On August 1, the IHH Learning Community did a Melbourne Songlines walk with Nick Wight and Uncle Roy on a very wet and cold night! Uncle Roy brought along a possum skin cloak, but we had to make do with umbrellas and huddling. (Possums are still protected in Australia, so in recent times possum skins have been sourced from across the ditch. I wonder where we will get possum skins from now that New Zealand/Aotearoa are planning to eradicate destructive introduced predators, including possums?)
One site we stopped at was the statue commemorating John Batman at the Queen Victoria markets. We heard all sorts of stories about Batman and his role in ‘founding’ the village of Melbourne, but what struck me at the statue was that he was younger than my earliest ancestor to arrive in Australia, William Maum. Batman was born in Parramatta in NSW in 1800, and died in Melbourne in 1839. My convict forebear was born in Ireland in 1780 and arrived on Eora country in Sydney in 1800. By 1835 when Batman made his treaty with the ngurangaeta on the banks of the Merri Creek, William was living in Clarence Plains in Tasmania (Moomairemener country) and his fifth child Mary was 1 year old.
Increasingly I realise that my history in this country is very, very recent. Our paths back to the time when land was first stolen is not a long journey.