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Stories From The Dreaming

The news that BHP will “destroy at least 40 Aboriginal sites, up to 15,000 years old” is a modern-day tragedy.

Stories will be lost with the destruction of these sites. Each site, whether it contains ancient artwork or remains for the archaeologist to piece together, could hold dozens of stories.

Let’s talk about the artwork first

An Aboriginal elder once proudly said to me: “Our painting carries the spirituality of who we are.”

“How so?” you might ask.

Every aspect of Aboriginal culture was born in The Dreaming (discussed in more detail below), and this is reflected in the art, itself an expression of The Dreaming. But further, the art is an extension of how the Aboriginal people relate to their position in the world. As change swept across their culture with the arrival of Europeans, so too did the art, yet it still retained the thread of spirituality.

Art could be rock art, ground art, body paintings, bark paintings, weapon decorating, and the sculptures of Northern Australia. Works of art, whether they be painted on canvas or crafted in bronze, signed by a master or be of lazy scribbles, are all of one purpose: They capture a moment or a meaning and freeze it in time. Aboriginal art is different. Aboriginal art is holistic, as is “time” to the Aboriginal people.

To fully appreciate and interpret Aboriginal art one must have an understanding of the hand that creates it. This hand would belong to a person who lives by the law of The Dreaming; who knows that The Dreaming is as it was lived and that how it is still lived; and who knows that The Dreaming is an erasable map of the past, the present, and the future. The Dreaming is in the art, and art is an expression of ceremonial and religious life.

My old university lecturer said that the various art forms of Aboriginal society were attributed to The Dreaming. Ancestral Beings had painted the original design and the artist who painted on bark or drew in the sand was copying the designs inherited from the ancestors.

It is not hard to imagine that the Ancestral Beings watch over the artist at work, ensuring that the events of The Dreaming are perpetuated in today’s culture. That perhaps art itself is a religious activity. Or perhaps, too, that art is a visual language. In essence, that the permanence of Aboriginal life is ensured by the invoking of powerful forces through the symbolism of art. It reflects a concern with the questions of origin and purpose, as interpreted in The Dreaming.

Amid the changes that Aboriginal culture has contended with, the art has incorporated these changes while still retaining its spiritual message. Aboriginal art is as much alive today as it was 60,000 years ago. As in that ancient past, the art – significantly – is not easily separable from everyday life.

Photo by Peter Taylor

And what can archaeology tell us?

There are two views of knowledge into the past and origins of the First Australians: The Dreaming interpretation which is based on mythical knowledge; and the scientific interpretation which is dependent on archaeological evidence. The importance of The Dreaming interpretation is fundamental in Aboriginal cultures yet remains inconclusive to archaeologists.

Some Aboriginal elders have said they already know what happened in the past. Their knowledge is founded on traditional and mythical beliefs passed down through the generations. Beliefs that relate to their origins – their creation – and the living past. This mythology gave them an assurance that they had originated from their land in a period of creative activity (The Dreaming). These beliefs encompass wisdom, and they encompass law. And neither is challenged.

What is The Dreaming? The Dreaming is the creative acts of the ancestral spirit beings; creating species, features, laws and the bonding of relationships between humans and nature. The Dreaming is as it was lived, and how it is still lived. It is an erasable map of the past, present, and future.

All the laws rituals customs, and the purpose of life originated in The Dreaming, and it is important to re-iterate that this belief is not challenged.

Archaeology challenges this belief. What is archaeology? It is the study of ancient cultures through their material remains. Mainly through excavation of ancient sites archaeologists try to create a model of the lifestyles, religious beliefs, diets or any morsel of information about the culture being studies.

In 1969, erosion exposed the skeletal remains of a young Aboriginal lady at Lake Mungo, NSW. She is known as the Mungo Lady and her remains have been dated about 20,000 years before the present time. Excavation of the site offers archaeologists and interpretation of many of the facets of Mungo Lady’s society as well as facts about Mungo Lady herself. It is relevant to mention these (scientific) findings before discussing the Aboriginal (or The Dreaming) interpretation of Mungo Lady.

Science tells us the Mungo Lady was cremated and that her bones were placed in a bark cylinder for burial. She was gracile, that is, not of robust build. We are told that in her time Lake Mungo was water filled therefore she belonged to a lacustrine society. We are told that her people caught fish from the lake, and how they caught and cooked the fish. (The heavy grounding found on ancient teeth tell us that this is the result of constant chewing on reeds from which fishing nets were made, and the consistent size of fish ear bones found in ancient hearths tell us that the Lake Mungo people were conservationists in that they practised gillnet fishing.) Her people had a social order, were religious, and had implements to grind seeds. The list could go on.

Aboriginal interpretation of Mungo Lady was more concise (or perhaps more complex): She had been buried according to law, and that her appearance on the land surface was not a result of erosion, but rather she had emerged at a critical time in the history of her people to tell her story.

The origins of the first Australians are also interpreted differently by archaeologists and The Dreaming beliefs. Science tells us that during one of the ice age periods – most likely the one 60,000 years ago – sea levels were much lower than present, thus allowing migration through island hopping into Australia from the Asia region.

What is the Aboriginal interpretation? Again this is concise. During The Dreaming, spirit beings emerged from the water or the land and took (for our purpose) human form. These beings were the ancestors of all living beings, travelling over the earth performing the same activities that are still performed by the Aboriginal people today.  These creatures started human society and Aboriginal people believe in this.

Of the two views of knowledge, only The Dreaming interpretation is solid. Archaeology with its scientific and analytical approach has not provided enough evidence to support its theories. Their description of, say, the Mungo Lady, provides an informative narration of her lifestyle, yet her origins and most of her past remain a secret. Perhaps in the future, other remnants that now lay buried in the land may emerge and science will provide an interpretation – while the First Australians will provide an answer.

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22 comments

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  1. Andreas

    A very thought-provoking article, Michael. It is all the more inconceivable that wanton destruction of these ancient sites continues and that these barbarians should get away with it.

  2. Michael Taylor

    Thank you, Andreas.

    Each piece of art is a unique story. Imagine the uproar if a rare book is tossed into the fireplace. Same thing.

  3. Andreas

    Very true, Michael. Your comparison reminds me of the deliberate burning of the combined ancient wisdom within the Alexandria library in Egypt in some 200 a.D.

  4. Michael Taylor

    I was thinking of that very thing, Andreas.

  5. Andrew Smith

    Not helped by the narrow prism that many learn, know or appreciate art based upon Egyptian, Greco-Roman, Asian, European and western contemporary styles and culture that bypass not just Australian indigenous but also African; should and assume it does start in school curricula?

  6. wam

    I read a snippet 50 years ago, joh’s era, when we were connected by micro-wave transmission towers from the isa, that has relevance to my acceptance of he dreaming.
    An Aboriginal activist, “The rainbow serpent’s creation of qld vs the story of god impregnating a virgin with himself and 32 years latter hammered onto a cross by romans (jews got the blame)dying then 3 days later brought back to life and transported whole to heaven”. I prefer the former as the latter sounds ridiculous..
    The crux of the destruction is ‘sacred’ that belongs to christians and they cannot believe Aboriginal culture use of it.
    The ultimate sadness is the concept the Aborigines feel for the sites and for the dreaming is inadequately described by sacred. The dreaming is far beyond sacred far beyond the churches far beyond the book far beyond the Australian non-Aboriginal society’s capacity to understand nor to accept our ignorance.
    It saddens me when the ex-kormilda kids find the bible/ The influence of evangelists from america that they share is awful and is bible literal truth old testament with new testament halleluyah. The irony being that there ancestor are going to hell for not knowing jesus but the old testament boys who didn’t know jesus are safe???

    The education system will never be relevant on the communities till the teachers learn the school language and the system recognizes it can learn from Aboriginal students, their cultures and societies. The key is languages and for that we have to overcome the enormous interta of one language english history and the conservative ignorance.

  7. Phil.

    Stories from the dream time is just black fella’s JuJu
    We come to make lots of money and a little bit for you
    OK fellers set the fuse let’s blow this silly sacred sight
    We are the mining companies and might makes it alright
    We don’t care that this sacred land is in your silly dreams
    So stand aside we are bringing in the big iron mining teams

    So stop your bloody whining there is money to be made
    The share holders are getting angry they need to be payed
    So load up your boomerangs and get off our bloody land
    We are going to take everything even the bloody sand
    So you think your government cares about you & your rights
    The mining companies are here there’s no more sacred sites.

  8. king1394

    In a situation where a mining company has accidentally on purpose blown up Australian heritage, there should be a moritorium on any further work until elders and archaeologists are agreed that there are no artefacts still remaining that could be rescued and preserved. No doubt such a process would take years.

  9. Jack Cade

    King1394

    Mining companies don’t do anything ‘by accident’.

  10. Joe Carli

    Toward the end of his life, Albert Namatjirta was convicted and jailed for supplying alcohol to other indigenous people at Morris Soak, where a girl was killed…He withdrew from society then and even though Rex Batterbee, his agent and friend tried to assist him, it was to no avail…
    Here they meet and discussed Albert’s painful guilt feelings.

    ” Rex : “But they were all grown people there, you can’t be responsible for the actions….”

    Alb : (raising his head and voice) “I was the Elder.. l WAS responsible….that is the trouble. Rex. I was thinking as a white person would… I neglected my part in the tribe.. I was responsible TO my people, not FOR my people, but TO!”

    Rex: (turning and welsh combing his hair)”Well, Albert, Mabey you know better in that matter…but surely what’s done is done…you’ve had other setbacks like.. like when Mr Lindsay of the Melbourne Gallery knocked back those paintings a couple of years ago….that was very disappointing.”

    Alb : (looks up, puzzled) “You know, I can’t understand why he did refuse those paintings…they were good ones…and they got them cheap because Mr Lindsay asked me when I was in Melbourne if I could give him a painting (Albert glances right then left , then in an exaggerated whisper) “A little bit cheap”…. er, Rex , does Mr Dobell give paintings “a little bit cheap”? (a laugh).”

    Rex “Well…(makes a shrugging gesture) but listen Albert, you remember that time they refused you permission to build a house in The Alice….That upset you then.. eh?…but you remember we went out bush to Glen Helen gorge and set up camp out there in that beautiful country and we forgot about it, eh?”

    Alb : “Did we?..”

    Rex :” Yes we did….and it was so hot, you remember and..and you made that joke about. how some people ask why there is always a gum tree on the side of your paintings…and you said it was there to give you shade as you painted….(a laugh from Rex, a guffaw from Albert) I remember it was so hot for two days, then that cool change came through with that rain (Rex plays a pantomime with his hands wiping over his face…Albert stands up, staring at him silently) Ahh!…it was so beautiful…so cooling…I remember us standing there with the rain just running down our faces…” (Rex has his eyes closed reminiscing)…

    Alb : (He gazes steadily at Rex, then nods his head slowly)”Yes …. I remember….The two of us were there standing in the rain… but one of us was weeping.”

    Rex takes his hands from his face. opens his eyes, blinks a couple of times. turns slowly to face Albert who stands staring at him. Both remain motionless…stage-light fades out..

    Darkness….

    Exit scene.” (From Albert Namatjira ; A story in three acts)

  11. Vikingduk

    Once upon a time we lived in Bundjalung country, surrounded we were by powerful sites — Nimbin rocks, a male only area where many women living in close proximity went dark side of the moon, Blue Knob, a very special place, a special place to die; an area of the Nightcap Range with a rock formation known as Sphinx Rock because of the remarkable similarities to the Egyptian Sphinx but when viewed as the Bundjalung saw it a man’s head looking to the sky, apparently there is a female version of this rock somewhere in Qld, both protectors; a massive underground river, the path of the rainbow serpent that made its way to Goanna Headland, Evans Head, the sentinel guarding the southern boundary of Bundjalung country. Lismore Showgrounds are on the site of the Bundjalung meeting area. We have been taken to a place where scar trees remain, the trees that bark canoes were cut from. There was even a school in Lismore, Albert Park Primary, where Aboriginal studies were part of the curriculum.

    Perhaps some of you have seen the murals painted above the shops in Nimbin, the ones painted by some Bundjalung artists as a level of protection for the village. Don’t know if they still exist. Certainly the indigenous energy of this area was/is still very powerful, always was always will be.

    And in this once upon a time, in the Liverpool Plains area, another place of indigenous importance in line to be trashed by a coal mine, we were shown the bone (from several metres away, impossible to get closer). The bone that is pointed at transgressors. No we weren’t transgressing, we were shown this as an example of the real energy and power of this indigenous world.

    Always was Always will be.

  12. Phil

    From RED FLAG.

    Thirty years ago this month, Noongar activists set up a protest camp at Gooninup, the site of the derelict Old Swan Brewery on Perth’s foreshore. This marked the beginning of a four-year long struggle to secure recognition of an Aboriginal sacred site.

    Aboriginal protesters and their supporters, including several WA unions, called for the demolition of the Old Swan Brewery and the creation of a park for all Perth residents to enjoy. The state government, mired in the corruption of the WA Inc scandal, was determined to allow WA’s biggest property developers to redevelop the site as an up-market bar and restaurant.
    From RED FLAG.

    Gooninup, as it was known by the Whadjuk people of the Swan River plain, is a site of great Aboriginal significance. In Aboriginal Dreamtime, when the Waugul, an ancestral serpent that moved across the river plain, created the Swan River, Gooninup served as its resting place. It was used by Noongar people as a trading place and a site for rituals, camping and initiation.

    Soon after British colonisers occupied the Swan River, a native institution was established, allegedly for their protection. However, Noongars were soon excluded from the site and it was turned into a flour mill, convict depot and tannery. In 1879, it was purchased by the Swan Brewery Company, the state’s major brewery, which occupied the site for a century.

    Read more

    South Korea’s uprising against dictatorship
    Aboriginal people in Western Australia were forced off their lands; children were removed from their families and placed in state institutions. Between 1927 and 1954, under the notorious 1905 Act, Perth was declared a prohibited area to Aboriginal people. Much of Perth’s Swan River foreshore was off limits.

    While the 1905 Act was repealed in 1963, stolen generations and stolen wages policies continued into the early 1970s, alongside discrimination and mass incarceration of Aboriginal people. Police unlawful detention and bashings of dozens of Aboriginal people at Laverton, in January 1975, and the police killing of 16-year-old John Pat in a Roebourne lockup in 1983, brought public attention to police brutality and Aboriginal deaths in custody, ultimately leading to a royal commission.

    In this context, in the late 1970s, the Black Action Group was established in Perth, influenced by the politics of Black Power. Prominent in its leadership were Aboriginal Legal Service field officers Len Culbong and Rob Riley, and trade unionist Clarrie Isaacs. Culbong and Isaacs, also known as Yaluritja and Ishak Mohamad Haj, emerged as prominent leaders in the Swan Brewery dispute, alongside elders Ken Colbung and Robert Bropho, a leader of the Fringe Dweller community.

    In 1978, the derelict and abandoned Old Swan Brewery was put up for sale; it was purchased in 1981 by property tycoon Alan Bond, as part of the Swan Brewery empire. Bond sold the brewery to Yossie Goldberg, who sold it to the WA Development Commission in a dodgy business deal later investigated by a royal commission.

    Both Bond and Goldberg were caught up in the WA Inc scandal, each having donated generously to ALP coffers. Bond and his companies gave Labor premier Brian Burke and WA Labor more than $2 million in secret donations to facilitate his business ventures, while Goldberg donated $100,000 to a slush fund kept in cash in Burke’s office.

    Redevelopment of the brewery was first mooted in 1986. Submitted proposals included a large tavern, restaurant, tearoom and multi-storey car park, much to the ire of local Noongar people. Opposition came from diverse quarters, including the Kings Park Board, the Brewery Action Group and even the state Liberal Party. In 1987, the government rezoned the site to allow development to proceed.

    In 1988 – the bicentenary year – state planning minister Bob Pearce cynically proposed that the redeveloped site would become a “shrine to Aboriginal culture and heritage”, incorporating a museum to house “the best collection of Aboriginal art and artefacts in the world” and a performance space for Aboriginal groups alongside the tavern and restaurant originally proposed. However, no consultation took place with Aboriginal people, and the artefacts to be housed in the collection were sourced not from the local community but from the Northern Territory.

    Always was, always will be, Aboriginal land

    The Noongar community opposed the development from as early as 1978, when Ken Colbung called for the brewery to be demolished and replaced by riverside parklands. From 1986 onward, the Swan Valley Fringe Dwellers and other Indigenous groups appealed to state ministers for the brewery’s demolition and the preservation of the site as open space in acknowledgement of its Indigenous significance.

    Read more

    Britain and Australia’s hidden history of Indian slavery
    Legal actions followed. The courts ruled that the redevelopment plans were lawful: apparently the state government was not bound by its own Aboriginal heritage legislation. Aboriginal activists now turned to direct action.

    On 3 January 1989, both Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people established a protest camp between Mounts Bay Road and Kings Park, opposite the brewery. Placards alerted motorists to the protest, declaring “Always was, always will be, Aboriginal land”. Like the Tent Embassy before it, the camp had its own mailbox and received a procession of visitors, including a delegation of Native Americans.

    The protest engaged in several strategies, including appeals to the courts and machinery of government, and direct action. The Aboriginal Legal Service assisted representations to various Western Australian courts and the High Court in Canberra.

    In April 1989, the federal government intervened, granting protection to the site under federal legislation. However, this was a short-lived victory: a deal between federal and state Labor allowed redevelopment to go ahead provided the state government legislated to make itself subject to its own Aboriginal Heritage Act. Once again, Labor threw Aboriginal people under a bus to satisfy the interests of corporate developers.

    During the nine-month occupation of the site, trade unions emerged as crucial allies in the struggle. Most consistent were the Construction, Mining and Energy Union and the Electrical Trades Union, both voting to ban work on the site. Isaacs, a former president of the Water Supply Union and a state councillor of the Federated Miscellaneous Workers Union, was instrumental in forging alliances with the union movement.

    The Builders Labourers Federation, then led by Kevin Reynolds, a right wing Labor ally of disgraced premier Burke, played a more ambivalent role. While declaring the union would ban work on the site if police attacked protesters, the BLF later went over to the government side, saying that the development would offer much needed employment for its members. This amounted to a brazen about-face from the BLF’s long tradition of green bans to save sites of historical and cultural significance.

    Just like Noonkanbah

    In 1989, I lived in university accommodation nearby. On 9 October, I awoke to a news broadcast on my clock radio. The brewery protest camp was being raided by police. I sprang out of bed and sprinted nearly three kilometres to the camp.

    When I arrived, all hell had broken loose. Mounts Bay Road had been closed to traffic, and 100 police had descended on the site. I noticed a manual for the police operation sitting on the dashboard of an inspector’s car, demonstrating all the hallmarks of a carefully orchestrated attack on the right to protest.

    By this time, protest leaders including Bropho, Isaacs and Culbong had been arrested. One protester said, “It was just like Noonkanbah” – a reference to the police operation that smashed a blockade of an oil drilling site on Aboriginal land in the Kimberley a decade before.

    Belongings were strewn everywhere as police chased protesters off the site and confiscated their belongings. Those sent in to dismantle the camp to prepare for work on the site were declared “scabs” by unionists. Despite the continual arrival of reinforcements of protesters, the camp was no more. Bail conditions prevented protest leaders from returning to the site (though Robert Bropho returned in defiance).

    Read more

    ‘Outside agitators’, then and now
    In late 1990, a picket line prevented work on the site, supported by WA construction unions. The ETU and CFMEU – whose members were the backbone of the picket line – were threatened with deregistration by the Industrial Relations Commission if they didn’t lift their bans. In a setback for the campaign, a CFMEU membership meeting narrowly voted in favour of lifting the bans, 278 to 243. But a community picket line was maintained despite losing official trade union support.

    Over the following year, the struggle continued. A petition gathered 30,000 signatures. The state museum’s Aboriginal Cultural Materials Committee declared its opposition to redevelopment. The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission called for the brewery’s demolition. Then the state’s Legislative Assembly voted likewise. Yet the state Labor government, now led by premier Carmen Lawrence, thumbed its nose at all of them.

    In June 1992, the state government’s newly appointed Heritage Council gave permanent heritage protection to the brewery. The following month, Lawrence and Aboriginal Affairs minister Jim McGinty signed a contract with John Roberts, CEO of construction giant Multiplex and another key figure in the WA Inc scandal. Roberts, who had donated $600,000 to WA Labor in the 1980s, could redevelop the site while paying a peppercorn rental.

    Three thousand protesters assembled at the brewery site after the announcement was made. A rally outside state parliament was told the Liberal Party would demolish the brewery if elected in the coming state election, a promise it promptly reneged on after taking office in February 1993.

    The climax came on 26 August 1992. After a 500-strong picket the day before, police arrived in force to break the picket line. Protesters were dragged from the gates of the construction site as trucks entered. More protesters were dragged away as they lay down in front of trucks. Running battles with police ensued as police escorted scabs onto the site. In a classic divide and rule strategy, Multiplex and Kalgoorlie MLA Graeme Campbell bussed in paid Aboriginal counter-protesters from Kalgoorlie and other country towns.

    The following year, Liberal premier Richard Court took office. Following in the footsteps of his father, former state premier Charlie Court, he forged close relationships with the state’s all-powerful mining lobby, riding roughshod over Aboriginal demands for land rights. Court threw his support behind Multiplex’s brewery redevelopment.

    As historian Charlie Fox observed in the compilation Radical Perth, Militant Fremantle:

    “Perth got a redeveloped Brewery, transformed into flash restaurants and million-dollar apartments, a standing monument to WA Inc. Aboriginal people got nothing. Probably the only winner was John Roberts and Multiplex, which stood to make buckets of money from the redevelopment.”

    However, the Swan Brewery dispute marked a watershed moment in struggle for land rights in the Perth region. Bropho fought hard to establish a permanent site for the Swan Valley Noongar Community in 1994, after more than a decade of occupation of the Lockridge town camp. In 1996, Isaacs toured the country alongside socialist Reihana Mohideen as part of a “justice tour”, roundly condemning the racist scapegoating of migrants and Indigenous people by then prime minister John Howard and newly elected federal parliamentarian Pauline Hanson. Isaacs was a vocal opponent of the native title regime, recognising it as a sham for Aboriginal people.

  13. Joe Carli

    Phil…an excellent post worth a thorough read…heartbreakingly courageous…”One is so often but a spectator to despair..”

  14. Michael Taylor

    I am honoured that there have been so many wonderful responses to this post.

  15. Anne Byam

    A remarkable article Michael – and it has taught me much – thank you.

    The contributors to comments here have put forward also some quite amazing information.
    And they wouldn’t have done that, without your great article to ‘set the ball rolling’.

    I can see quite a lot of good coming from the current movements for our own Indigenous peoples, plus people of colour all over the world – however, can also see it will be a lot of time before we can realise the true acceptance of one another as humans – as all part of the human race, especially whites acceptance of those ‘who are different’.

    An article in one of the newspapers I get on line “The New Daily” described ( with links ) the instinctive response by a “Black Lives Matter” supporter, himself a black man – who rescued a white man ( who was part of the extreme right protesters protecting statues in London and hurling objects and abuse at their opposition ) … The rescuer did not think twice about trying to save the man from possible death, as he’d collapsed to the ground. He did this with a firemans lift, and was surrounded by BLM supporters protectively, so that no-one could stop the resue operation.

    Wonderful to see.

  16. B Sullivan

    “Of the two views of knowledge, only The Dreaming interpretation is solid”.

    The Dreaming is not knowledge, it is belief. It is not solid, It is not reliable. It is as flimsy as chinese whispers. How often has its interpretation changed over the millennia? When was it first recorded and made immutable? Why does It depend on ignorance just like all the other great faiths throughout the world’s history that deny the reality of truth?

    Archeology is a science. Science is knowledge. The word science literally means knowledge. Science reveals the truth. Except for what archeology and paleontology has revealed, pre-colonial Australian history is a mystery.

    It is better to be aware that we don’t know the truth than to pretend that we do.

    The wanton destruction of these archeological sites are crimes against humanity that ensure that we will never know the truth. Mythology is a poor substitute. Normally I suspend disbelief and enjoy a good myth. I admire the ingenuity and the artistry of the myth, and the greatest delight of the myth is in finding those kernels of truth that are confirmed by archeology. But in the wake of this atrocity against science I am too disgusted to find any comfort in pretence.

  17. Joe Carli

    B. Sullivan…I don’t doubt that you have at some time in your life been mesmerised by Love….I don’t doubt it….and for Love, history AND archeology informs us that self, family, community and nations have been built up and torn down over such an “invisible, indecipherable and desirable” commodity..sometimes not much more than an emotional will-o-the-wisp….Where therefore your “science”?

    Loss.
    Into the fire she did cast,
    Letter by letter until the last.
    Her stern face, flame-lit aglow,
    No pity nor sentiment did it show.
    No regret, nor heartfelt loss,
    As letter by letter she did toss.
    Until the last in hesitant hold,
    One short sentence writ in bold,
    One final line that caught her eye,
    And though the rest she did despise,
    That one broken promise with love’s death,
    Gave pause for memory’s catch of breath,
    Forgotten above this, all the rest;
    “Forever my Love, my love, to you,
    I do bequeath”.

  18. Joe Carli

    I’d go further to claim that human ‘progress’ has developed not BECAUSE of science, but IN SPITE of science!…Those myths you scorn as inconsequential when stood next to scientific knowledge I’d say are the inspiration to add “scientific flesh” to their spiritual interpretations….

  19. Michael Taylor

    B Sullivan, you clearly forgot to put on the pair of Aboriginal shoes I left at the door.

  20. Jack Cade

    I met a young indigenous man once, from around the Flinders Ranges area. He told me his people’s Dreamtime stories with such passion and sincerity that I almost
    Believed them myself.
    The Xtrian missionaries to indigenous peoples in all areas of the earth must have been very convincing…
    ‘Your stories are rubbish. Unrealistic. Now have I got a story for you!! Listen to this!
    …this fellow called God – who plans everything and knows everything in advance – sent his son to us so that we could torture him and kill him! And we hung him
    In a piece of wood, and he died. But get this ! He came back to life! Three days later!!
    Better than your rainbow serpent stories, eh?! Now send your children to me…I want to…erm…’initiate’ then. ‘
    Jesus was the first Doctor Who. When he transubstantiated, his best mates didn’t recognise him. The rock cave was Tardis Mark 1.
    This I believe.

  21. Michael Taylor

    Jack, if he was from the Flinders Ranges he was most likely an Adnyamathanha man. It is also quite possible that I know him.

    I spent a few years with the Adnyamathanha people and I was always fascinated by their creation stories about a particular tree, rock, hill etc.

    Adnyamathanha, by the way, means either “people from the hills” or “rock people.”

    Most of them are Port supporters. True, dat.

  22. Jack Cade

    Michael
    There you go! That’s why I took to him so readily.

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