Two Fires Festival

Carrying the flame of Judith Wright's passions …

Two Fires Festival - Carrying the flame of Judith Wright's passions …

Presenter Notes 2015

MAX DULUMUNMUN HARRISONsmall max two fires2013-120

Uncle Max Harrison is a Walbunja elder from the South Coast of NSW who has family connections to the Braidwood area through his great grandmother, his grandmother and his father. Forgiveness and healing are important concerns for this teacher who has been sharing his cultural knowledge for over thirty years. ‘If I want to keep it, I have to give it away’ is something he says often. Taking people from all walks of life into country, he has intricate understanding of the environment and provides ways for others to experience something of Aboriginal culture. His book ‘My People’s Dreaming’ was published in 2009.

Uncle Max has mentored the Two Fires Festival since its inception in 2005 and conducts the Opening and Closing Ceremonies. He has spoken on many panels, shared his poetry and also uses our festival to teach young members of his extended family about ceremony and traditional ways.

At this 2015 festival he has agreed to be interviewed and filmed so that his story and teachings will form the first Aboriginal oral history record held by the Braidwood Museum.


JACK WATERFORD is the recently retired Editor-at-Large of The Canberra Times.

Jack Waterford has been a journalist for 33 years, having written primarily

about law, politics and public administration: the three arms of government. He has worked predominantly for The Canberra Times, where he started as a copyboy in 1972. He was appointed Deputy Editor in 1987, Editor in 1995 and Editor-in-Chief in 2002.

Born on a sheep station in western NSW and educated at boarding schools in Sydney, he attended the Australian National University and has a degree in law.

In 1977, he took a few years’ leave of absence to work, first as a consultant to an Aboriginal health service, helping to develop services in Central Australia, and later as an organiser, under Fred Hollows, with the National Trachoma and Eye Health Program, whose report he helped write.

He was the Graham Perkin Australian Journalist of the Year in 1985, for his work with Freedom of Information Act legislation, and was a Jefferson Fellow in the United States in 1987. He is a regular columnist with Eureka Street and a sometime writer for other journals, and a regular commentator on politics for ABC radio. He has written substantial chapters in a number of books on subjects as diverse as Aboriginal health, public administration, the High Court and freedom of expression, and the Petrov Royal Commission of the 1950s.

In 1998 he was appointed an Adjunct Professor at the School of Journalism at the University of Queensland.

His manias are reading; particularly 17th century British history, of war, of colonial government, and of colonial Australia; and children, of whom he has four (daughters), as well as two grandchildren.

Jack has written substantial chapters in a number of books on subjects as diverse as Aboriginal health, public administration, the High Court and freedom of expression, and the Petrov Royal Commission of the 1950s.

He is in demand as a speaker on public service, education and defence topics and is a monthly columnist in Eureka Street.

Jack retired as Editor-at-large of the Canberra Times in April 2015.


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.

Michael FarrellIn a comparative study, Michael Farrell explores Judith Wright’s Birds. What do birds do in Australian poetry?
What kind of space do they inhabit? Farrell will read a number of poems for their actions and interactions.


Susan Hawthorne&Freya

Susan Hawthorne will read her work and discuss human-animal connections in her writing. Anne Elvey will explore other than human agencies in Peter Porter’s Jonah poems. There will be time for audience discussion.


Michael Farrell and Susan Hawthorne are widely published poets and members of the editorial board of Plumwood Mountain journal.

Anne Elvey - May 2014-photo by Di CousensAnne Elvey is managing editor of the journal. All three had poetry collections published in the last year: Michael Farrell, Cocky’s Joy (Giramondo, 2015), Susan Hawthorne, Lupa and Lamb (Spinifex, 2014), Anne Elvey, Kin (Five Islands Press, 2014). Plumwood Mountain is an open access online journal published twice a year at



BRUCE PASCOE is an  award-winning and eloquent Aboriginal writer, who has worked as a teacher, farmer, fisherman and Aboriginal language researcher.

Bruce PascoeHis recent book “DARK EMU” (Magabala Books 2014) puts forward a compelling argument for a reconsideration of the hunter-gatherer label for pre-colonial Aboriginal Australians.

Bruce writes:

“If we look at the evidence presented to us by the explorers and explain to our children that Aboriginal people did build houses, did build dams, did sow, irrigate and till the land, did alter the course of rivers, did sew their clothes, and did construct a system of pan-continental government that generated peace and prosperity, then it is likely we will admire and love our land all the more.”

Jackie French

JACKIE FRENCH is one of Australia’s most renowned authors. Best-selling, much loved and highly respected, and almosta Braidwood local!
At the Festival Jackie will be talking about her recent (2013) publication “”Let the Land Speak, a history of Australia: How the land created our nation”. This is an eyeopening interpretation of Australian history, focussing on how the land itself, rather than social forces, shaped major events that led to modern Australia.
Reinterpreting the history we think we all know, from Terra Incognita to Eureka, from Federation to Gallipoli, and ranging widely from the impact of indigenous women on their landscapes to the great drought of the 1880s and 1890s and its role in bringing about Federation, this work transforms our understanding of our country at deeply significant levels.
Link to more information about Jackie and her extraordinarily long list of publications – impressive!


Message from MungoMESSAGE FROM MUNGO” is an engaging and beautifully crafted film by ANDREW PIKE and ANN MCGRATH (2014), and winner of the United Nations Association of Australian Media Awards for “Promotion of Indigenous Recognition”.

It focusses on the interface over the last 40 years between scientists and indigenous communities in relation to the discovery (by a scientist) of human remains at Lake Mungo, now recognised as an archeological site of world significance.

We will have one or both producers with us to introduce the film, and field questions and discussion after.

Jimmy LittleTHE JIMMY LITTLE  MEMORIAL CONCERT  is brought to the Festival by Jimmy Little’s daughter, FRANCES PETERS-LITTLE, who we are delighted to welcome to Two Fires again (Frances attended the first Two Fires Festival in 2005).

Peters-Little_Frances-149x195Frances has family links to the Braidwood area and is keen to reconnect with this part of her story.

She will also entertain us with her music and song, as she presents the Jimmy Little Memorial Concert, recorded at the Sydney Opera House in 2012. The Concert has been screened by The Jimmy Little Foundation, and presents a wealth of great music and musical talent. We might need a dance floor for this one!


DWAYNE BANNON-HARRISON is the eldest grandson of Walbunga elder Uncle Max Dulumunmun Harrison, who taught Dwayne cultural Dancersknowledge of his Yuin country dreaming over many years. Dwayne established Ngaran Ngaran Culture Awareness, an Aboriginal owned andoperated Cultural service provider helping the wider community understand koori culture.

Dwayne, with his family and friends, will dance at the unveiling of the Dhurga Rock, and generally enrich our Festival with his authenticity, enthusiasm and generous sharing of culture.

THE DJAADJAWAN DANCERS are a relatively new women’s dance group from Narooma in Yuin country. Three generations in the family present a beautiful cultural experience of dance, and we are delighted they will be part of the ceremony and celebration at the unveiling of the Dhurga Rock. We found them performing at the National Folk Festival in Canberra earlier this year.



Warren FosterSenior man in the Gulaga Dance Group, Warren Foster is a proud traditional Yuin/Manaro man from Wallaga Lake on the South Coast of NSW. This 2015 festival will be the forth time Warren has taken part in our Opening and Closing Ceremonies – playing didj and assisting Uncle Max. He has spoken on panels, conducted workshops and has also performed his contemporary hip-hop material. In 2009 he supported Archie Roach and Ruby Hunter in the Two Fires concert.

Warren’s 2008 debut CD, ‘Dreamtime’, contains articulate ideas on his culture, reconciliation and ways forward for Aboriginal youth. He is a powerful poet in his own right.

The Gulaga Dancers will perform in the ceremony and celebration around the unveiling of the Dhurga Rock and we hope to hear Warren Foster at the Poets’ Breakfast.


Johnny-huckleJohnny Huckle is a one man band of extraordinary energy and power. Of Wiradjuri heritage, Johnny writes poignant songs of spirit, love and identity as well as comical ones for children – for example, his Wombat Wobble album. Spirit Man, his most recent album, features the backing harmonies of The Stiff Gins. A newly recorded  CD of eight songs, Johnny Huckle Live, includes Two Fires( Light our Hearts) – a song Johnny wrote in 2007 for the Two Fires Festival. In this festival he will perform in the Opening and Closing Ceremonies, at the Opening of the exhibition ‘Deadly Friends’ and will conduct a workshop for children in Ryrie Park.

fennerGreg Sugden is a ceramic artist with a studio/gallery in Braidwood. He has a science degree and is the author and illustrator of two art/science picture books.

His first book ‘The Big Think’ (2008) told the story of the Big Bang theory using a series of black and white drawings. It was listed as a notable book in the 2009 Eve Pownall Award for Information Books. His second book ‘GAIA She’s A Tough Bitch’ (2011) employs 40 digitally altered images to throw fresh light on James Lovelock’s Gaia theory.

His latest project looks at the parallels between quantum mechanics and Buddhism.

In 2011, he delivered The Fenner Lecture on Gaia theory at the ANU. In 2013, he presented another lecture on Gaia at the Biological Sciences lecture theatre at the University of Newcastle where he gained his degree.

As well as producing ceramic artworks, Greg is interested in promoting the public awareness of science.

Margo_Neale_w150Professor Margo Neale is currently Executive Indigenous Advisor to the Director and Senior Curator at the National Museum of Australia.

Margo previously worked at the National Gallery of Australia, the Art Gallery of New South Wales and the Queensland Art Gallery and was the inaugural Director of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Program for the First Australians Gallery at the National Museum of Australia in 2001.

Her major award winning exhibitions include the touring exhibition for Emily Kame Kngwarreye in Australia 1998 and in Japan and Australia in 2008 and the touring retrospective Urban Dingo and the Art of Lin Onus. In 2009 she initiated and organized the symposium Barks, Birds and Billabongs: exploring the legacy of the 1948 scientific expedition to Arnhem Land and in 2010 curated a permanent exhibition entitled Rituals of Life at the Vatican Ethnological Museum for the canonization of Mary Mackillop.

She is co-editor of The Oxford Companion to Aboriginal Art and Culture, and author, editor or co-editor of seven books.


Stephen Rosenberg shakuhachiStephen lives on an organic farm, near the sea on the South Coast of NSW.

‘I create original music that draws inspiration from the sounds and cycles of nature and celebrates the diversity of human culture. In my ritualistic, dramatic, visually appealing performances I draw on sources from the Stone Age to the New Millenium and play many instruments like the awesome Syrinx trumpet shell, primordial eagle bone flute, ethereal shakuhachi, amazing double flute and hypnotic 12-string guitar. Often my performances evoke a strong emotional response from the audience.’

Stephen’s multi instrumental music performance is the first act in our Saturday night program of entertainment.

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