RealTime Arts – Magazine – issue 64 – NSW North Coast: Watching the creatives

From outside the NSW North Coast, Byron Bay might seem like the region’s creative omphalos.

In this Newtown-by-the-beach you can’t move for poets, musicians, digital artists and visionaries. Everyone has a project.

But most are just in town for coffee; artists can barely afford to live in the Bay since real estate prices hit the million plus mark.

In recent years it’s more the territory of Richard Florida’s “super creatives”: retired/cashed up entrepreneurs, architects and arts executives, or those temporarily escaping the rigours of urban life.

But while wealth gravitates to Wategos Beach, the cultural ecology of the Rainbow Region is far more complex than one boho-luxe holiday spot. You have to look to the hills and valleys in the distance for creativity beyond the consumption.

They host a cultural legacy based as much on alternative philosophy, spirituality and politics as a marketable lifestyle, and driven increasingly by what media studies scholar Helen Wilson describes as the “simultaneous attraction and repulsion of the city.”

http://www.realtimearts.net/article/issue64/7664

Nimbin Dreamining 1973

Held from 12-21 May 1973, the Nimbin Aquarius Festival was a watershed event in the growth of an alternative movement in Australia.

A salient feature of the festival, both at the time and in recollection, was its incorporation of Aboriginal culture.

The organisers of the ten-day event decided early in their planning that the festival would be an exploration of alternative lifestyles – ‘a prophetic vision of the world we wish to live in.’

Pitched as a ‘survival festival’ (not a pop or rock music festival – certainly not, as many people now see it, Australia’s version of Woodstock – but as an experiment in self-sufficient community living), festival-goers were urged to form themselves into tribes, to cook and eat communally and to live in harmony with the natural environment.

The slogan ‘Nimbin is our Dreamtime’ captured a shared view that the festival was the modern equivalent of an Aboriginal corroboree, and that festival-goers were the inheritors of an Aboriginal tradition that was in danger of being lost.

Anthropologists tend to condemn this type of engagement with indigenous cultures as appropriation, but the story is more complex than that.

Unusually for the time, the festival organisers sought permission from local Aboriginal people to hold the event; they asked questions about the area’s ritual and spiritual significance and attempted to incorporate this into the festival’s design; they invited Aboriginal people to open the festival and to give talks on Aboriginal culture and traditions.

This level of consultation with Aboriginal people and engagement with Aboriginal culture was, and remains, a source of considerable pride for the festival organisers.

Viewed through the lens of history, their efforts stand as one of very few examples in Australian history where settler Australians have sought to learn from Aboriginal people and to adopt Aboriginal cultural practices, not unproblematically or uncontroversially, but sincerely and with respect.

With the fortieth anniversary of the Nimbin Aquarius Festival this month, it is timely to reflect on this little-known embrace of Aboriginality by members of the counterculture – the self-proclaimed ‘Aquarius Tribe.’

Dr Rani Kerin, School of History, is a Research Fellow with the National Centre of Biography and Research Editor with the Australian Dictionary of Biography Updated: 1 August 2017/ Responsible Officer: Head of School / Page Contact: Web Publisher

http://history.cass.anu.edu.au/monthinhistory/month-history-nimbin-dreaming

All hail the… Rainbow Fella! Graeme Dunstan – Peacebus.com Home Page

“In 1973 with Johnny Allen as director of the Aquarius Foundation of the Australian Union of Students and Dunstan, as director of the Foundation’s biennial Aquarius Festival, together they produced theAquarius Festival which took place in Nimbin Nimbin, New South Wales.”

Peacebus journeys for justice, protests for peace and speaks out for a sustaining Earth.

Long time social activist and cultural entrepreneur, Graeme Dunstan, is its captain, the East coast of Australia is its migratory zone. After a long career as an event organiser Graeme, at 74, is an old age pensioner and just keeps at it as a skilful means of engaging his Vajrayana Buddhist practice in the suffering of the world. He lives in the van which serves as a mobile kuti(meditation hut) He travels about with laptop and WiFi, horn speakers, work tables and bamboo poles on the roof racks, and under his bunk, a PA amp plus crates of flags, banners and tools. Best he can, he organises events and acts of witness. But he likes best to help out at other people’s events by rigging flags to add a bit of colour and presence. For him occupations of public place are an artform.

http://peacebus.com/

Aboriginal “Self Determination” Respect, Rights and Representation

Whitlam’s short three-year shelf life as prime minister is generally recognised as one of Australia’s most reforming governments.

Advance Australia Fair!

Going forth in 2017.

Indigenous affairs was the policy area in which the Whitlam Government effected some of its most transformational change.

Under the Whitlam Government, a policy of ‘self determination’ was adopted, whereby the Commonwealth would support decision-making by indigenous communities themselves, and relinquish the paternalistic control that previous governments had wielded over the lives of indigenous people.

The Whitlam Government sought to empower indigenous people to claim back the land to which they were entitled, to allow more indigenous input into policy-making, and to abolish discriminatory practices that limited their freedoms and opportunities.

Whitlam’s 1972 election campaign speech was clear on the need to accord Aboriginal people the rights, justice and opportunities that had been denied to them for so long. He argued committed to ‘legislate to give aborigines land rights – not just because their case is beyond argument, but because all of us as Australians are diminished while the aborigines are denied their rightful place in this nation’.

“Gurindji people On August 16, 1975, Gough Whitlam returned traditional lands in the Northern Territory to the Gurindji people.

This brought an end to their long struggle to reclaim their traditional country. Since 1966, the Gurindji people had been on strike against Vestey’s – the agricultural business occupying the land. Their protest was against the poor working conditions they suffered and the alienation of their land rights.

Over the ensuing decade, the Gurindji people gained nation-wide attention and support for their campaign. Once it came to power, the Whitlam Government purchased lands on behalf of the Gurindji people. The ceremony to officially hand back the land to the Gurindji people took place on August 16th, 1975 at Daguragu.

Whitlam made a short speech before taking some sand and pouring it into the hands of Vincent Lingiari, the leader of the protest movement. Whitlam’s now famous gesture of pouring sand into Lingiari’s hands was intended to symbolically reverse a similar act in 1834.

When John Batman, the founder of Melbourne claimed land in that area from its indigenous people, an aboriginal elder had poured earth from his land into Batman’s hands.

Whether Batman’s ‘treaty’ was a fair exchange, or whether the indigenous people with whom it was negotiated were even properly informed of its meaning has been seriously questioned.

Some historians have also argued that the signatures of the local indigenous people on the treaty were forged. Just as Batman’s act was a symbol of the nearly two centuries of dispossession inflicted upon Australia’s indigenous people, Whitlam’s act has become an iconic symbol of reconciliation and the achievements of the land rights movement.”

The inequality suffered by indigenous people, Whitlam argued, should cause Australians an ‘unrelenting’ and ‘deep determined anger’.

Many of the reforms initiated by the Whitlam Government were continued by the Fraser Government.

###Ends

Gordon Munro Bryant

Gough Whitlam’s

Aboriginal Influence

From left to right: Mr. G Bryant, M.H.R., Senior Vice President of FCAATSI; Mrs. Faith Bandler, N.S.W Secretary; Mr. H. Holt, Prime Minister; Pastor D. Nicholls, Field Officer of Aborigines Advancement League; Mr. H Penrith, Executive Member of Council; Mrs. W.L. Bransor, S.A. Aborigines Advancement League; and Mr. W.C. Wentworth, M.H.R. (Rights and advancement, May -June 1967, vol 9, cover, La Trobe Collection, State Library Victoria)

The achievements of the Whitlam Government were not the work of one man alone, but of a team of ministers.

32 men served in the Whitlam Government between 1972 and 1975.

The unusually large number of ministries held by Gough Whitlam and Lance Barnard is explained by the fact that for the first two weeks of the Whitlam Government, the two men formed a ministry of two, known as the ‘duumvirate’.

During this time the two enacted as much significant reform as possible that did not require legislation.

When the election results of every seat were finalised, the full ministry of 27 ministers was then elected by the Labor Party caucus on December 18th, 1972.

Caucus member Gil Duthie described the meeting like this: “There were no words to describe faithfully how we all felt…The hand-shaking, the back-slapping the cries of “Good on yer mate”, turned the party room into bedlam – a bedlam of excited voices”.

Fred Daly, who was appointed Minister for Services and Property commented “I wouldn’t care if he’d made me Canberra dog-catcher. As long as I’m in”.

The Whitlam Government was unique in that all of its ministers were members of the cabinet.

Gordon Bryant – Minister for Aboriginal Affairs – Minister for the Capital Territory

Spotlight on…

Gordon Munro Bryant was born on 3 August 1914 in Lismore, Victoria and obtained tertiary qualifications at Melbourne Teachers’ College and the University of Melbourne.

He taught in primary and secondary schools from 1935 to 1955. In 1934 Bryant joined the Citizens’ Military Force. During World War II he was on full-time duty with the CMF and AIF from December 1941 to October 1946. He served in the Army in Northern Australia, then went to Indonesia with the 7th Division as a member of the 2/33rd Australian Infantry Battalion AIF. Between 1954 and 1961 he held the rank of Captain Staff Officer in the CMF, after which he retired with the Efficiency Decoration.

He continued to take an active interest in defence and ex-service affairs through the Naval and Military Club and the RSL. He was one of the first active opponents of Australia’s participation in the Vietnam War and closely monitored the affairs of East Timor.

Bryant first stood for Parliament in 1951 for the seat of Deakin, and again in 1954 – both times unsuccessful. In 1955 he was elected to the House of Representatives for Wills, Victoria (ALP), a seat he held until 1980. He was appointed as Minister for Aboriginal Affairs from 19 December 1972 to 9 October 1973, then as Minister for the Capital Territory from 9 October 1973 to 11 November 1975.

For a short time, from 9 October 1973 to 12 November 1973, he acted as Minister for Repatriation.

Among the numerous Parliamentary committees on which Bryant served were: Joint Committee on Foreign Affairs and Defence, Committee Enquiring into the Grievances of the People of Yirrkala, Committee on Aboriginal Affairs, Committee on Aboriginal Land Rights, Committee on Environment and Conservation and the Committee on the New and Permanent Parliament House. In 1964 Bryant was Deputy Leader of the Australian Delegation to the 53rd Annual Conference of the Interparliamentary Union, Copenhagen.

He was a member of the Interparliamentary Union Council Meeting in Lucerne, 1964 and Canberra, 1966. As a member of the ALP, Bryant was the Party’s first delegate to the Socialist International at Brussels in September 1964. In 1978 he was a delegate to the 33rd United Nations General Assembly. Bryant’s involvement in Aboriginal issues led him to become President of the Aborigines Advancement League in Victoria from its inception in 1957 to 1964, and Senior Vice-President of the Federal Council for Aboriginal Advancement (later Federal Council for the Advancement of Aborigines and Torres Strait Islanders) from 1957 to 1973.

Among his chief concerns were the rights of Aborigines in Arnhem Land during mining development. The national campaign for the 1967 Referendum on Aboriginal powers was conducted from his office. As well as being a member of the National Library Council from 1976 to 1980, Bryant had a lifelong interest in education from the days of his early teaching career. He was Chairman of the Northern Metropolitan Regional Board of TAFE and Associate Fellow of the La Trobe University. Other educational councils on which he served were the Newlands High School, the Batman Automotive College and the Pascoe Vale High School. On 5 December 1942 Bryant married Patricia Jean Hilton Grant. They had two sons, Robin and Linton. Bryant died in Melbourne on 14 January 1991, survived by his wife, sons and several grandchildren.

###ENDS

Gordon Munro Bryant (1914-91) was a school teacher and Labor member of the House of Representatives (1955-80).

He presided (1957-64) over the Aborigines Advancement League (Victoria) and campaigned for the ‘yes’ vote in the 1967 referendum on Aboriginal citizenship.

As Minister for Aboriginal Affairs (1972-73), he argued that Indigenous Australians must have autonomy and a sense of control over their destiny.

Events 27 MAY 1967 ’67 Referendum

The ‘67 Referendum poses two questions: the first seeks to alter the balance of numbers in the Senate and the House of Representatives.

The second question asks whether two references in the Australian Constitution which discriminate against Aboriginal people should be removed.

This question receives an unprecedented 90 per cent ‘yes’ vote, giving the parliament the power to count Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in the federal Census and to make special laws for Aboriginal Australians.

It is a landmark referendum in the history of Indigenous affairs, and marks the success of a ten year campaign launched in 1957 at the Sydney Town Hall.

The Huge Town Hall meeting was organised by Aboriginal activists including Jessie Street, Faith Bandler, Gordon Bryantand Pearl Gibbs.

Source:

https://explore.moadoph.gov.au/people/gordon-munro-bryant

Oodgeroo “Paperbark Tree” Noonuccal – Wikipedia

Kath Walker.

Reknowned Aboriginal bush poet.

Oodgeroo Noonuccal (Kath Walker), 1920 – 1993.

An Indigenous writer and political activist, Oodgeroo Noonuccal, also known as Kath Walker, was one of the most progressive and well respected poets of her time. She was the first Aboriginal writer in history to release a book of verse. Her advocacy for Indigenous welfare reflected in her poetic form as she wrote from her perspective as an Aboriginal Australian woman.

Her best known works include ‘Municipal Gum’ (1960) and ‘A Song of Hope’ (1960), along with her books The Dawn is at Hand: Poems (1966) and My People: A Kath Walker collection (1970).

“The scrubs are gone, the hunting and the laughter.

The eagle is gone, the emu and the kangaroo are gone from this place. The bora ring is gone.

The corroboree is gone. And we are going.”

“Australian poet, political activist, artist and educator. She was also a campaigner for Aboriginal rights. Oodgeroo was best known for her poetry, and was the first Aboriginal Australian to publish a book of verse.Oodgeroo Noonuccal.”

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oodgeroo_Noonuccal

Bushman “Bauxhau” played role | Northern Star

Nimbin 1973 “Welcome to Country and Land Ceremony.”

“It’s largely an untold part of the Aquarius story,” said Dr Rob Garbutt, lead convenor of the SCU Aquarius and Beyond conference held in Nimbin this week.

By 1973 the young Bauxhau had already cut his teeth working with Aboriginal people in Central Australia, also working in a similar capacity for the renowned Adelaide festival.

It was there that he caught the attention of Aquarius organisers Graham Dunstan and Johnny Allen.

“Their feeling was as white students they couldn’t really talk to Aboriginal people so they needed someone coloured,” Dr Garbutt said.

Advertisement “They met Bauxhau and Graham invited him to play a role in inviting Aboriginal performers and locals.” Bauxhau visited Aboriginal places in the district – Cabbage Tree Island, Mulli Mulli at Woodenbong, Box Ridge, and Ballina – to invite people and seek their permission to be on the land. Just prior to Aquarius, a traditional Aboriginal ceremony was held to formally bless the land on behalf of the festival.

https://m.northernstar.com.au/news/bushman-played-role/1882019/