Mokare: 1800 – 1831
Not since the time of Mokare has there been more future driven anxiety facing the South Coast’s Indigenous.
As final deliberation on the Single Noongar Claim looms, Western Australia’s South-Western Aborigines face acceptance of the decades long Native Title case against the Government of Australia, an issue as much rooted in the story of Mokare and first contact at King George’s Sound as with Midgegooroo and Yagan at Perth.
This post comes as response to the Noongar artefact exhibition Yurlmun: Mokare Mia Boodja at the West Australian Museum, Albany, a co-incidental display which ties physical objects from Mokare’s time to the resolution of an approaching two-hundred year ordeal.
Sponsored by the British Museum, the exhibition runs from Wednesday, 2nd Nov, 2016 to Sunday, 9th April, 2017.
The exhibition title translates as Returning: Mokare’s Home Country, words of such symbolic magnitude they render the artefacts transcendent. As if possessed by Dreamtime elements, these original spears, spear throwers, axes, hammers and boomerangs come as direct representation from a time long past; the era of the military garrison.
Originally published: 2 April 2014
A word about those early navigators …
When relating Roe’s maritime experience it’s important to talk a little about the great French and British pelagic explorers, the great navigators and cartographers of the 1700’s who charted most of the south seas and are remembered in a thousand-and-one local histories around it for ‘first sighting’, ‘first charting’, or ‘first setting foot on’, etc, etc..
First Release, 1798
One of the things you learn when you begin to discover early Australian history is that those who undertook to make it also undertook to make sure they were remembered. This applies to land based as well as maritime discoverers. They didn’t just carry out, they carried out with a note book, the relevant content of which was transferred to a day journal from which, if the expedition was a success (or even just noteworthy in a general regard), they edited into manuscript form for general publication.
There was an obvious purpose for the day journal and their pay masters demanded it. Expedition diaries and ship’s logs were extremely valuable to subsequent travellers. The information needed to be detailed and accurate in order to progress knowledge and the general exploration process, as well as to save future lives, equipment and money.
Originally Published: March/April 2014
We are all visitors to this time, this place. We are just passing through. Our purpose here is to observe, to learn, to grow, to love… and then we return home. Australian Aboriginal Proverb
Albany: On King George’s
The first story in the ‘OUTDONE’ collection is called ‘Time and Place’. I called it that because I felt it placed significance on the historical nature of the stories as well as the geographic location of Albany, in a West Australian as well as global context. Much later, I discovered the two key words in the title formed part of an oft-quoted proverb (above) and that the proverb’s source, while exactly unknown, is attributed to the indigenous Australian community. That made me feel pretty good because while this first story isn’t primarily concerned with Aboriginal Australia the collection most certainly is.
Also, the proverb encapsulate’s the secondary meaning I intended the story to convey; that is, an inner sense of awareness about our time alive. Two hundred years ago geographic discovery was the thing. We live in a global digital age now, but my belief is that regardless of race and era mankind has always held an inner sense of mystery and wonder related purely and simply to existence.