Tuesday, May 22, 2012

In the Beginning

For thousands of years, Wurundjeri people have lived along the Yarra (or as they know it, Birrarung, the river of mists), especially set in place for their very own use in the Dreaming by their creative beings.

Nowadays, the Yarra has lost much of its magic, its indigenous story buried beneath a thin veneer of mainstream living, social infrastructure and privately owned dwellings.  Much like a modern archaeological dig, the Birrarung Database  is designed to breathe new life into cultural material that a wide range of earlier authors unearthed and interpreted before again imbedding in a multitude of at times difficult to locate literary works.
This blog plans to publish excerpts from time to time (with permission)
In the Beginning

The term ‘Aborigine’ derives from the Latin terms ab & origine — ‘from the beginning’.
Survival in One’s Own Land, p. XV.
Matthew Flinders was the first to refer to the Aborigines as ‘Australians’ — by 1822 white settlers had adopted the name for themselves.
Under New Heavens, p. 25.
In the beginning the Earth was an infinite and murky plain, separated from the sky and the grey salt sea and smothered in a shadowy twilight ... on the surface of the Earth, the only features were certain hollows which would, one day, be waterholes. There were no animals and no plants yet clustered around the waterholes there were pulpy masses of matter: lumps of primordial soup, soundless, sightless, unbreathing, unawake and unsleeping — each containing the essence of life, or the possibility of becoming human.
The Songlines, Bruce Chatwin, Jonathan Cape, London, 1987, p. 2.

We are before you were and will continue to be when you cease to be. - Old Indian saying.

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