Monday, June 29, 2009

Neglected Hero

The name of David Unaipon was scarcely known it's true.

For he was Aboriginal and accolades were few.

But, in recent years, he's been recognised as someone to respect,
And Australia's endeavoured to make-up for its neglect.
In fact, he's thought so highly of that his portrait can be seen
Gracing our fifty-dollar notes! Almost like the Queen!
Born at a Christian mission, in eighteen seventy-two,
David grew up a writer, and an inventor too.
He studied his peoples' famous tool and the way it moved in flight.
This was, of course, the boomerang, which, when thrown exactly right,
Could whirl around and then return to precisely the selfsame place.
He pictured a type of flying machine for flying back to base.
He studied aerodynamics to better understand
How a simple tool could spin around and return to a waiting hand.
He soon designed a helicopter, and a patent was requested,
But he was Aboriginal; his claim was soon contested.
But undeterred he continued on, inventing day by day,
A radial wheel, and shearing tools to cut in a brand new way.
In all there were ten inventions, with patents asked for all,
But racism was rife back then; he just hit a brick wall.
Others stole his great ideas and he was left behind,
But history tells us he plowed on and didn't seem to mind.
He died in his nineties, very poor, and people were appalled.
The 'Australian Leonardo', now, he is often called!
He looks out from the bank notes with a very genial smile.
A very special gentleman who lived his life in style.



So sad that he went unrecognised in his lifetime.
Nice one, Brenda.

Old Egg said...

On North Terrace in Adelaide in front of the University of Adelaide, and the University of South Australia there is a bronze plaque to David Unaipon set into the pavement along with many other South Australian heroes from many walks of life.

Thank you Brenda for writing this piece about a real life superhero.

Understanding Alice said...

now there is a true hero - I hadnt heard of him before and im glad i have now!

keiths ramblings said...

Thank you for your little history lesson! I've learned something from my visit to you today.

Lucy said...

very interesting and very sad. HOw great that you've shared his story!

George S Batty said...

seems to be on the same plain as Nelson mandela...not bad company..
thanks for some more Australian history

Carina said...

I've never heard of this hero, so I thank you for sharing. I wish I could give the fellow a hug!