullumbimby, synonymous with the hippy movement in Australia that, a beautiful and funny little town near the Northern New South Wales border. Read about the town and then share on the adventures of my latest journey there. read more here (Opens in a new tab)
More posts will follow in the lead up to my big Uluru trip in September. Come and have a laugh with an old fart as he explores this amazing country.
Well it’s Australia Day again, and along with the Aussie flag eskys, thongs and towels, comes the controversy about the date and what that date represents to the indigenous population of Australia. I keep reading rabid posts on social media from people telling the nation’s first people to “Get over it,” and I can no longer sit back and ignore that kind of lack of understanding. There are lot’s of arguments that can be used, but I’d like to share with you my own understanding of the issue, limited as it is by my whitefella privilege.
Imagine for a moment that you’re sitting in your family home one day and there’s a home invasion. People burst through your door, kill most of your family and throw you out of your home and off your land. You try to fight back but they are better armed than you and so you find yourself dispossessed, a virtual foreigner in your own land. Also, all your relatives and friends suffer the same fate.
Over time, laws are written to say you never lived there and that you don’t count as a human being with basic human rights. You are stripped of any right to speak up or have a voice in how you are treated or to demand justice.
Then, one day the people who took your homes and murdered your family and friends say, “You know what? We never had a housewarming party.” All those people and their children think this is a great idea and they all celebrate the homes they stole, but for the next few decades they mark the occasion on different dates*. It’s such a success they decide to hold these housewarming parties every year. This goes on for years and years until several generations later, someone says, “Hey why don’t we all hold these housewarming parties on the same day? And let’s celebrate them on the date we moved in.”**
So now, every year on that day, the descendants of the people who took your homes and murdered your families and friends, hold a party.
Would it tick you off? Would you cry out at the injustice? Could you, “Just get over it”? Now to add a little perspective, this wasn’t just your family home and land, this was the place were your ancestors since time immemorial had lived. The murder didn’t only happen on that date, but continued for decades and decades, as more of your relatives were poisoned, shot and imprisoned. Add to that the fact, your relatives and you yourself are still imprisoned at a much higher rate than your oppressors. On top of that, it was only recently they even acknowledged begrudgingly that, yes, you did used to live there.
Tell me. Could you just get over it?
Notes for those who claim it’s a long standing Australian tradition and it would be “unAustralian” to change the date.
* The name Australia Day wasn’t universally accepted until 1935
** It wasn’t until 1994 that the date 26th of January was declared a national public holiday.
It was the night of the Supermoon, when Luna is at its perigee, and my wife and I went out to stroll through the bush in the moonlight.
We parked the car in the industrial estate a couple of kilometres from our house and set off to get some peace and perspective about life. In that blue monochrome world, under the full moon light, we strolled the concrete path that ran beneath the melaleuca and eucalypts. As we walked, I explained how this was one of the last green strips in the area.
In the nearly 20 years I’ve lived in Queensland, I’ve watch the greenspace vanish, bulldozed to make room for housing development or light industry. Our local councils have worked hard turning the green bits on the map brown, while out here in the real world we watch all these little pockets of wildlife and bushland vanish.
In our haste and our greed, we are ripping out the lungs of the world, and if we don’t stop, we will all choke on our fetid dying-breath. But there is hope, I’ve seen it once or twice. Like the people who are willing to replant native trees, remove weeds and restore greenspace to some of its former glory. These people deserve to be paid, yet they receive no fanfare, they just get on with making the world a better place.
Local governments see only dollar value when it comes to these last few remaining pockets of bush. The larger ones near my home are sealed off, one being a military firing range and a couple of others are Housing Dept. Land, earmarked to be sold off and bulldozed like all the rest at sometime in the near future.
When I moved to my current address, there were farms and large stretches of green where I could walk and think and attempt to retain my sanity. I would be dead if not for those little parcels of nature.
In that monochrome world of last night, under the light of the moon, I clung to that little patch of green between the industrial park and the main road and breathed a little easier.
When the Supermoon comes around again in 2034 I wonder what it will see. Will we have changed, or will we have turned the planet into a carpark as we fight each other to steal the last of the oil. We stand at a crossroads, every single day. At each new decision we help or harm each other and the world in which we live. Talk to each other. Share each others dreams, and fight for what makes the world a better place for everyone.