Thursday, May 07, 2009

What's been happening?

It's been a pretty busy couple of weeks since we got back from Bali...
The routine of work, school etc...,

Ordination and Induction

We had a weekend in Jabiru where we experienced some rock art, a lovely swimming pool, the very real prospect of running out of fuel at dusk on the way back from Ubirr... (We had the air con off, and our fingers crossed as we and held our breath and traveled at a speed of 70-80 kmh for the last 20km), the Ordination of a Uniting Church Minister, and a couple of very friendly Red-tailed Black Cockatoos.

Red-tailed black cockatoo
(Red-tailed Black Cockatoo)

A kid's party on a Friday night followed by the Sea Breeze festival on Saturday where we got to see some fantastic dancing including a traditional dance group from Lombok, a Pacific Island group whose lead dancer was absolutely mesmerizing and the local belly dancing troupe a member of which, I realized at some stage through the show, was my old library Cataloging teacher! It was a Great day and the kids loved it!

Rraywala memorial plaque
(Rraywala memorial plaque)

Last Sunday was a very special event. There was a long overdue memorial service in honour of a Yolngu man called Rraywala who was instrumental to the work of Anthropologist Donald Thompson and served Australia during WWII. However he was never given the recognition he deserved... It's no mystery why!
It was a very moving ceremony which was brought about primarily due to the work of researchers from the Museum of Victoria. Rraywala and Thompson became very close friends, brothers and the families of both men came together at the service as a symbol of the connection that continues to exist brought about by two extraordinary men.
It was an honour to be there and to hear the story of Rraywala's valour and the two men's commitment. I felt sad to think of this man who's own family may have been persecuted by white pastoralists, and had the grace to forgive and even assist them, had been neglected and treated so poorly.
I would like to learn more about this man and I hope that his story does become more prominent in the recorded history of this country.

There must have been about 100 people there. Heaps came from Ramingining, Milingimbi and Gapuwiyak, as well as the Thompson family, researchers and invited guests. A large proportion of the people came back to Nightcliff Uniting Church for lunch. There was a great feeling in the air and it felt like a celebration. I guess it was! Some of the stories might have taken us Balanda by surprise but the hard truth has been with these people ever since white settlement. Betrayal and disappointment seem to be fairly common events in our history.

I don't know what else I can say about the day. I don't really have authority to speak about it anyway . I can't say it made me proud to be an Australian but it did give me a little more insight into the capacity Yolngu have for patience and forgiveness. I don't envy Thompson who appeared to have humbly received their gifts of knowledge and help, but be powerless to afford Rraywala the equal level of respect from Balanda society!
I noticed someone else has written about the service why don't you check out the 'Two Worlds' blog if you want to read another person's impression of the day.

May Day March 04.04.09
(Marching against the Marina)

Monday was the May Day March. There were quite a few of us marching against the proposed East Point Marina! I can't believe that crappy proposal! It's such a ridiculous proposition people are starting to think it's a decoy for what might be proposed as a less offensive development project later down the line. It is that unbelievable!

Tiles lifted
(Tiles.. bubbled and busted!)

Oh and finally one day this week... can't remember which one... The tiles in our lounge room exploded up off the concrete! Unbelievable!


Theresa said...

Ordinations and marches and tiles... you certainly have been busy. I love black cockies and that is such a great photo. And the service and the march both sound really beautiful.

Kevin Murray said...

Thanks for keeping us in touch with life at the top. Always interesting.