An Article from “The Conversation” … Friday essay: the ‘great Australian silence’ 50 years on
It was a chilly but sunny Sunday, and some fifteen people from Braidwood and beyond shared a variety of stories of indigenous women who impacted their lives in significant ways. Everyone was welcome, including Councillor Peter Marshall and Senior Constable Hayden Govers, both of whom who made the trip here from Captains Flat.
The inspirational stories shared included the following:
Janene acknowledged renowned Murri elder Maureen Watson of Birri Gubba decent, whom she knew in the 1980’s of Radio Redfern in Sydney. Maureen was a writer, poet and all round great communicator, who realised the power of community radio and worked tirelessly to capture some of those airwaves to ensure the voices – in music, story and activism – of First Nations people were included. Because of her efforts Aboriginal people could tell their own stories and hear their songs on the radio, and simply by listening, the rest of us got an education in Aboriginal community, culture, history and politics that no amount of money could buy. Janene concluded her story with a marvellous poem by Maureen “The Female of the Species”.
Julia acknowledged Dr Tjanara Goreng Goreng, a Wakka Wakka Wulli Wulli traditional owner, who generously shares her knowledge and wisdom with many other women, and whose spiritual guidance informs Julia’s life every day. Tjanara was present at the unveiling of the Dhurga Rock in Braidwood in 2015, and sang powerfully at that event.
Barbara acknowledged two indigenous women who influenced her life profoundly through their work at Wollongong University. One of these women, Aunty Barbara Nicholson was awarded Honorary Doctor of Laws in 2014 as a leader, a teacher, a poet, an advocate and an inspirational role model – a woman whose thirst for knowledge and learning, and deep commitment to justice, spurred her to great accomplishment. Born on the Aboriginal reserve at Kemblawarra, Aunty Barbara was fortunate to have a mother who, denied the opportunity to pursue higher learning herself, rose above great personal adversity to instil in her daughter the importance of education.
Maria acknowledged the experience of all the indigenous mothers whose children have been taken from them, and asked that we hold them in our thoughts.
Peter told of an unforgettable experience he had within weeks of arriving in Australia from Ireland, some 20 years ago, where he started work in the Justice Department in WA. In a WA town he experienced respect and consideration from an unknown Aboriginal woman and her daughter, which was in stark contrast to what he was being told about the behaviour of Aboriginal people at the time.
Hayden told of recently watching 2 Australian movies made by indigenous people, and being impressed with the strength of the female characters despite the focus being more on the male leading roles.
Special mention was made of the finding of Mungo Lady exactly 50 years ago, by Dr Jim Bowler of the ANU. This finding significantly changed our understanding of how long people have lived on this land. And although Mungo Man is better known that Mungo Lady, she was found first, and perhaps “Because of Her…”
For for access to Indigenous voices directly, then I’d go for https://indigenousx.com.au/
Julia Green and Janene Collins
16th July 2018
50 years since the 1967 Referendum (in which close to 91% of Australia’s population voted to include Aboriginal Australians in the population count), and in the year of the Uluru Statement from the Heart and recommendations to government from the Referendum Council, Australia is grappling with complex and long-standing issues of injustice and inequality relating to the First Australians.
On Sunday in Braidwood students from BCS did an outstanding job debating and discussing these issues in a public forum. They had clearly put huge effort into research and preparation, including studying our Constitution (what a feat!) and gaining an impressive depth of understanding of Aboriginal history before and since colonisation. Facts and figures relating to ongoing inequality were presented clearly, and the students’ ideas as to how best to proceed were strong and thought-provoking.
The event began with Aunty Viv, a Yuin Elder from the south coast (with ancestral links to Braidwood) doing a heartfelt Welcome to Country, and sharing some of her family story. She later told the gathering that she had learnt a lot from our students, despite having listened to many political debates on this subject. For Aunty Viv none were as impressive as this from BCS students, which indeed moved her to tears.
Meredith McKinney spoke about how proud her Mum (Judith Wright) would have been to know this event was taking place. We learnt from her that some 40 years ago the first non-indigenous Committee for a Treaty had its genesis in Judith’s home in Mongarlowe, at a meeting with Nugget Coombs and Braidwood resident Stuart Harris.
Students from St Bede’s School performed beautifully, and with a strong sense of rhythm, two of Judith’s poems, “Bora Ring” and “Black Cockatoos”.
And we were also treated to a speech about indigenous language and culture creatively presented by two BCS students juxtaposing indigenous and non-indigenous perspectives.
Many thanks to both Braidwood schools for embracing this event, and congratulations to all the students who took part. Your families and teachers have every right to be proud!
19th Sept 2017
A hardy and colourful Braidwood crowd gathered at the Dhurga Rock in Ryrie Park on Sunday 9th July, for a local celebration of NAIDOC Week.
With the 2017 NAIDOC theme of “Our language matters” we discussed aspects of the local Dhurga language and its importance in keeping Aboriginal culture alive, and in connecting all of us to the stories of this land where we live. Lists of Dhurga words with pronunciation guides were available, and some of us vowed to learn one word at a time.
We greeted each other on arrival and departure with “walawaani”, which we understand to mean “hope you had a good journey here” and also “hope you have a good journey home”
A “gurimbaga” (magpie) was there to greet us, a custodian of the Rock?
We also enjoyed sumptuous and warming Braidwood food at the shared picnic.
It’s very likely there will be future sessions of “Yarning at the Rock, so watch this space.
The Dhurga Rock is in place to encourage gatherings and conversations such as took place on Sunday.
On Saturday 3rd June, Australia remembered and celebrated the Eddie Marbo decision, ruled by the High Court, 25 years ago. This momentous ruling, overturned the legal doctrine of “terra nullius” (nobody’s land) in Australia’s foundation statement – that referred to Australia as a place uninhabited, and therefore not recognising that there was indeed an Indigenous population and culture here for over 50,000 years.
On Saturday, locals gathered at Dhurga Rock, in Ryrie Park, to pay their respects to past and present custodians of the Land and to share stories of the Braidwood district.
The Dhurga Rock Project marked an important step towards addressing forced dispossession of First Nations People, and healing past trauma stemming from injustice and losses. As a community, we are creating a shared future where indigenous history is acknowledged and indigenous culture valued.
The Friends of Two Fires Art Raffle of a specially commissioned painting by Jack Featherstone was drawn on 28th May by local celebrity Paul Cockram, and was won by Alison Smith, congratulations Alison!
Two Fires Friends will host a celebration of Mabo Day at the Durgha Rock on Saturday 3rd June at 11.30am. The High Court decision of 3rd June 1992 overturned the legal fiction of terra nullius in Australia, a significant event for all Australians, especially for the First Australians.
Come along for readings, stimulating discussion and a celebratory drink and nibbles. BYO lunch.
TWO FIRES FESTIVAL 2017 NEWS!
In lieu of a Festival this year, Two Fires will hold a special event in Braidwood in May, to keep the fires burning and celebrate all that is exciting, inspirational and fun about Two Fires.
** Come to the Altenberg Gallery in Braidwood, on Saturday 13th May 2017 for the FRIENDS OF TWO FIRES ART EXHIBITION!
To be opened at 2pm by Uncle Max Dulumunmun Harrison, the event will include speakers and performers and if we’re lucky music and dance into the evening!
** A specially commissioned painting by local Braidwood artist Jack Featherstone will be raffled around this event, with tickets available at the Braidwood Community Bank during April and early May. The painting will be on display at the Bank, many thanks to Jack for his generosity, and to our Bank for ongoing support for Two Fires!
Hope to see you there!!
Enquiries via the website.
In late January 2017 the Committee of the TWO FIRES FESTIVAL 2017 had to make the difficult decision to CANCEL THE FESTIVAL set for May this year.
This is a very unfortunate situation, as we had the makings of a rich and stimulating program, with particular emphasis on engaging with young people. Local and regional schools were keen to be involved.
However, the Festival has not managed to attract the necessary funding, as well as some significant committee members having to withdraw for personal and family reasons.
So, lacking the financial and human resources necessary to run the Festival this year, the decision had to be made.
We have been busy advising the many wonderful people who had enthusiastically committed to presenting or performing at 2FF this year. Most have been quite disappointed at the news, and happy to be involved at a later date if that becomes possible. One commented “A great shame. That is one of the great festivals”. All have wished us well for future possibilities and planning.
That these Festivals have run biennially since 2005, hosted in the small town of Braidwood (population c 1,400), and mostly organised by dedicated local volunteers, is an extraordinary feat. And all those volunteers involved in the past 6 festivals deserve high praise and accolades!
A look at the past programs (on the website) will demonstrate the calibre of artists, presenters and performers that the 2FF attracts, and how their talents have combined to form such varied and inspiring programs. Covering issues with strong relevance still today.
The Two Fires Committee plans to regroup, rethink, and hopefully come up with ways to keep the legacy of Judith Wright alive and strong, and the flames of Arts and Activism burning!
Under the Two Fires banner we hope there will be future events and festivals, celebrating and extending the legacy of Australia’s poet, conservationist and Aboriginal rights activist, Judith Wright.
We would be very happy to hear from anyone with ideas as to how we might continue from here, and as we come up with possibilities, we will post on the website.
As they say, watch this space!
Our apologies to all who might be disappointed or inconvenienced with this news, and our ongoing thanks to supporters everywhere.
Two Fires Festival Committee
The Two Fires Festival of Arts & Activism congratulates Linda Burney on being elected to the Australian Government House of Representatives, for the seat of Barton. It’s a remarkable achievement and very significant moment in Australian history.
Linda is the first Australian Indigenous (Wiradjuri) woman to be elected to the Federal House of Reps; for the first time in 230 years of colonisation, the voice of an Aboriginal woman will be heard in the main arena for lawmaking of our national government.
Linda gave the inaugural Judith Wright Memorial Address at the Two Fires Festival in 2015 and all present would understand the passion and commitment she brings to her work, particularly in education.
Two Fires Festival people wish Linda all the best in this next phase of her journey.
TWO FIRES FESTIVAL OF ARTS AND ACTIVISM INC (2FF Inc) celebrates the pioneering work of Judith Wright (1915 – 2000), as poet and activist for the environment and indigenous rights. It seeks to explore and build on her legacy of Arts and Activism, and to demonstrate the contemporary and continuing relevance for younger Australians.
2FF Inc creates a Festival of Arts and Activism biennially in Braidwood NSW (begun in 2005), providing a unique and adventurous program with a wide range of creative and intellectual offerings. It may organise other events and gatherings between Festivals, to keep the two fires burning strongly.
2FF Inc aims to position the Two Fires Festival as a unique and nationally significant cultural event, with longterm financial viability.
2FF Inc continues to demonstrate deep respect for the Aboriginal people of this land, by learning from them and strengthening connections with them.
2FF Inc continues to foster literary and artistic creativity and public discourse in the fields of environment, indigenous rights and education.
Flying Arts warmly invites you and your community of Judith Wright admirers to Reminiscence: A Festival of Judith Wright. Discover the woman behind the name through a rich series of free events, including a performance, discussion and exhibition on Saturday December 5, 2015 in Brisbane at the Judith Wright Centre
The performance will be a reading based on letters sent between Wright and her partner Jack McKinney, and will run from 1:00pm-2:00pm. The panel discussion is directly after the performance from 2:00pm-3:00pm and will consist of artist Judy Watson, art historian Dr Sally Butler, Great Barrier Reed campaigner Gemma Plesman, and writer, critic and academic Dr Bronwyn Lea.
The official exhibition opening will be from 3:30pm-5:30pm and will feature works by artists Frances Smith and Fiona Rafferty.
Light refreshments will be provided, and cash bar will be available.
For more details, www.curatorsinspace.com or http://flyingarts.org.au/program-event/reminiscence-a-festival-of-judith-wright/
This may be of interest to you??? …..
When: Sunday 23 August 2015, 9:30 AM – 4:30 PM
Location: Dantien, 13 Theodore St, Curtin ACT
Registration $80 (AUD) concession; $100.00 (AUD) adult
With many thanks and appreciation to Paul Cockram, we have available his video recordings of the Saturday Night performances…
“JERRA NGIA” performance with Noel Butler, Trish, Phillip,Barry, Shenelle and Tray,
and the unique musical performance of Stephen Rosenburg.
These may be ordered from the DVD Orders page.
DVDs are available for order from the menu link above, or HERE.
You may wish to view a 15 minute “trailer” of the video material on offer.
(Click on the small wheel at the bottom and select 720p for best quality)
The videos available cover the entirety of the presentations, typically one hour each video.
FIRST THERE WAS THE VISION…
And very special thanks to the following individuals and groups who gave enthusiastic support and much appreciated advice in the very early stages of this project. Without this the Dhurga Rock may not be taking its place …
- Uncle Max Dulumunmun Harrison and Noel Butler
- Alisha at Batemans Bay Local Aboriginal Land Council
- Cath Moore, Michael Merrony, Tjanara Goreng Goreng, Jane Alquist, Mary Matthias, Tricia Ellis, Christine Wright, Royce Bucchannan and Jackie French
- St Bede’s Social Justice Group
- Braidwood Life Centre
- Braidwood Regional Arts Group
- St Bede’s School
- Braidwood Greens
- Braidwood Central School
- Braidwood and District Historical Society
- Braidwood Heritage Society.
THEN THERE WAS THE FUNDING…
Grateful thanks to the following for understanding the vision and providing the material support needed to create the Dhurga Rock …
- Braidwood Community Bank
- NSW Govt Country Arts Support Funding
- Braidwood Greens
- Veolia Mulwaree Trust
- St Bede’s Social Justice Group
- Sir William Deane.
AND THE DEVELOPMENT PROCESS …
Thanks to Palerang Council for approving our Development Application to place the Dhurga Rock where it needed to be, on public land in central Braidwood.
AND THEN, “TEAM DHURGA ROCK”…
- Ian Marr & Noel Butler, our extraordinary artists whose work here will be admired for the next tens of thousands of years
- George Hobart and Family who housed the Rock as it was worked on
- David Potter, Structural Engineer, for his plans and genuine connection with the project
- Gordon and Ben Pritchard, builders who seemed to me to work miracles, for their hard work, care and dedication to the Rock’s installation
- Braidwood Rural and Building Supplies and Glenn Moon, for moving the Rock
- and last but not least, Council staff involved with forms, inspections and approvals, for their pleasant and helpful manner as they eased our way through necessary Council requirements.
THANK YOU ALL!!!!
Julia Green 16th May 2015
The ashes are cooled but not the passion.
To the presenters, participants, volunteers, parents & the
very-welcome Young Blood – a huge vote of thanks.
It was so wonderful.
The weather held.
The Dhurga Rock stands.
The Local Writers evening was a wonderful kickoff to our Festival. The readings & presentations were diverse and most engaging.
And the nibbles – well – absolutely awesome!
If you are still deciding wether to come or not, please come…. Braidwood and the TwoFires await with open arms. The program of events is exciting, the weather perfect, and you deserve a break!
Two Fires Festival is READY TO GO!
The “Fire Wood” has been assembled, the Weather is set to be Awesome, everyone is at the starting line.
For those in town tonight (Friday) we have Local Writers’ Evening at Miss Ruby’s Bookshop to warm you up.
The Official Opening is tomorrow at 9:00 am in Ryrie Park.
Check out the Program for all the details.
If you are about to leave, don’t forget to PACK THE BEANIE ‘cos Braidwood mornings can be chilly!
See You There!!!!
CALLING ALL POETS
We are calling for poets to recite/read/perform at the Two Fires Festival’s POETS’ BREAKFAST on the morning of Sunday 17th May between 09:00 and 10.30.
Come and enjoy breakfast at The Old Garage Café (near the museum).
(Normal cafe ordering applies). You may want to consider arriving and ordering prior to 9am – the Café is open from 7am.
The event is “Open Mike” – where everyone is welcome to add their stage name to the list and read. If you’re a very shy poet, we may even be able to arrange for someone else to read for you (if you notify us in advance).
Thank you to the many wonderful local supporters who contributed to our online crowd funding campaign, recently. We so appreciate your generosity and commitment. If you missed out but want to support, you can still do that on our website or by seeing a Committee Member. Merrie 48422401, Julia 48422283.
Catch up with the interview about the TwoFires Festival between Julia Green (Committee member) and Genevieve Jacobs on ABC Mornings.
You are Invited to the Deadly Friends exhibition.
Two of the Ten Alice Springs Beanies on show …
Stephen Rosenberg will be our opening performer at the Saturday night concert – what an awesome start this will be!
Two Fires Festival
of Arts and Activism
multi-instrumental music and haiku
Saturday 16th May 7.00 pm.
The National Theatre
Hi my name is Veronica (Ronnie) Jordan.
I’m a Kalkadoon woman from Mt Isa, I have been teaching and working with my culture for a number of years.
Come and join me in the Park at 1:30pm to experience Traditional Basket Weaving.
I am a qualified professional weaver currently delivering coil weaving workshops to government, community groups and schools and festivals.
By teaching the cultural techniques of coil weaving it ensures the skill of weaving continues for generations to come.
A hands-on experience empowering participants with a sense of connection, as it was designed to do hundreds of years ago.
Since 2009, the Braidwood Urban Landcare Group (BULG) has been developing the Flood Creek Community Precinct, including the footpath and footbridge, the Community Gardens and the Judith Wright Gardens.
During the TwoFires Festival in the 100th year since Judith Wright’s birth, the opportunity arises to officially open and celebrate this new park.
A BIG THANK YOU TO OUR SPONSORS
Braidwood Greens, Braidwood Catholic Social Justice Group, The Ake Ake Fund, Braidwood Arts
Paul Cockram & BWD Magazine, Miss Ruby’s Bookshop, Donna Wood and staff of Braidwood Central School, BRAG, Alex Rae and the Braidwood Times, Sir William Dean and private donors.
And to the many anonymous and private donations received during our crowd funding campaign.
Special thanks to Garry Owen, Al Harris, Julia Green, Geoff Davies, Richard Green, Martin Royds, Jane Magnus
and George Hobart.
And all our volunteers.
This festival has been organized by a volunteer committee.
For those at the Festival on Friday Night, we have a special event …
Local Writers’ Evening at Miss Ruby’s Bookshop
Fred’s Bush Tucker will be delivering up a Bush Tucker lunch at TwoFires in the Park on Saturday 16th….Yummm
The Dhurga Rock breathes its first autumn breaths.
‘Imprints’ is a project that is facilitating the celebration of Judith’s life work and the sharing of messages during this window of opportunity. So far, Imprints has organically activated a collection of people coming together in various locations across Australia to create a rich array of offerings…MORE
Check out a brief overview of our artists and presenters for 2015.
TWO FIRES FESTIVAL 2015 TICKETS
(No online sales – Purchase at Welcome Gateway to Ryrie Park)
FULL FESTIVAL TICKET ………….. $60 ADULT
(school age children …………free)
EACH SESSION IN ST. BEDE’S HALL …….. $10 at door
(Concession: Gold coin)
SATURDAY NIGHT ENTERTAINMENT……. $20 at door
ALL ACTIVITIES IN RYRIE PARK ARE FREE
Linda Jean Burney is an Australian politician and the first Aboriginal person to serve in the New South Wales Parliament. She is a member of the New South Wales Legislative Assembly and has represented the south western Sydney region of Canterbury for the Australian Labor Party since 2003. She was re-elected in the March 2015 election.
Ms Burney is currently Deputy Leader and also Shadow Minister for Aboriginal Affairs, Shadow Minister for Community and Family Services, Shadow Minister for Ageing and Disability and Shadow Minister for the Hunter. Continue reading
Braidwood offers several options for accommodation.
The official Braidwood website offers information about the surrounds, and a number of links for accommodation.
Also available, is the Royal Mail Hotel, which is located quite close to the Festival events. Note that bathrooms are “share bathrooms”.
(Link also in top menu bar)
Otherkind: actions, interactions and agencies of other animals and humans in Australian poetry, presented by Plumwood Mountain: An Australian Journal of Ecopoetry and Ecopoetics
How are human and other animal agencies entangled? In this presentation three poets, thinkers and activists read and reflect on human and other than human connections in Australian poetry. Continue reading
Our official Crowd-Funding site has now closed for donations – THANK YOU to all who have supported us so far!
However your Donations are still sorely needed to enable as much programming for our festival as possible.
This may be accomplished via this Support by Donation link, or on the above main menu bar 🙂
The Two Fires team.
An important aspect of the Dhurga Rock Project recently had a lively start in both Braidwood schools, in the form of a series of workshops in indigenous art, dance and life.
With support from the Two Fires Festival, Budawang elder Noel Butler and his partner Trish Roberts travelled to Braidwood from the south coast to begin a series of workshops aimed at involving our school communities in learning more about the Aboriginal history of this land, and the rich culture intimately connected with the Braidwood area. Continue reading
Braidwood’s preparation for the 2 Fires Festival continues with the organising committee recently launching a crowd funding initiative on the Start Some Good website
The target is a modest $22,000 and the committee hopes to raise the sum by Friday 10 April to ensure the festival, which honours local resident and poet Judith Wright, will continue.
Started in 2005 the 2 Fires Festival works to highlight Judith Wright’s two passions, activism and art and the 2015 Festival promises another packed program with a particular focus on Aboriginal rights and culture.
The Dhurga Rock is inscribed with words acknowledging the Aboriginal people who owned and cared for the land that is now the Braidwood district for countless millennia before the arrival of Europeans. A symbol of reconciliation, the Rock is an expression of regret for the dispossession and dislocation of the district’s Aboriginal people.
Local school children will work with Aboriginal Elder Noel Butler and rock carver, Ian Marr to develop designs for the rock.
Other planned events (not all confirmed) include a talk by Mark McKenna, University of Sydney History Professor and author of “Looking for Blackfella’s Point”, the screening of a film of the Jimmy Little Opera House memorial concert, Aboriginal dancing and storytelling and a tree planting ceremony in the Judith Wright Community garden on the Bombay Road.
In a significant act of reconciliation Noel Butler has asked that the trees be dedicated to Braidwood’s first European settlers.
The 2 Fires Festival Committee urges all Braidwood residents to go to start some good website and give generously to continue the Festival and maintain the wonderful legacy of Judith Wright’s life work.
In case you have not noticed, there are two small icons at the top of the page that will take you to our other social media sites – Facebook and Twitter – check us out, and “Say Hello” through those sites. The Sidebar also shows recent activity there. ===>>>
You may have also noticed that we are actively now “crowd-sourcing” funding for the upcoming festival in May. Please take a moment to check out our Funding Site and consider if and how you can help us in staging the festival this year. Grants are almost non-existent now, and we are relying on your support to enable the Festival to go ahead this year.
Braidwood recently celebrated its 175th Birthday. There is little indication in the town that the land it is built on was occupied by Aboriginal people for tens of thousands of years prior to European settlement, and no acknowledgement of their forced dispossession.
The Dhurga Rock project will mark an important step towards addressing this, healing past trauma stemming from injustice and losses, and creating a shared future where indigenous history is acknowledged, and indigenous culture valued.
Braidwood community includes a strong and vibrant arts scene, so it is very appropriate that this acknowledgement take the form of a permanent and beautiful work of public art.
The project was initially developed in discussion and consultation with Walbunga Elder Uncle Max Harrison and his family, all of whom strongly support all aspects of the proposal. The Batemans Bay Local Aboriginal Land Council have also been consulted and have provided enthusiastic support for the project.
Many local Braidwood groups and individuals are also involved, and strongly support the project.
A monumental piece of Cambrian period slate from Mintaro in the Clare Valley, SA, with engraved hand cut inscription by local artist Ian Marr, in collaboration with Aboriginal artist Noel Butler,will be permanently installed in the main public park in Braidwood.
One face of the Dhurga Rock with be inscribed with words of acknowledgement and respect from the non-Aboriginal community. On other surfaces of the Rock will be carved symbols/artwork/words chosen and created by the Dhurga people, and representing aspects of their history, art and culture.
The two key artists will facilitate a series of workshops to develop concept and design for the project. Students from both Braidwood schools will participate, as well as interested adults.
The Dhurga Rock will stand strong as a permanent monument recognising the importance of the Aboriginal history of this area, and the value and richness of Aboriginal art and culture. It will be unveiled at The Two Fires Festival in May 2015, with due ceremony and celebration. It will be a central focus at all future Two Fires Festivals celebrations in Braidwood.
Australian of the Year National Nominee 2013
Artist in Residence UK 2011
Tour UK Visual and Performing Arts 2009
Tour Poland Cultural Ceremony 2009
Performing and Visual Artist
Australian of the year, regional 2002
Multi award winning Sculptor
Respected Cultural teacher, mentor and trainer
Award winning Landscape designer
Noel specialises in wood carving, engraving and wood burning patterns. Creating art from logs and tree stumps to producing boomerangs and spears by utilising the natural features that exist.