Sharing the living art of storytelling   Phone Jenni 0403 328 643

Buried Trauma in the Australian Narrative

Written on July 22, 2015

In my last blogpost, I wrote about the inaugural Golden Tales Local Stories Concert, which I co-ordinated with the Byron Circle of Tellers. The locals who came to tell stories included Lois Cook, Nyangbul storyteller and traditional custodian. Lois was recently featured on ABC TV in an exquisitely made and profoundly important, mini-documentary, “Babe in the reeds: a story of massacres and resilience” . The Byron Circle of Tellers feel it is a must see for everyone who lives in our region.

The ABC site describes the mini-documentary like this: “Lois takes us on a history detective mission to track down people and documents to find out if her family’s oral history is supported by other accounts from the 19th century. This video was created by Lois Cook and her family in an unique collaboration with ABC Executive Producer, Catherine Marciniak… Lois and Lewis Cook and their extended family for sharing this story of great sadness.” Lois was the Producer, Co-writer, Interviewer, Researcher and Casting

I am enormously grateful to Lois Cook, her family, Catherine Merciniak, the ABC and all who contributed to this documentary. I have watched it several times and feel the need to watch it more, because the reality is so overwhelming, part of me forgets it. But I don’t want to forget. Knowing the true stories of our country and our region is profoundly important if we are to connect to country honestly and deeply. Then we can more properly honour and protect this landscape, and all who dwell within it and upon it.

Lois Cook Nyangbul woman stands in the Mangroves of Cabbage Tree island. The red fabric symbolises loss and grief about the history of what happpened to her people. (Catherine Marciniak - Catherine Marciniak)

Lois Cook

ABOVE: Lois in the mangroves of Cabbage Tree Island. Photo by Exec Producer: Catherine Merciniak

“Is there an Australian Fairytale?”

If you are interested in how the suppression of the true history of white invasion still affects our collective Australian story and identity, you may want to watch this lecture, “Is there an Australian Fairytale?”. It was a key-note by famous Australian author, Carmel Bird, given at the Inaugural Australian Fairy Tale Conference in Sydney in 2014. I believe it is ground breaking.  John Imbrogno (fellow member of the Byron Circle of Tellers) and I had the privilege of being at the Conference to hear her live, but as it was videoed, you can watch it!  Watch here or read Carmel’s text here. (Thanks to Carmel for making this available.)

Carmel Bird

Carmel Bird

Carmel has also written a related piece called “Dreaming the Place” for the Griffith Review edition “Once Upon a Time in Oz” which she co-edited.

You can watch more videos from the Australian Fairy Tale Society 2014 Conference here.

I presented at the AFTS 2015 Conference and will post links of the new videos once available.

No comments yet. You should be kind and add one!

The comments are closed.

Story Tree Archives