On this day in National Reconciliation Week when many indigenous peoples are commemorating the original Sorry Day March across the Sydney Harbour Bridge – and the inscription of “Sorry” above the skies of Sydney, NSW, Valerie recalls a recent visit to a childhood area where she lived, and her connections to La Perouse, a place of Indigenous, English and French origins in this land: this land which the oversighting spirit is the Indigenous Spirit Being by name Alcheringa.
LA Perouse, a Delightful Walk Down Memory Lane
John, my husband (born in England) and I were invited to an 80th Birthday Party at the Yarra Bay Sailing Club – at La Perouse. A beautiful, fun night – blessed with a Full Moon – a Blue Moon actually. You would know a Blue Moon is when a second Full moon falls in the same month and why the saying, “Once in a Blue Moon!” – It was special.
We decided to return the next morning as it had been a long time since I first visited the area 75 years ago. I delighted in the memories and talked animatedly to John about how it used to be when so many of the Indigenous people lived there.
My brother and I as children lived at Maroubra Beach which can be a very windy place, and I remember watching, from our kitchen window, the moon playing its silver light on the rolling sea. It was only a few ocean bays along the ocean front, to reach La Perouse. In those days it was wild bush land with very few houses. Our mother would often take us on the long tram ride to La Perouse. The tram travelled along the centre of Anzac Parade to its terminal. I have always thought it was a shame the tram lines were torn up – it was the longest tram ride in Sydney at the time. It would be a great visitor attraction now.
Where the trams used to stop, still remains the enclosure where the men handled reptiles – particularly dangerous snakes. It began in 1800’s but now the family have retired. I remember the sense of humour and the Aborigine Ladies who made and sold lovely baskets etc out of shells. I went home and collected shells and tried to make them also – but not so well.
Fishing at La Perouse
The area at La Perouse is set on one side with a large National Park reaching down to the waterfront and the other side with buildings and many beaches where one can still swim. The Indigenous children used to swim there – particularly near where the wharf was – where you could fish with a hand line.
Many people did … Mother, my brother and I were fishing there one day when I missed my footing as I sat down and fell into the deep water. The ferry all the way from Kurnell had just pulled in to allow passengers to alight and I heard a man yell, “Girl overboard!” Everyone rushed to help me, I could swim, but not able to climb back onto the high wharf. I did wonder about sharks … but I remember when I was pulled out fully clothed with hair and clothes dripping I was very upset to have to walk past a little boy about 8 years old (my age at the time) laughing his head off and pointing a finger at me.
On the way to the museum we passed the watch-tower and the La Perouse Monument.
Yesterday Commodore De BOUGAINVILLE, and all the French Officers, proceeded by land to Botany-bay, where the noble Commodore laid the first stone of a monumental inscription to the memory of the immortal LA PEROUSE, the north head of that bay being supposed to be the last spot of New Holland on which that great Man touched. The Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser (NSW), 8 September 1825.
The La Perouse Museum
(from the French Part of the Museum)
The British Lieutenant Phillip King writes of their meeting with the French at Botany Bay 1788 when Captain Phillip had brought the First Settlers to Australia in 1788 – he later decided against settling at Botany Bay because of the lack of fresh water and travelled north to Port Jackson (Sydney) on the Ship Sirius and convoy – and began settlement there. The French were to stay at La Perouse for six weeks. When they departed, they vanished, never to be seen again.
John and I were fascinated that the altar stone showed the familiar equal sided cross That we knew symbolically connected to the Knights Templars found drawn On many of the churches we had visited when we lived in France 2015.
The Lands of the Indigenous Peoples:
In what is now the Sydney area a community of extended families or clans (gal) live as hunter-fisher-gatherers beside rich saltwater environments. These Indigenous inhabitants call themselves Eora (pronounced yura), meaning simply ‘the people’. Theirs is a canoe culture. The bays, coves, creeks and rivers are crowded with men and women, fishing and coming and going in their fragile bark canoes.
In today’s terms, their territory spreads from the Georges River and Botany Bay in the south to Pittwater at the mouth of the Hawkesbury River in the north, and west to Parramatta.
Another section of the Museum showed many images of evidence of the Indigenous people who had lived in the area for thousands of years. I personally would have liked more talk and images of pre white man’s visit and the very early days of settlement.
The Indigenous Presence
SBS World Radio recently took an interest in La Perouse and the continuing indigenous presence there. By various accounts, La Perouse is the only Sydney suburb where Aboriginal people have had an unbroken connection since sea levels stabilised, believed to be 7,000 years ago, to form today’s coast.
And with the Land Council now owning the Aboriginal reserve there, it stands as the only suburb where Aboriginal people have kept their territory from European settlement to today.
The chairwoman of the Land Council, Marcia Ella-Duncan, says the museum needs to tell the story of the area in full, chronological order as one piece.
“From the Aboriginal community perspective, we have occupied this land from time immemorial and have continued our occupation and association with the area. And so we certainly want an interpretation that reflects that continuing association — you know, our traditional spiritual, cultural association with the area. So, the position that I took, in representing the Aboriginal community, was that it needs to be … in chronological terms, reflect the whole history and not just part of it.”
Valerie resumes the narrative:
When I asked the indigenous girl at the museum if many people visited the museum she advised, “It depends, if there is something being celebrated” she added, ‘ we get a lot of French visitors.’
There has been many gifts given from the French over the years.
Before the White men came – settled – and built fences everywhere. The Indigenous people were hunters and gatherers and felt akin to the land who they called their Mother. They had a natural instinct in understanding everything around them and I am told that they communicated with their Creator spirit ancestors who helped them to remember their ancient history and how to care for the energy of the land with dance and song ceremony.
I am also advised that when children were born into a Clan – the tribe would recognise and know that ‘this one’ was to maintain the Storytelling.. The Child would be initiated and taught to repeat the history, as told to them by their ancestors, exactly as it was given to them, with absolutely no embellishment or opinion whatever.
One can respect and admire their ability to record their ancient history so correctly, without writing it down. Images drawn on rocks held many keys about the different historical events. These abilities should never be allowed to be lost.
There is much the ‘clever men and women’ of the tribes can teach the white man. It is said, that they are the first Astronomers. They understood the need for burning bush to keep areas safe from fire – had they not, they would have all been destroyed very quickly. They knew how to survive in a hot dry desert – living for thousand of years.
In these days of Alcheringa
This is Reconciliation Week of 2016. Valerie offers this article as her contribution to Sorry Day. In her work as a servant of “Upstairs”, Valerie has done much work to uncover the history of mankind upon this planet. Valerie has worked with Alcheringa, the oversighting spirit of this land, and the Spirit Guide and Creator-fella-long-time-ago of the Australian Indigenous Peoples. Valerie has offered her services at Kariong, the place where Star Peoples came, and the first works commenced – with permission of the Source – to en-crystal, to place the crystal light, the – Christ Light – within the hairy up-standing-ape like creature. We were never really from Apes, although there are similarities. We inherited the influence of the DNA from the Leonine Star People….that was used partly to create man by the Reptilians. Then we became Humans and you know the story from there on — there were more genetic inheritance from the star people as the first humans evolved. Particularly around Atlantean time.