Thursday, 5 November 2015


OnDusk was selected for preservation by the National Library of Australia. This title is scheduled to be re-archived regularly. 
PANDORA is a digital archive – set up by the National Library of Australia and now in collaboration with nine other libraries and collection agencies - dedicated to the preservation of and long term access to Australian online electronic publications of national significance.

Why did I start writing?

Because I looked around at what had been said about Aboriginal people and the picture of Aboriginal Australians was missing pieces.  There was a little bit of the background – a generic landscape, where no one lived.  Modern day myths were in the foreground, a fresh coating regularly applied.

All I could see were holes.

Where is the bone breaking, teeth shattering violence of men against their women and their children? Where is the clawing, grasping, snarling, spitting jealousy between women? Where are the vacant eyed children who want to run away? Where are the sly interlopers and the warm filth of their deception? Where is the threats and the fear, the chaos and the misery until death?
And where are the people who just got on with their lives, who had families, and homes, and jobs - where are they?  Not in the picture, they might as well be dead.

Without these stories, hope lies shriveled inside a hollow jar.

Without all of our stories, what is told are unbelievable, they make no sense. We can comfort each other a little, year in, year out, reinstating in slivers what has been lost. But it invites the unfamiliar to fill in the holes for themselves.  In their eyes, it turns our heroes into fools.

That’s what I saw.  I couldn’t stand it. Even if it is just a story I tell myself, I need to put into words the world that I see.  And I need to put it somewhere safe because one day my people are going to want to know – how did I live?

It is not an easy decision, to step into the future and look back.  Some will argue as they have for decades, we cannot do that, we risk what we can gain now.

I can’t accept that.  Not any more.  I went along with that fear for many years while we talked and talked and talked about how we would regain what had been lost, how we would prevail against our enemies, how we would live with what was now part of us.  There is a kind of strength that comes from believing that personal failure is avoided if I just hang on to collective beliefs. Oh, we can achieve a marvelous transformation.  I could live with that, I could feel a prickling unease and even then continue to go along with it.  Years would pass even as I was clearly in no doubt that if we do what ever it is that will bring the least amount of venom and fury down on our heads from our own kind we can rise up.

And then I finally had the benefit of a decent amount of my life lived – and this is the only thing I put it down to, I lived it, no one’s carefully arranged words convinced me. I wasn't living in hope, I was living to make myself as small as possible.  I was not my mother's daughter. I was not a woman from my country. I was a 12 year old domestic who served black people, who were in turn in service to what was stronger than them.

I broke my own chains. 

I shook off the guiding, controlling hand when we began to kill our own children. When the women died, because our men tortured their women to death. When having dark skin can get you smashed to pieces and your last shadow is your blood on the ground. 

We are all complicit, if we are all one people.  You want to represent, that is what you represent. You love your culture, you love the lies. 

Let me go. 

We are entitled to be whole people. We would never have survived for thousands of years on oral traditions - if what has festered and is now erupting after a mere two hundred odd years - had been our story.  We are more than that.  Our stories had a purpose I hold firm – do no harm.   In the stories I tell, hope is worth keeping safe because I need it when I confront the evil in this world.

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