Here, in Newcastle, we rarely see a full-blood Aborginal person. No doubt we see many people of Aboriginal descent, probably from our local Awaba tribe, but we don't recognise them as such. The plight of the truly Indigenous people in Australia is dire and no-one seems to know exactly what to do about the problem. We all fantasise about the 40,000 years during which various Indigenous tribes held sway over this country, and, no doubt, we tend to romanticise their lives. By the law of averages they must have been as flawed as human beings as we are, but, as my poem suggests, they did seem to inhabit a Paradise.
We intend to master
Everything that's faster,
Wider, taller, bigger, more bombastic.
We have set our sights on
New ways to turn our lights on
And technology grows more and more fantastic.
But there was once a race
Who had regard for place;
For whom the laws of nature still held sway.
They live among us yet
And we must not forget
The lessons that they still teach us today.
Took a walk one sunny Saturday, through Awabakal Reserve
And the gums were cool and shadowy where the bush-track made a curve.
And it seemed that I was all alone like a Koori from the past,
With all the world my oyster, before the die was cast.
There were fruits and nuts surrounding me, there were insects by the score,
And I had no need of credit cards: I could just take more and more.
And the sea was full of fish for me, and the rivers ran so pure,
And the laws were just and certain and the way of life secure.
Should the winter winds assail me, there were furs to wrap me round,
There were native birds to call to me and make a cheerful sound.
And the rubbish in my middens soon returned back to the earth,
And my 'place' was all I needed and I understood its worth.
But I came back to reality! Once again I was just me,
And I missed the great tranquility of the days that used to be.
Though I'm wedded to my way of life and I know I can't return,
In my heart there is affinity with the bush-track and the fern.
We all know the world's gone mad
And we yearn for what they had,
And we can't help thinking back to way back then.
In Awabakul a stroll
Has the power to ease a soul.
In Awabakal we learn to live again.