Indigenous Australia

I had little to offer in terms of indigenous perspective on the current bushfire situation but I thought you might be interested in the few stories I’d found. Then two more articles became available while I was still completing the post!

STOP PRESS: Just as I was proof-reading my post I noticed a tweet linking to a really relevant article in The Guardian Opinion, published a few hours ago:

For First Nations people the bushfires bring a particular grief, burning what makes us who we are

Our memories, our sacred places, we are losing what forever connects us to a place in the landscape. But we can help

By Lorena Allam who is descended from the Gamilaraay and Yawalaraay nations of north west NSW and is the Guardian’s Indigenous affairs editor.

South Australian woman Rose Fletcher took a photo on New Years Day of a smoky sunrise. ‘The rising sun was just a pale disc behind the layers of smoke over the Southern Ocean – and then, for just a few magic seconds, as it moved up through successively dense layers, it formed the Aboriginal flag.’ — as told to Daily Mail Australia in this article.

rising_sun_and_smoke_rose_fletcherRose Fletcher has given general permission for people to share her photo.

The Aboriginal Flag can be seen at this Australian Museum webpage. The following information is from the same page:

The flag was designed by Harold Joseph Thomas, a Luritja man from Central Australia.

The black symbolises Aboriginal people. The yellow represents the sun, the constant re-newer of life. Red depicts the earth and peoples’ relationship to the land. It also represents ochre, which is used by Aboriginal people in ceremonies.

A personal story is shared by Dr Danièle Hromek (Ph.D) on Twitter. Dr Hromek “is a Saltwater woman of the Budawang tribe of the Yuin nation, with French and Czech heritage”. This description is taken from her biography page at the University of Technology, Sydney.

Her story is told in a series of tweets which also include photos. Here is a screenshot of the first tweet for which I’ll give you a link and then you can scroll down to read the rest of the tweets.  Here is the link:  The Currowan story thread.


I’ve read a little bit about how the indigenous technique of cultural burning differs from the standard hazard reduction burning that’s carried out in the winter by the Rural Fire Service. Here is a very interesting and informative bushfire story.

Link:  ‘It’s miraculous’:  Owners say cultural burning saved their property


And just this evening a tweet alerted me to a story of Alice Patten and her Aboriginal extended family on the South Coast, she has 17 people in her home many of whom are visiting from Sydney and Victoria. Food and fuel trucks can’t get through to the town and it’s not yet known when that’ll change.

Link to the story:  Bushfires Cut Off Food Supplies


Further Reading

Nigel suggested I recommend to you the book Dark Emu and Dr Danièle Hromek also described this book in a tweet as “wonderful”.

Here are three paragraphs about Dark Emu by Bruce Pascoe, selected from an article in The Guardian.

“Bruce Pascoe’s groundbreaking Dark Emu was first published in 2014, and has been showing us different ways of seeing the country and its “truer history”, as Pascoe puts it, ever since.”

“Writing it, Pascoe says, required a big shift in his own thinking. While researching another book, Convincing Ground, about the 1834 massacre of between 60 and 200 Gundidj Mara people in Victoria, he kept reading colonial accounts of Aboriginal people farming: irrigating, harvesting, living and prospering in large villages.

“I had disbelief. I’d read the record and kept thinking to myself, ‘surely that can’t be right’,” Pascoe says. “An observation of that importance couldn’t have gone straight through to the keeper without anyone in education or politics or history remarking on it, but that’s what happened.”

From the Wikipedia article about Bruce Pascoe:  He acknowledges his Cornish and European colonial ancestry as well as his love of “the broader Australian culture”, but says that he feels Aboriginal, saying “It doesn’t matter about the colour of your skin, it’s about how deeply embedded you are in the culture. It’s the pulse of my life”.

Can’t resist a happy koala story  LINK:   Koala rescue story (short video)


Posted by Liz; Exploring Colour (2020)

16 thoughts on “Indigenous Australia

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  1. Another excellent summary of the huge tragedy that the rampant bushfires are for First Australians. My son has Bruce Pascoe’s book and he has loaned it to me so that I can read it this summer. There is a version of Mr Pascoe’s book for children, “Young Dark Emu” that your readers might also be interested in.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for mentioning Mr Pascoe’s book for children and I’d also like to try and make time to read Dark Emu. Must make an effort to get it from the library.


    1. Very hard. It’s shocking to see what’s been predicted actually happening, and so close to home. I’ve actually seen a warning to people who’re on rainwater down south here in NZ, to be aware of possible contamination from the pollution that’s come across from Australia!

      Liked by 1 person

    1. That means a lot to me, and thank you. I’ll tell you why. I’ve just been reading an article with the title “Global Apathy Toward The Australia Fires Is A Scary Portent”. Thank you.


      1. Liz, I cannot believe this is apathy because people do not care. If there is something like apathy, it must be because they feel there is nothing they can do to help. We are very aware in Sweden where I live, and worried, and concerned, and angry of people who do not acknowledge the climate changes. The leaders in Australia seem very little prepared. And continuing with the fossil coal…

        Liked by 1 person

        1. I think global awareness has vastly improved since the events at New Year. I’ve seen Aussie people on Twitter profusely thanking BBC for their reporting. I’ve never been able to understand the Aussie politics, media, and fossil fuels which all seem inextricably woven together but I’ve learned a lot recently. If you’re interested, this is my latest interesting read:


          1. Read it – a very frightening, but essential article. In fact, the old song about “Money makes the world go around” is what will be our downfall. Thank you for giving me the link.

            Liked by 1 person

  2. Valuable insight. Thank you. It strikes me how similar the Australian culture is to the American culture – both the good and the bad. The bad was reflected in a previous post of yours with the New York Times editorial. This one shows the good.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. What’s happening in Australia is horrific – hopefully by sharing awareness of it we can increase the demand for action. What else can we do? (Apart from trying to do what we can in our own areas because we affect the whole world with what we do…)

    Liked by 1 person

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