Originally Published 15 December 2014:
People of the Wild Cherry
Above: Tijuk (Jeeuk-Bates), the Native or Wild Cherry, is related to the more widely known Quandong and a member of the Sandalwood Family. Also known as the Broom Ballart or Exocarpos Sparteus the plant is a weeping shrub native to Western Australia. Tijuk was totem to a clan of the Ngadgu (Ngadjumaia), Aborigines from the area north and east of Esperance. Photo courtesy of Mrs Roni Forrest, Perth, Western Australia
Notice: This post carries the names of many deceased Aboriginal persons
This is the last of the Interlude Pursued posts. In the past month I’ve been trying to complete the final story in the Outdone Collection, ‘The Lost Love of Henrietta Gillam’, which is the reason behind the The View’s vacant November period. I find the story writing process takes enormous effort and to complicate matters the researcher in me is always looking for what actually happened. That I can’t finish the story is a reflection of the truth that it’s still not clear enough in my mind as to who the Aborigines at Cocanarup were. The intention of this post is to try and resolve that.
Originally Published 31 October 2014:
Background to Violence
The events at Cocanarup during the 1880’s did not take place in a vacuum. Precedents of violent repression had been set along the Swan River since 1829, more forcibly at Pinjarra in 1834, the Vasse River and York District between 1835 and 1841 and at various localities in the North West including Boola Boola Station, Broome, in 1865 and Murujuga, Karratha, in 1868. Stories of put downs, battles and clashes both locally and from around Australia were carried in the newspapers of the day, the vulnerability and protection of the isolated settler being the prime concern of the publishing entities.
Above: Mounted police engaging Indigenous Australians during the Slaughterhouse Creek Massacre of 1838: Artist Unknown- Source; Wikipedia – Australian Frontier Wars
Originally Published 4 June 2014:
I thought I’d deviate for a moment and try and pull Patrick’s epic year of 1837 a little more together. That way it’s done properly and I won’t need to come back to it. It’ll be worth it, because this was no ordinary time.
Specifically, I want to try and find out who William was, the King George’s Sound native mentioned in the previous post and described in the Bussell family diaries, and whether or not it was him who lost his life at Garden Island. Also, I want to look more closely at the Albany/Perth expedition hosted by Dr Joseph Harris and Alfred Hillman in February of that year and Patrick’s role in joining it. I want to see if he had attached himself to any particular Aboriginal help by that time and if so, who it might have been. There is also the very interesting case of the Albany Aborigines going to Perth as a group subsequent to the death of the Albany man in Patrick’s company on Garden Island that year. As a back drop to this is the September wedding and the violence which broke out at the Bussell homestead, ‘Cattle Chosen’, ahead of it, and I want to try and see how exposed Patrick and Mary were to what happened. All of this took place within a colony beset by wider settler/native aggressions and an almost desperate sense of economic ill health.
Epic, just about describes it.
Almost super-human. A powerful, shackle breaking story of coming alive.
Originally Published 8 April 2014:
The motivation for my writing came from a late realisation I had spent time with an Aboriginal friend when I was a kid but that all along I never knew anything about him. Many years after that friendship fell away, the realisation prompted me in a quite sudden and wrenching fashion to want to find out. So I began searching for Noongar literature, anything I could find that would help me to understand the story behind Aboriginal identity in the South West of Western Australia.
This introduced me to the writing of Kim Scott. Upon recommendation I bought ‘Kyang and Me’ an exploration in conjunction with his aunt, Hazel Brown, of his wider family history; and then ‘Benang; From The Heart’, his Miles Franklin Award winning exploration of what I concluded to be the anger of being forced to feel incomplete.