Tag Archives: Culture

Aboriginal Spiral Lore- Ngarakbal Githabal East Coast Australia

Time itself is like a spiral…..For the Ngarakbal Githabal people of eastern Australia, Spirals have an important meaning in their Dreaming Lore , which they call Bootheram – It comes  from their ancestors; the Carpet-snake clans of the Feathered Serpent Traditions….and, their ancestral land itself is a gigantic geological spiral formation…an erosion caldera…dreamtime to machinetime

The Tweed caldera’s southerly point commences at Byron Bay and then arcs in a sweeping series of mountain ranges to its northern point, Currumbin, on the Gold Coast ….The Caldera has a series of inner rings, which spiral in to the central peak of Wollumbin…. mt warning caldera - with WollumbinThe Ngarakbal Githabal are the ancestral tribal peoples of this area….They have many Bootheram’s [Dreaming Lore] of their beautiful landscape and its history….In Aboriginal culture, Lore, Land and Language are connected….and the Bootheram must NEVER be changed…that is the LAW – Lore..

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERABogangar, or Cabarita Beach is a coastal village of the Tweed Coast….The most prominent geological feature at Bogangar is its rugged Headland which has the geographical name of Norries Headland…Bogangar is the halfway point between Currumbin [on the southern Gold Coast] and Byron Bay, the most easterly point of the Australian mainland…..

The Ngarakbal Githabal ancestral name for Byron Bay is “Coorumbah”, and the northern point is Currumbin……Coorumbah – Currumbin… [Positive – Negative] …the village of Bogangar is halfway between them….

Bogangar has the largest coastal Lake in the Northern Rivers area….Cudgen Lake….fed from sea at Cudgen Headland, Kingscliff, 7km to the north along the beach….and Cudgen is Ngarakbal for ‘red ochre’ which occurs on the coastal ridges at Duranbah behind Kingscliff village

Now, Bogangar was the name of a little “hairy man”….a ‘Nimbinje’…These ancestral beings are prominent throughout the Bootheram Lore – they are from the Carpet-snake clans – from the Feathered Serpent Traditions of ancient Australia…Alcheringa…..In the distant past the ancestral people were Hairy…Now, this is by no means unusual, because ice-ages affect evolutionary changes and being Hairy in an ice-age is a very good thing… and the name of the ancestral tribe [family] at Bogangar were the “Bogangaree”……for Lore, Language and Land are linked, always…..

The Ngarakbal Githabal did not come to this land, they were always here…the Carpet-snake Clans were made here by the ancestors…In Lore the landscape and the sky are the storyboard or living library of all events….written into the landscape in ancestral language, in plain view for all to see, for all time….

As custodians of the land the Ngarakbal Githabal Bootheram ‘sings’ the story of their [specific] ancestral estate….Traditional Lore and Custom is that no-one else can sing in their lands….that is ancestral Lore for every ancestral ‘country’ all over the Australian continent – and for a very good reason…….It ensures that the Lore [of each specific ancestral estate] remains intact, unpolluted, uncorrupted and unchanged….each ancestral estate holds their specific portion of the song of their own land in their own language…and these ‘songs’ hold the survival knowledge of specific places throughout time…

In traditional Lore and Culture, someone from some other area can-not come into the ancestral estate of another tribal territory and ‘sing’ their story…Culturally if this happens the perpetrator is referred to as being “out of country”….It is perceived as very disrespectful – breaking Lore….for to sing “out of country” in a language foreign to the ancestral ‘djurebil’ [sacred site] potentially corrupts or contaminates the harmonic Lore of the Land…and this potential corruption threatens the survival of all.

solstice08-Double Spiral
recreation of the spiral stones on Cabarita Beach

“…At Norries Headland, on the sand dunes that connect the rocky headland to the mainland is an exposed midden consisting largely of “cart-rut” shells [Dicathais orbita]. A few kilometres north of Norries Head there was a stone arrangement on sandy ground in the rainforest, the stones being arranged in a spiral pattern about three metres in diameter. This report of the stone arrangement came from a man who worked on a sand-mining dredge, who collected the stones before the dredge moved over the site. Inland from Kingscliff is a ridge of red soil on which the village of Cudgen stands, the word Cudgen meaning red. According to report in 1900 “there is a hill at this place where the blacks get the red raddle or pigment to paint themselves when going fighting” …Steele – Aboriginal Pathways- page 48

Another, or perhaps the same, spiral of stones was reported to also have been found at Tyagarah just north of Byron Bay…as the story goes, these too, were found by a sand miner in 1965 and taken back to his home in Kingscliff…He then gave them to the Tweed Historical Society who networked with the Brunswick Progress Association and the stones were finally placed at the Brunswick Valley Heritage Park in 1989.

The convener of the Brunswick Valley Heritage Park was visited by Elders who told him the story of the spiral stones…This small extract was published in the Echo Newspaper in 1990……“In the dreamtime the north coast was populated by an ancestral people who owned the land….The Yowies…legendary mountain people in the style of the Yeti or Bigfoot came down from the mountains and drove the people off their land and dispersed them far and wide…..A male and female member of the people gathered them together again and then drove out the Yowies, regained their land and the sacred red ochre at a sacred site…. The stones are the spirals of the two people”……

Picture34You see, this all comes spiralling back to the Ngarakbal Githabal ‘Eelamarni’ Marriage Lore – from the Carpet-snake clans of the Feathered Serpent Traditions of Australia….which pre-dates the Three Brothers Lore thousands and thousands of years….The Three Brothers is the Bootheram of migrations into Ngarakbal Githabal lands that occurred after the last glacial maximum, when the ice melted and the sea levels rose…about 12,000 years ago – The Three Brothers migrated to the east coast of Australia with their families….landing at Yamba on the Clarence River….Now, the Ngarakbal Githabal were already here….and they call the Three Brothers “Paigal”, which loosely translated means human …The “Paigal” were cannibals….and there was a war at Nimbin Rocks …., you’ll find information about that in my past posts….But, the ancestral Carpet-snake Clans, well, they go way back…way, way, way, back…..and, explaining that, well,  that’s for another post

Anyway…. Here is another of the Ngarakbal Githabal Heroes…Mr Tom Close, relating the Eelamarni…from the ancestral Feathered Serpent Skin Lore.….Mr Close told this Bootheram in the 1950’s as part of the Civil Rights campaigns to recognise Aboriginal Peoples Human Rights…. Mr Tom Close was the half-brother of Charlotte Williams [nee Brown]…..’Beereen’ is the ancestral Ngarakbal name of Kingscliff, Cudgen Heads…

Mr Tom Close
Mr Tom Close

…”….In the Dreamtime there lived a young girl who was very beautiful. Her people were the Beereen tribe. At the time when this girl lived upon the earth there was a great war, for the Githerbul people were fighting against the Beereen people.

While the tribesmen were fighting the girl saw a handsome young Githerbul man who was a valiant warrior and tall in stature. She knew in her heart that she loved him, even though she had never seen him before. She longed that she might come to know him.

When the fighting between the Githerbul people and the Beereen people ended, a corroboree was held. When it was over the handsome young man returned to his uncle, for he lived with him in a mountain called Meeyanin.

The young girl of the Beereen tribe saw the footprints of the young man and knew by their appearance that he had gone from her sight.

Her heart bade her set forth to seek the man she loved

Wherever the young man’s footprints led, there she walked. She had with her some bark of the boorlum or ti-tree, and on this bark she rested at night. Wherever the young girl lay down a ti-tree grew and to this day these trees can still be seen…’…..Tom Close – Ngarakbal Githabal

 Here is Charlotte Williams version of the same Lore…also recorded in the 1950’s

DAWNTIME…when all creation was created – there were also people of the Spirit World made. Now the name of the Good Spirit people is Wooyun. They are a kind of fairy people. You may behold these people for they look like ordinary mortals, but they are only seen for a little while…..

Wooyung 1889
Wooyung 1889

It happened that one day the fairy people were traveling down to Coogen Heads and with them was a lovely young fairy girl. Now this girl had been promised in marriage to a young man brave as he was handsome, for he was in charge of a Bora Ring – the sacred Ring – to where all young men must go for the initiation Ceremony so that they may be proclaimed men of their tribe. For a man to be placed in charge of a Bora Ring he must indeed be a good man, so all the people of the tribe many know that he is worthy to be placed in charge of the SACRED BORA Ring.

When the time had come that the young fairy woman had reached womanhood she thought of the man, the young man to whom she had been given in marriage when a child. The dawn had kissed many days and the stars had kissed many nights since she had seen him last. Then one day she saw him in at Coogen Heads – she knew he was the man to whom she was promised in marriage – for her heart told her so.

When the battle had been fought at Coogen Heads, the young man went to his home at Meeahan, which is the name by which Crown Mountain was known to the tribe of the young man. So the fairy woman set forth to seek her lover – she came to Meehaan, and the people of there told her “yes! the young man whom you seek and who will be your husband came home but is gone again”..So she set forth on her journey of seeking her husband, carrying with her the bark of the Ti-tree, she had brought with her from Coogen Heads….. Charlotte Williams [nee Brown] – Ngarakbal Githabal

And a contemporary rendition of the same Marriage Lore – prepared for the Department of Environment and Conservation in May 2006

…..Leo was a Balugan who was staying with his old uncle Miyarni. He would look after his uncle who was an old clever fella…….The Balugan said: “I’m going to have to leave you for a while. I am going over to the coast. I want to go down to the tribal battle”…the Uncle said “ don’t leave me on my own.” But Leo insisted he had to go.

The next morning the Balugan woke up early to leave. He told the uncle that there was plenty of gwiyam [possum] and honey and away he went. He went over towards the cost, camping on the way. The coast was where the fight was, it was lasting four days. There was a Guangun there where they were having the gunarra [fight]. A Guangun is a very attractive presentable woman with all the attributes of being beautiful. That Guangun saw the Balugan and she saw that he was handsome. She was feeling in her heart that she wanted to be with the Balugan……..She was a Ngarakwal woman and her name was Kumbarra…”…..

Today the site of the spiral stones  “north of Norries Headland”  is known as Casuarina Estate Kingscliff….The spiral stones ‘djurebil’ [sacred site] commemorated the end of the wars between the Ngarakbal and the Githabal….it celebrates LOVE and respect…..and its linked to the stars….but that’s another Bootheram

“The spiral is a spiritualized circle…In the spiral form, the circle, uncoiled, has ceased to be vicious; it has been set free”…Vladimir Nabokov…..

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Aboriginal ‘SKY ANCESTORS’ and The Song of the Vine

The ‘Song of the Vine’….The Battle of Wollumbin.

ByangumAs you drive out of the regional town of Murwillumbah – 30 km from Byron Bay on the most eastern point of Australia on route to Mt Warning/Wollumbin- you cross a bridge at the junction of two rivers…. To the uninitiated of the local Aboriginal Bootheram [Dreaming], this bridge is just a blip on the map with lovely scenic vistas….but to the ancestral peoples, the Ngarakbal Githabal, this is a site of great spiritual and historical significance.

Byangum is the meeting place of the incoming [Salt] & outgoing [Fresh] waters systems, and it is here at Byangum that the river splits into the South & Main arms of the Tweed Valley Caldera and encircles and protects the central sacred complex of Wollumbin…Water is sacred to the people and has significant meaning within their ‘Skin Lore’ kinship systems. Its sacredness permeates all….It comes from the ancient Lore of the Rainbow Serpent…The Ngarakbal Githabal are descendants of the ancestral Carpet-snake clans of the Feathered Serpent Traditions of Australia…

byangum
Byangum was mapped as the original settlement for the area but was abandoned and the site of the town was moved further down river

Byangum was the natural Tidal Limit before the construction of the Bray Park weir a few kilometers down river in the 1960’s….Crown surveyor, Alan Cunningham had sailed his surveying vessel up to Byangum, in 1828 to “chart the interior in order to find a suitable fresh water site for the crown to establish a settlement”…A settlement was established and mapped for future development, but later abandoned, and the town now known as Murwillumbah was relocated and established several miles downriver.Allan Cunningham explorer

 

The Ngarakbal Githabal traditional name for the place Byangum is ‘Ngungumth’, but Byangum was the nearest the white man could get to pronouncing it…and for them, in accordance with tradition, lore and custom, this place is also the name of the tribal custodian of the djurebil [sacred site] that is located there ….and a custodian of a djurebil has important responsibilities to their site…they MUST protect it…Custodian Rights and Responsibilities are never self-professed. They are inherited thru the kinship ‘Skin’ totemic descent of the Lore, Language and Land that the djurebil is located in…This occurs throughout the continent…

As you drive across the bridge at Ngungumth [Byangum] above it is a Sphinx-like Mountain…This mountains traditional name was ‘Moolumbah’….and to the Ngarakbal and Githabal it is, traditionally, the face of a significant Buloogan or Warrior/Sage who faces to the East’, towards the rising sun…Byangum

 

Buloogan is a descriptive title. It is not the name of the Warrior Sage ….This Buloogan has several names – Burrigan or Durrigan or Durramulan are just some of ‘his’ names…. and there are other mountains named after him as he ‘walks’ through the landscape…and He has many Bootheram [Dreaming Lores] about his journeys… He teaches Lore and values to the people, and as he walks he sings, and he also carries a long vine[plant]…He is a powerful ‘Weeun’ [clever fella/spirit ancestor] his songs create and his vine makes the land….His story is an important facet of the Bootheram [Dreaming] which links to all the other ancestral Creation Spirits journeys…and in each respective country a custodian is responsible for ‘His’ djurebil in accordance with the Lore, Language and Land its located….each custodian holds the respective songs and ceremonies of the Buloogan’s journey…and together [each portion in each ‘country’ combine] to make the ‘songline’…

Buloogan travels all over the land…His name changes with every new ‘country’ he enters, with every language that fills the ancient continent of Australia…..In this portion of his many journeys He is traveling from the coast [Byron Bay-Brunswick] to Byangum, where he faces east towards the rising sky….This place is in Ngarakbal ‘country’, in the Wollumbin volcano, and then, He travels inland to the Githabal volcano…and then on- on his many journeys through the respective countries….all the while singing and teaching as he travels…He is a Culture Hero….a Sky Ancestor Hero, from the Dreamtime – Bootheram….from the Feathered Serpent Traditions

He has many mountains and planes…The land tells us his story..The land IS his story, and so too does the night sky….In the Ngarakbal portion of his journey one of his mountains was gazetted as Hatton’s Bluff by the crown – named for the Wollumbin Post Office Master, Mr. Hatton of Byangum Village in the Wollumbin Parish – the site the crown had originally selected as a suitable location to build the town of Murwillumbah, which was the nearest the white man could get to pronouncing the ancestral dialect name of Moolumbah….It’s a beautiful place in the foothills of Mount Warning/Wollumbin…. A significant location to the ancestral peoples Lore, as given to them by the Sky Ancestors….Junction of two rivers encircling the central djurebil… ‘Meeting place of the waters’…Salt and Fresh…It is also the site of a battle between Ngarakbal warriors and invading settlers…The ‘last stand’ of resistance against the guns to uphold the traditions of the ancestor, Buloogan’s ‘djurebil’ from decimation and theft by the colonial invaders.

Some Background History….

By the early 1860’s English Squatters occupied some 3,000 squares miles of the ancestral aboriginal estates from the Macpherson Ranges in the north to the Clarence River in the south…the title ‘Squatter’ is exactly as it implies – an illegal occupant [of owned property]…..They, the Squatters, took the lands by force…Guns verses Spears….Guns won, of course

Around 1862 the first selectors [prospective farmers] who were, according to the crown legally entitled to occupy and later buy freehold land whether it was being occupied by either squatters, ancestral peoples, or not, began to move into the district….so by 1862 the Ngarakbal Githabal lands were under a second wave of siege…the first had been from Moreton Bay Penal Colony days [commencing 1824] but that’s another chapter so I won’t digress…I’ll just say that was the most brutal time of the invasion…

Anyway…..Joshua Bray was a Squatter who arrived in the Ngarakbal ancestral estate in 1863. He had relocated from the Brungle Run, in Tumut, which are the ancestral lands of the Ngarigu people that had been taken by force as part of the invasion process of the crown. Tumut is approx. 1500km south of the Tweed …..

James Bray and his wife Isobella
James Bray and his wife Isobella

Joshua brought with him Native Police from the south….The standard formula of the invasion process was simple – set a black man against a black man – give him a uniform, a horse, arm him, pay him with tobacco and alcohol [the currency in those times] and give him right of access to women of the defeated…pillage and rape… an effective ‘tool’ of war against the ancestral people that has been used by the crown throughout its global career….

During the 1860’s large areas had been declared and gazetted as Forest Reserves and had been the domain of Timber getters harvesting the rare rainforest timbers for export back to England…I’m leaving out a whole chunk of information here about the penal colonies and the battles of the ancestral people to hold their lands…but, by 1887 much of the Tweed Richmond had been resumed and gazetted as the Tweed Richmond Gold Fields…now, a lot of people don’t realise that the Native Police force were also responsible for policing the gold fields throughout the east coast colonies – It goes back to the Eureka Stockade days in the Victorian Gold Fields….and as the crown wasn’t [isn’t] in the habit of keeping records, today the government still refuse to recognise any form of battle ever took place at all [which is a fallacy] ….According to the crowns accredited history books they were welcomed into the country and the ancestral people happily gave them all their lands and peaceful relocated to Reserves…mmmmm.

Joshua Bray - headshotAnyway, Joshua Bray was the first Police Magistrate in Ngarakbal ‘country’ [arriving 1863] and commander of the Native Police force – He established the Kynnumboon Post Office [whilst a ‘squatter’] – He was a Justice of the Peace, the Coroner, the Gold Mining Warden, and, after his brother James left the district for another appointment, Joshua also became the Crown Land Agent….He had guns and crown instructions…basically it was, take the Ngarakbal lands and prepare a settlement for first settler selector arrivals and then sell the land to them for the crown…and presumably, destroy all records of battles, then sit back and take his place as a founding father of the Tweed confident that His-story would look after him….

Before invasion the lush landscape of the Ngarakbal Githabal supported several thousand people in the ancestral tribes….each tribe was a family clan…and it had been their home for thousands and thousands of years…

In 1882 the newly formed Aborigines Protection Board – facilitated by the police- conducted a census of Aboriginal people in NSW…….”On the Tweed River a population of one hundred and nine Aboriginal people is stated in the Aborigines Protection Board Report – these people are divided into two classifications with 97 Aboriginal, [in subsequent census identified as ‘full-bloods’], and 12 half-castes”. [Reibe 2001:52]

The 1885-86 records of Joshua Bray’s census team show 90 adults and 52 children for Tweed & Brunswick & Grafton areas….

By 1886 The NSW Aborigines Protection Board Report shows NONE in Tweed, with only two adults at Ballina and two adults in Lismore, and a state decrease of 146 males, 63 females and 260 children…total of 469 full blood deaths in one year…..

Many epic battles had been fought between the crown invaders and the Ngarakbal between first contact and 1890 – and these are in the oral traditions still …That the crown stealthily didn’t keep the records of the slaughters is classic tactical His-story sanitisation, and by 1887 most of the surviving Ngarakbal people had been placed into the Brunswick Reserve at Byron bay – Administrated by the police under the dubious title of the Aborigines Protection Board… From this reserve the survivors were systematically relocated out of their ancestral area into Barambah settlement in SE Qld…A few remnant survivors had found survival amongst the first White settlers, and some had gainful employment as postal workers, which afforded a small level of liberty to remain in their ancestral land, and the ability to move between settlements established by the invaders…and one of those postal workers was a Ngarakbal man named Johnny Brown…

So…..Let’s review….

In 1866 James Bray left Tumut … He and his family travel to the Tweed. For his ‘special services’, as a ‘Special Constable’, James received the appointment of Crown Land Agent at the Tweed and soon afterwards was also appointed Clerk of Petty Sessions. Whilst he was building a house at Dunbible Creek [near Stokers Siding- onroute to Byangum] his family stayed at Coolamon with the Gray’s [now Murwillumbah – the relocated settlement] …Whilst still at Dunbible he selected 300 acres of land across the creek and facing the Tweed River in the name of his daughter Lucy….. As Government Land Agent he could not select in his own name…..This land was what is now Byangum, or Ngungumth, a djurebil, and traditionally the place of a significant Buloogan or Warrior/Sage who faces to the East’, towards the rising sun…who sings the landscape and carries a vine….and it was also the crowns first choice of a settlement, beneath ‘Moolumbah’…

Well…imagine how outraged any ancestral person would be about such a significant site being stolen…imagine if your property was stolen…would you fight?…well the Ngarakbal fought…as depleted as they were, with all their kin incarcerated in Reserves…the remaining small remnant in the ancestral lands rallied a resistance to hold their Lore djurebil site of the Baloogun…and as fate would have it, despite crown orders to destroy all records of battles, James Bray did have at least one recorded instance of this altercation with the ancestral Aboriginal people…

It was Sunday September 16th 1866, just a few months after Joshua Bray’s arrival in Ngarakbal lands .Chained to a tree - sunset

“Blacks away all day until late in the evening when they returned I got Bony & Jimmy to accompany me to Coolamon – to put my horses over by high tide on Monday morning. When I got over H.Clarke said my place was not safe as the Tyalgum Blacks had left their Gins up there and that meant mischief. So I had a cup of tea at half past seven p.m. and got ready to return at once accompanied by Clarke. When we got to the camp the Blacks immediately ran away & swam the river….We then made all haste to Skinners and made our way through the brush on the middle arm. We succeeded ‘Thank God’ in reaching the boat before the Blacks – made our way home to Dunbible and surprised the camp – making Wollumbin Johnny prisoner -& to our surprise discovered next morning that they had planted in the scrub in close proximity to the main camp – the following grim warriors – Jacky Bundash- Big Jimmy – Jimmy Kelly or Scrammy Kelly – Wigam – Monday – Big Billy – Dickin – Charley- [and two or three names unknown] – the names of my own Blacks who were implicated in the plot were Jacky Merrylegs – Bony- Pointer- Jimmy Crow- Jimmy or Talgemma- Bob & Wallumbin Johnny.

I kept Wallumbin chained up until Monday morning and then threatened to shoot him – he then revealed a portion of the plot, that they intended murder but it was a black to be the victim – so I let him go- tho’ I was convinced that he was telling a lie – but I had no proof against him” ….James Bray  

By 1879 there were six appointed Magistrates to operate the Police Districts of Cudgen; Murwillumbah; Tweed and Brunswick…….They were Joshua Bray, Thomas Robinson, W.Hindmarsh, George Nixon, Frank Nixon and James Pringle…….At this time the Tweed District included Byron shire

James RowlandJames Rowland, pictured, left,  with ‘his’ Aborigines was a half-brother of Joshua & James Bray. Rowland also selected his lands at Byangum on the pathway from Brunswick . He was enumerator of the Aboriginal Census for Brunswick in 1871 – The number James Rowland registered was 70 [Ngarakbal Githabal descendants] …James Bray in a letter to the Register General wrote

..”He has to take a guide [black] and go across the mountains, a great part of the distance being dense scrub through which they must cut their road…”…   he used a guide to get to Byangum, and hence the name Rowlands Creek, at UKI today, near Mt Warning on route to Byangum – The guide following an ancient pathway of the Sky Ancestor Baloogan – Burrigan, Durramulan or Durrigan, the Warrior Sage who carried a vine and taught the people Lore…pathway

Because of his resistance Johnny Brown was relocated to the Brunswick Reserve. His descendants had already been incarcerated there. Because of his crimes against the crown, they sent him north to Purga Reserve, and then on to Barambah Labour Camp in south east qld…from there he was sent east to the policed labour camps on the Sunshine Coast – 500kms from his family and his ancestral homelands…Johnny Brown – along with his enslaved kinsmen, had rallied to uphold Baloogan’s durebil against all odds…he gave this song to his surviving family….It was related by his Granddaughter, Charlotte, in the 1950,s as her part in the Civil Rights campaigns to recognize Aboriginal people as legally being human, and not Flora and Fauna as the crown had so cruelly classified aboriginal people in those times….He is singing for the loss of his djurebil…His Culture, His Land, His life

The Song of the Vine….related by Charlotte Williams [nee Brown] Gullival tribe – Ngarakbal Githabal Moiety…

“There was a vine whose spirit was a man.

These forest vines’, they were the Spirit peoples vines.

They were not made by men.

And someone cut this vine, and there this man is struggling to be alive.

This is my own grandfathers song.

“I am here”, the songs say’s…”I am this vine”…

“My life is going away from me, from this ground”                         

“This place, this dust. My ears are ringing”

“Gaungun the spirit woman is making my ears no good”

“My ears are ringing. I’ll never see this world no more”

And one man came along and saw this vine struggling to be alive. He covered it with dust. When I think of my old people, how they would sit down and sing their songs to me, I could cry…”.

Rest assured…despite the best efforts of authoritarian systems Johnny’s descendants survived and so did their Bootheram Lore, just as it has done throughout time….

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Genesis of Genocide….and the art of Wrestling

Aboriginal Australians have produced some of the finest sportsmen and women in the world…what many don’t know is the part that sport played in keeping the Lore alive during the colonisation process… Forced onto Reserves by the Native Police force, the Ngarakbal warriors kept morale and Lore breathing at Brunswick Heads Reserve – Byron Bay- until it was wiped off the maps by the crown.

cape byron

The Ngarakbal / Githabal people of what is now the Byron Bay Tweed Kyogle area know a lot about the history of the colonisation of Australia…they were there….their grandparents and great grandparents were forced into created Reserves; or exterminated…Today many of the Reserves have been removed from the maps….but they haven’t been removed from the memory of the people….and the traditional art of Wrestling played an important role…
On the East Coast of Australia– New South Wales as it was all known then – the enforced Aboriginal relocation process was implemented over a period of 50 years before the crown moved to take over the west of the continent from the Dutch…..Oceania Early Discoveries

Commencing in 1848, when the Native Police force was formed, and until the late 1800’s the focus of these forces was primarily to ‘round-up’ the aboriginal population and to assist the crown in surveying and gazetting the East Coast into States [Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria and Tasmania] in preparation for colonisation by free settlers….at this time the western three quarters of the continent was still under Dutch rule

English had only claimed the eastern coast of Australia, so naturally,340 Native Troopers Dispersing a Camp the East Coast tribes were the most brutally hit by the invasion forces….The crown had commenced carving the country up in the 1860’s after removing the ancestral people…removal often meant extermination of entire tribes…they then began selling land to the first ‘free’ settlers at specially organised land auctions using the Crown Land Act along with each newly created state’s own legislation for the same – in New South Wales [NSW] this was the Robertson Lands Act – This paved the way for the East Coast ‘land grab’ to begin….

1880 crown lands sales2The crowns treasure vaults were filling from the sales of the ancestral estates, and the surviving original people were forced onto specifically created Reserves, Stations or Missions….Forty years later, the crown now had enough money to fund a war against Holland to take the western three quarters of the continent by force.. The Borer War was fought in Africa against the Dutch; and England won…the prize was the west Australian lands…… So now all of Australia could be remapped and renamed – no longer NEW HOLAND, it was becoming the commonwealth country of Australia, wholly held by the British….and “by 1901 as white colonialists were undergoing their rite of passage into nationhood, the original Australians were also participating in a rite of passage- but of quiet a different kind”…G. Souter .

1899 Boer war -British v dutchThis historical photo of Australian Troops training in 1899 in readiness to assist the British attempt to exert control over the Dutch in South Africa in the conflict known as the Boer War –  the political process of claiming and retaining control of Continents is dependant on maps & Geographic names and   APARTHEID processes
So, by 1901 the Aboriginal people lost all recognition for, and claim to, their own individual countries and their respective ancestral estates – by force of the crown….They were no longer known as the Ngarakbal, or the Githabal on the East Coast, or the Pinjantjatjar in the centre or the Ngarrindjerri in the south, or any of the other distinctive tribal countries that existed before invasion [ of which there were over 350 individual countries] ….Now, as part of the crowns invasion, claiming and renaming [the maps] process everyone was classified as just being Aboriginal, right across the continent – no distinctions…By 1901 the crown had successfully locked them all into Reserves, Missions and Stations and classified them as Flora and Fauna…’Operation Invasion’, complete….
On the East Coast the Native Police Forces were the initial administration body for the reserves…during this period [the first wave] the ancestral people had no option but to retreat and relocate…..if they didn’t they were terminated…..many battles were fought and many lives were lost endeavouring to hold their lands against the guns – they’d never seen guns…..yet to this day, the crown refuses to recognise that any wars were fought. Which can only be concieved a complete self-serving myopic view, as these following extracts from the governments Byron Bay Native Title reports reveal….
…”The first wave of the relocation process by the Native Police occurred in the early 1850’s ….. Documentary and oral accounts suggest the actions of the native mounted Police had a direct impact on the Aboriginal population numbers occupying the region. The Native Police were active in the area throughout the 1850’s and engaged in punitive raids”….[ Waters 1999;14 McKeown NSW-NTS 2005: 19]……………
“Oral accounts suggest further massacres occurred in the [native title] claim area at Suffolk Park, and further north at Hastings Point [Cudgera] and at Mount Warning as the Troopers returned north”…. [McKeown NSW-NTS 2005: 19 ; Reibe 1999: 97-99]

These reports are [as expected] very pro-crown; despite stacks of evidence within the Ngarakbal/Githabal Oral Lore about the epic battles with the invaders…but it challenges the crowns tenure; so it’s been quashed…..Anyway….., over time there was a second wave of administration where the Aboriginal Reserve’s management was transferred from the Native Police and taken up by church groups…..The respective faiths [churches] obtained leases to land and created the ‘Missions’ …..and some of these were so large that they were known as ‘Stations’ and they held stock belonging to the crown….It is of note too that most of the church leases were for 27 years, after which time they kicked the Aboriginal people out and sold the land for profit….

North NSW Aboriginal Reserve closuresAnyway….The first wave of the invasion administration [the Native Police] had fought the wars against the ancestral people – reducing the population numbers……Then the second wave [the churches] enforced a new religion onto the people and it was the function of this second wave to break the ancestral knowledge apart and reprogram them….Children were taken and placed into separate Mission institutions to learn to speak English and worship a foreign god in the expectation that they would forget about their ancestral lore and language….Adult survivors were sent to Station Reserves and hired out by the police administration [ ironically re-titled the Aboriginal Protections Board ]…they were used as labourers for the first settlers, denied access to their children and punished if they spoke their language or followed their lore….They were allotted numbers [for ease of administration beside their ‘new’ English names] and they could not leave the reserves unless they had authorised administrative permission from the central administration office which was then the Armidale Police extract from State Archives of Aboriginal Reserve at Brunswick - 2029

This administration process served to sever entire families who were divided and sent to different Reserves, Mission’s or Stations – to break down the ancestral culture……if anyone who was [or had been] an antagonist survived, they would be relocated multiple times…sending them further and further away from their ancestral estate area and their family – often sending them interstate 1000’s of km because the legislations were harsher in the remoter unestablished areas of the colony away from prying eyes….it was brutal heartless administrative policy…..genocide by paper – the power of the pen…
Surviving men –warriors- were targeted the most severely throughout…..The lush landscape of the East Coast was deemed ‘ perfect for colonisation’…. for the Ngarakbal/Githabal men this meant many were sent cross border into Qld to a police labour camp known as Barambah….”a dumping ground for the lame, the halt and the incorrigible….the black criminals of the state”…W J Bleakley 1913
…”since the establishment of this settlement in 1904, it has been the dumping ground for natives of all classes from all parts of the state but principally those whose removal from undesirable environments on the fringe of civilisation became necessary for disciplinary reasons…”….W J Beakley 1934….
From Barambah, any antagonists or ‘troublemakers’ who still opposed the invading process would be punished and relocated yet again….often up into Far North Queensland or across to Military Reserves on the Sunshine Coast….some survivors got moved up to eight times….further and further away from their ‘country’ and their kin… Today that same reserve, Barambah, is called Cherbourg and it’s still the largest Reserve in Queensland, but it’s got a lot of beautiful people there with a lot of culture and lore and, surprisingly, compassion ….all survivors of a very dark history and despite this they hold no grudge against the white settlers….displaying a level of forgiveness that many [white] church going citizens could only hope to aspire too.
Back in Ngarakbal/Githabal country [now gazetted as the Tweed, Byron and Kyogle shires] the small reserves began to be ‘reclaimed’ and reallocated as crown land, or sold off by the churches….they just shut them down and moved everyone off into the more centralised Missions and Stations in less desirable country …..systematically heaping more and more people from all different places into ‘controllable’ space, and further and further away from their ancestral areas and their kin…..Overcrowding, deprivation and lack of sanitation caused illness, depression and death….population numbers dwindled and no-one seemed to care….the invasion process orders were on schedule and the outcome was expected to be total genocide via assimilation, within three generations……

What many people today don’t realise is that there were lots and lots of small Reserves everywhere on the East Coast….Nor do they realise that they have been systematically removed from the maps – Sanitising the history and the evidence – Nor do they know about the important role that the sport of Wrestling played at the Reserves…but the Ngarakbal/Githabal do….their role as the keeps of the first portion of the transcontinental songline requires that they keep the historical Bootheram [Lore]…and they do………
Now, the Reserve at Tweed Heads is well known and documented…however it was also reclaimed and is now a shopping centre, hospital complex and a housing estate – it even makes a mention in the box office hit “Muriels Wedding” – where a sleazy councillor takes the reserve away to redevelop – the sub-plot for the film was based on a true story ……but, here is the one the crown tried to hide – probably due to a Native Title claim in the late 1990’s over Byron Bay
Anyway….

for the use of the Aboriginals -Brunswick VillageAt Brunswick Heads [Byron Bay] there was a small Reserve, It was the southern administration facility to the northern one at Tweed Heads… and; thankfully, despite the best efforts of the invasion process, the lore, land and language survived intact….and, how they did that is another story for another time, and its an awesome inspirational story too… I will however, tell you a bit about Charlotte Williams who was sent to the Brunswick reserve as a young woman….
Above is a close up of the Brunswick Reserve, and below is picture of the village of Brunswick, it shows the same Reserve which was wiped off the maps….this is one of the crowns own maps.  Note it has cancelled written across it….its that simple – they just cancel it and remap a new one….this happens with all their maps.1906 Mullumbimby Aboriginal reserve
Charlotte Williams [nee Brown] – Granny Charlotte as her descendants call her- was one the Ngarakbal survivors shuffled by the Administrators…She was a noted midwife, and this granted her ‘authorised’ travel permits between the Brunswick and Tweed Reserves….at that time no-one could leave the reserves unless they had written authorisation and every aboriginal person had been allocated a number – Charlotte had a number and an important purpose…into her was entrusted the Bootheram [Dreaming Lore]….. The crowns administrative policy was strict – “No number, No authorisation, No travel” – culminating in arrest and punishment if “No Paperwork” could be produced…for the Cultural Lore to survive it had to go underground…..This following extract was prepared in conjunction with the Native Title process of Byron Bay….however Charlottes descendants have never been recognised as originating from Byron Bay by the crown….the maps had been sanitised…..
“Charlotte Williams was an ‘ARAKWAL’ woman who, with her family in tow, frequently moved between the coast and the Nimbin area. For a time the Williams family lived at Middle Pocket near Mullumbimby and it has been reported that a woman known as Queen Charlotte performed domestic duties at homes between Skinners Shoot and Tyagarah in the period c.1925-30. Charlottes Williams clearly had traditional knowledge of the Byron Bay locality [e.g. the myth of the Fairy Emus and the song Wao] and a great deal of knowledge was passed on to her daughter Millie Boyd”….[Colins1990:45]

Women were the last to be relocated from the coastal Reserves  – deemed less troublesome…As a young woman Charlotte had been allowed to remain on the Brunswick Reserve in her ancestral lands but over time she was systematically relocated many times as well….Charlottes Father was a white man…[Aboriginal women were often exploited by the Administration]…  Her half Brothers had previously been sent to other Reserves….Tom [Close]was one of her half brother’s…He was sent to ‘Stony Gully’ Reserve near Nimbin and then onto Mulli Mulli Station….Charlottes Full-blood Ngarakbal warrior Grandfather – ‘Johnny Brown’- was relocated many times due to his opposition to the invasion….king Brown -WoolumbaHe eventually was sent to military Reserves located at Lake Cootharaba and Tin Can Bay near Fraser Island Queensland as punishment, but he sure gave the crown some hell before he was captured…. Also a story for another time…..Anyway, how does Wrestling come into all this???…..
Well, despite all the tragedy the Ngarakbal warriors, of which Johnny Brown was a senior Lore man, kept their spirits and their warrior skills alive whilst incarcerated at the Brunswick Reserve….and to do this [undetected] they used Sport…
The spirit of Sport is universal and it provided entertainment for the Native Police and the White Administration to watch….Among the most ancient of all sports are Wrestling and Running….Of course the warriors were denied their weapons which were traditionally used in their sport events….spear, boomerang and nulla nulla [club] throwing contests to demonstrate strength and proficiency were common before invasion… but the sport of wresting was something they could still do whilst held captive on the Reserves… it also meant they could train for combat.
So, let’s look at traditional wrestling….Now, the object of traditional wresting amongst the Ngarakbal was not to link or grip their opponent in such a way as to overpower them and make them helpless and unable to move…..It was instead the skill and agility in grappling with the opponent, to throw him to the ground clear without him holding you…..but, he could hold you as long as he could carry you….the craft taught combat skill, endurance, patience and timing
It works thus…..First there are three persons selected from the one totem tribe, and another three from another totem tribe…..for ease of explanation I will call the first group the Pelican Men and the second group the Emu men1890- byron Bay men Mitchel libraray PXA689no
This 1890 photo of Byron Bay Aboriginal Men appears in the book Time & Tide Again – Library of NSW PXA689 no.14…..
….”A clear ground, free from shrubs or rocks, is selected, a soft sandy spot. Before the contestants arrive, the members of the respective tribes congregate to witness and barrack for either side……then the men arrive, their bodies may or may not be smeared with oil and ochre…presently a person steps forward and he holds in his hand a boomerang and a small throwing nulla nulla [club]
He turns to the contestants, addressing them…” You are called upon today to uphold the honour of your tribe. One of you may win or take the prize”….and he holds before them the newly made boomerang and nulla nulla
These weapons are placed into the ground, like you would with cricket stumps/wickets at one end of the ring …..The referee then calls to the men who will defend these weapons…..[in this example] it’s the Pelican totem men who step forward…and their supporters shout encouragement…and they walk to the end of the ring that has the weapons standing upright in the ground.
The three Pelican totem men stand in front of the weapons, facing the opposing team members of the Emu totem who are standing ten to twenty metres back at the other end of the ring…..then the referee calls to the Emu totem men to take the weapons from the Pelican totem men
The first of the three Emu men walks forward towards the weapons and at half distance he is met by the first of the three Pelican men, who grapples with him to prevent him from coming closer to the weapons…..Now, let’s suppose the Emu man throws the Pelican man to the ground…He can now rush forward where he is met by the next Pelican man [number 2] who has come to defend the weapons… The Emu man now must wrestle with Pelican man -number 2…. and suppose he also throws him to the ground…. Emu man rushes on and is now met by Pelican man – number 3….and now the war begins….The third Pelican man strains every muscle to defend the prize and the honour of his tribe… he must prevent the Emu man from advancing to where the weapons are standing upright in the ground….They wrestle, both falling to the ground, and then rise….. The Emu totem man is getting nearer and nearer; he reaches out to take hold of the ‘nulla nulla’,….almost gets it, but his strength fails….He gives up and returns back to his team members with a feeling of defeat. Now… the second Emu totem man makes the attempt, but he may not have the skill or the strength to tackle the three Pelican totem defenders….but still, in honour of his tribe he will try….he also fails and must return to his team at the other end of the ring…….Now comes the third Emu totem man….instead of walking he runs and perhaps knocks the first Pelican totem defender down, then meets the second and throws him to the ground….Now he grapples with the third Pelican totem man, throws him to the ground and takes the ‘nulla nulla’ and returns to his team companions amidst cheering from his tribe….
Now they are given a rest….perhaps an hour or more.
The referee then takes the boomerang, and places it on the side of the Emu totem men….and says “Take the weapon from the Emu totem”
The first Pelican totem man goes forward and is met halfway by an Emu totem man, they begin wrestling and perhaps the Emu man lifts him and throws him upon his shoulder, and then carries him to the end of the ring back to his Pelican totem team…this means he lost – he doesn’t continue to wrestle with the others…..
So then, the second Pelican totem man also fails in the same manner…he can’t continue either….so, it’s up to the third Pelican totem man to defend his tribes honour and capture the boomerang….But he tries and also fails…..
Then the barrackers of the Emu tribe shout with joy, because the Emu totem men have won the prizes; the boomerang and the nulla nulla…
The Pelican totem men in their defeat will take it in good spirits and wave as a sign of friendship and of expressing desire to meet again in the future in a similar challenge…”….adapted from original by D. Unaipon
So…. it’s an attack and defend version of wrestling, running and endurance….and as you can see by the photo above, being placed in Reserves didn’t stop the Ngarakbal warriors from practicing their training….training for a war to defend their land…more on that later thou…..
Some of the more complex traditional games can involve up to 50 men who, using a wooden cross like object that is spun on the surface of the competition ground [moving it like a football between the teams] teaches the important skill of hunting agile game, like kangaroo, emu and wallaby….This ancestral game has also produced some of the best natural footballers in the world
Then there are other more complex gaming events that involve whole tribes gathering to compete….many of these game events will last an entire day, and some even longer….to an outsider these events appear to be war….but this is not the case…the object of these gatherings and sporting events is to solidify community ties and also serves the purpose of exchanging information that improves the skills of making boomerangs and spears…for the women it is a great opportunity to learn new weaving techniques and meet with kin…..but most importantly it was the opportunity to gather and entertain each other with the added bonus of maintaining the spirituality of the land and all it contains….
Upholding the Bootheram [Dreaming] Lore through performance, dance, song and oral tradition is one side of the lore….maintaining a living culture unbroken despite all attempts to wipe it off the map or lock it away to die in Reserves requires stamina…No…the culture never died…it adapted…Taking the best qualities of whatever it was exposed to, maintaining morale and morals, applying the lore’s of healthy competition, endurance, skill and patience…aka, the art of wrestling.

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The Metaphor of the Ice-Ages in Ancient Aboriginal Lore

Australian Bird Tribe Lore is older than anything you will read in any library on this planet…..it comes from the “time before time”….If you know how to understand the levels of the metaphoric information you start to realise that it covers just about every type of scientific discipline known to modern man, and then some…..

glacier 2

Modern Science is only just starting to appreciate how eloquently the ancient oral Bootheram bears testimony to the endurance of the Bird Tribes and their traditions to survive [thrive] throughout time; and recognise it as a priceless global heritage which has long been overlooked and undervalued

We have been conditioned to think that the Australian Indigenous ‘Dreamtime’ stories, which the Ngarakbal and Githabal call Bootheram, are just nice little parables about people, animals and the like [and, actually some Bootheram are just that too]….BUT; within some of the Oral Traditional Lore is profound ancient truth recording the geological, biological, geomagnetic climate events that the ‘Bird Tribe’ ancestors witnessed ‘way, way back in the time before time’…..and these truths are portrayed in Metaphor.

The ancient oral records must NEVER be changed – the penalty; Death…..Now, this doesn’t necessarily mean death by homicide….for this too is a metaphor…..It meant death by ignorance….Perishing, or ‘extinguishment’, as a result of not faithfully maintaining and following the Traditional Customary Lore…..and there is good reason for that…..

volcano 1The ancient cultural knowledge explains everything you need to know about how to survive….It teaches how to survive when the earth is bountiful and stable – ie, cultural knowledge [and totemic responsibilities] for species increase, firestick farming, boundaries, access rights, trade etc…BUT, it also teaches how to survive when the earth is NOT bountiful or stable  – ie; climate change, volcanism, meteorite impacts, etc [and totemic knowledge of what to watch for celestially]….and, it even has mechanisms of how to survive all the associated problems of triggered Ice Ages; Sea-level’s rising and falling, genetic isolation , maintaining and protecting water and food resources, etc….

This important knowledge is taught and celebrated through ceremonial song, dance, stories and traditional tribal design motif’s….that’s the traditional cultural way….In a perfect world it would be revered and respected to remain unchanged as a LIVING LIBRARY…..and in ancient times it was…..and for very good reason….

As we all know, the Earth has cycles…Spring, Summer, Autumn and Winter…and these are linked to celestial cycles – orbits, etc….Bootheram recognises and records this too…….Modern science is only just beginning to unravel the mysteries of our Earth and it’s place in the cosmos and the cycles within the solar system and beyond….and Bootheram records this also…Cycles are about Change…..The ‘old people’ accepted change as an inevitable part of nature….they knew about cycles….and they consciously choose to live in harmony with these cycles…..and there is a very good reason for this..

…”Our Bootheram is like white man’s science…and in many ways it’s better than it….The scientists have only just started figuring out what our old people always knew….about the stars, and the cycles and the water and the animals and the people…how it all works together…..they didn’t listen…what the old people were telling them about back then…. they couldn’t understand then and they’re still catching up” ……….Marlene Boyd

earths magnetic fieldOne of Earths cycles as it journeys through the universe affects the geo-magnetic field of our planet….Geomagnetism is what holds our Earths Polar Axis steady – Magnetic ‘Mother Sun’ on one side and ‘Father Moon’ on the other dance around us, keeping our seasonal cycles even as we journey through the greater universe…..this present cycle of ‘steady seasons’ gave the northern hemisphere tribes time to develop agriculture and centralised habitation over the last 10 – 15, 000 years……which is quiet the polar opposite of the conscious seasonal/nomadic existence of the Australian tribal peoples….for a very good reason

The indigenous ‘nomadic’ lifestyle has historically been portrayed as evidence of the Australia moieties being prehistoric and primitive……The northern hemispheres ‘Roman’ concept of defining a ‘primitive’ peoples was there being no evidence of agriculture amongst the Aboriginal peoples [which isn’t correct either – they do…but we’ll save that for another time]…..Anyway, the action of tilling the soil became the legal ‘Act’ which was used to validate the crowns occupation and tenure of ‘Terra Nullius’ – Captain Cook sailed into Sydney, turned a sod of dirt over on Possession Island – as an act of agriculture – and then planted a flag and claimed Australia for the crown….yes, that’s all it took – according to the crown’s laws and customs…..and ignoring the sovereignty of the Aboriginal peoples Lore…

So…… let’s get back to why there is a very good reason for the [very] conscious choice of the moieties upholding the ancestral Traditional Lore Customs ways and not relying on European agricultural cropping/farming concepts…preferring to live in harmony with all species [‘Skins’] instead of tilling the soil and using mono-culture farming practices …..

As a very ancient isolated island mass – removed from the Northern Hemisphere Cultures and being the last continent to be invaded [only 240+ years ago ]  the ancestral Lore has survived, and thankfully so, because the ‘old people’  knew about Earth Cycles……Earth’s cycles linked to even greater celestial cycles….….and how these greater cycles affect earths [and it’s planetary neighbours] geomagnetism and cause climate change events cyclically….which is very important knowledge…..It’s known as Star Lore ..and it’s intrinsic to Survival.

IMG_335817943612431

Modern Science has been busy leaning about Earths geomagnetism and been able to verify that our planets geomagnetic strength drops and reverses approx. every 250,000 years…these figures have been obtained from drill samples that show 160 million years of cyclic climatic data about the Earth……The reversal events match increased volcanism, meteorite impacts and sea levels cycles since the planet began…….However, there is one distinct exception to the 250,000 year cycle and it’s got the science fraternity very worried……Data is showing that our planet has not had a geomagnetic reversal for the last 750,000 years – and so it’s LONG overdue……Now; they are increasingly worried because their data is showing that during the past decade our poles have migrated 1500km off the ‘normal’ axis… [North and South Pole respectively]……and are continuing to migrate….lots of volcanic activity is occurring – like Yellowstone and India, etc…and lots of wild weather [natural disasters] have been occurring globally during the same 10 year period……

Our planets weakening geomagnetic field is what Scientists believe atmosphereallowed our atmosphere to escape into space in past ‘extinction’ events…Magnetics dropped, oxygen escaped, and masses of species died of asphyxiation…. Currently the atmospheric data is showing that there is a large hole over Brazil…Scientists are monitoring closely…..so are Sovereign Tribal Nations…

The Scientists have also found that [contrary to public belief] the earth does not flip over or roll around in space when the geomagnetic field reverses [making the new north pole Hawaii, or where-ever] and nor does the drop in gravitational force mean that things float off the surface of the earth….No, that doesn’t’ happen at all…..the magnetism just stops….our atmosphere leaks into space….gravitational fields neutralise, and then the magnetic field reverses; and that makes compasses [which currently always point North]  point South instead…it happens fast – according to the data…..As you’d expect it also causes a lot of climatic chaos in the process…escaping atmospheric oxygen, increase in volcanism, meteorite impacts and the like…Bootheram records the same information and also ‘sings’ about the continental drift changing direction and the planet reversing its spin…..in metaphor..

satelites esa trioPresently, because Earth’s geomagnetic field is failing [it’s already weakened by 10% ] the European Space Authority has launched a trio of satellites to learn as much as they can about geomagnetic reversals, as quickly as possible…….they are passing wave frequencies through the planet to measure Earths magnetic field

I must point out that my intention is not intended to scare anyone in regards geomagnetic polar reversal, or profess to be a scientific expert – I’m not….I’m explaining why Bird Tribe Bootheram is so important and must NEVER be changed…..and for your convenience I have provided a whole heap of links about geomagnetic polar reversal at the end of this post so you can check out what the scientists are finding for yourself…..now, back to the Bootheram……

7 sisters 3Earth events [caused by celestial cycles] like Geomagnetic reversals are embedded in the Bootheram metaphoric Lore; and align with the Seven Sisters ‘Skin Lore’- The Ngarakbal and Githabal call the ‘Seven Sisters’ [Pleiades] Waringeh or Waringge:n and they bring the Cold [ie; Ice Ages]…Warick is known as ‘Waring Waring’ and is a ‘djurebil’ [sacred site] for the Ngarakwal/Githabal Bird Tribes…… Seven Sisters traditions are held in many global tribal cultures…..Most of them, including the Roman’s, refer to them as also being BIRDS….but we won’t digress into that just yet as this post is about the Metaphor of Ice Ages in the Ngarakbal and Githabal Bird Tribe Bootheram….the Ngarakbal Githabal are descendants of the Carpet-snake Clans from the Feathered Serpent Traditions…the most ancient lore of the continent

glacier 5Ok, so……..One such Bootheram of the Githabal and Ngarakbal peoples is Dirrangun at Tooloom, and it tells of the END of an Ice Age….the characters who are portrayed within this are given the physical values of being human’s or dogs or trees, etc…it reads like a nice little story about a witch who steals water….but in reality these characters are metaphors for glaciers, planets, mountains and also chronological markers of climatic events……Traditional Bootheram have accompanying songs, dances and ceremonies so that the entire community can keep the knowledge of these events, remember to live in harmony with all species [‘Skins’] – and thus survive together – Cause wouldn’t the world be a sad place without all the colour and biodiversity of the ‘Skins’……Everything is connected and deserves protection and respect….simple…

So that’s why Traditional Bootheram Lore is NEVER allowed to be changed and should never EVER be overlooked or undervalued… …It should be RESPECTED and REVERED always ….Historically, the survival of Humanity depends on it….

Enjoy reading this beautiful Bootheram about Tooloom Falls in Githabal country…..and have a go at decoding the metaphors..

Dirrangun at Tooloom – by Mr Euston Williams– Githabal –  it was recorded in the 1950’s…as part of the civil rights movement

Euston Williams

Some people say that Dirrangun is a witch, that she’s mean and cunning and brings you all the mischief in the world.  Others say that she’s friendly.  But she’s a very old woman and she has long hair down to her knees.

Dirrangun had two married daughters and a son-in-law.  This son-in-law was a buloogan, a well-built, handsome man.  The daughters of the Dirrangun were his two wives.

As far as I can make out from the old people, these two daughters quarrelled with their mother and the buloogan took the quarrel up and sided with his two wives. They starved the old woman; they didn’t pass her anything to have a feed.

Dirrangun’s camp was under a big fig-tree, here at this waterfall which is the source of the Clarence River. There was a basin here, a hollow in the rock, which contained the water.  Tooloom now is the white man’s name for this waterfall.  Tooloom is the nearest they could get to saying Dooloomi.

While the son-in-law and his two wives were out hunting and gathering food, Dirrangun drained the water out of the pool with a bark coolamon.  Some people say that she put the fire out, too, so that there was no fire in the world.

When the buloogan and his two wives came home in the evening there was no water.  The wives were running about all over the place looking for water.  But there was no water.  Dirrangun had put leaves and bark over the empty basin hole in the rock so that the place was hidden.  For two or three days the buloogan and his wives could not get a drink.

Dirrangun was pretending to cry for them.  Some people say Dirrangun was sitting on this coolamon of water in her camp, hiding it.  These people say that when the buloogan found this out, he got angry and cried, “well, your not going to have all the water! I’ll let it out!” He thrust his spear into that coolamon, biggi  we call it, and let it out.

Others say that when Dirrangun, the buloogan and his two wives went to sleep,  the buloogan’s  two dogs,  who were thirsty found the water which Dirrangun had hidden in the coolamon.  You see those two mountains? They were called  Dillalea and Kalloo-Guthun.  They are named after those two dogs.

In the night those two dogs returned to the camp of the buloogan and stood over him.  And the water dripped from their mouths.  When the buloogan  felt this he woke up.  He followed the two dogs back to where Dirrangun was asleep with the hidden water.

rain on a glacier 2When the buloogan  saw where the water was hidden, he was angry.  He made a big rain, a big down-pour rain.  The hollow rock basin began to fill.  The water rose and rose and backed up where this creek is now.

Some say that when the water began to rise Dirrangun climbed into the fig-tree and made a platform in the boughs.  But the water rose and swept her and the fig-tree away and left this hollow beneath these cliffs where the waterfall is now.

Morteon bay fig 2 (2)Dirrangun was holding on to the fig-tree as she was swept away.  She was swept over the second fall, which we call Ngalumbeh.  At the bottom of this fall she was whirled round and round, still holding on to the fig-tree, in a whirlpool for half a day.

The water was getting stronger and stronger.  The buloogan had cursed the water to make it unmanageable.  It took her and the fig-tree away down the Clarence River.  From time to time Dirrangun would sit in the torrent with her legs wide apart trying to block the water, but each time the flood would bear her away.

Where the South River comes into this river, Dirrangun sat with her legs outspread.  The water rose and went up and made the South River.  There she sat until the flood rose and swept her and the fig-tree on again.

fig on the riverBelow Grafton on the river there is a fig-tree growing.  Many old men would see that fig-tree and say, “Oh look! Dooloomi borrgun!”. This means, “that fig-tree belongs to Tooloom!”.  Those old men would say, “Dirrangun. She’s away down there, but she belongs up there at Tooloom.”And I am told that Dirrangun is still in that fig-tree below Grafton.

Tooloom Falls

If you would like to learn more about Geomagnetic Polar Reversal then visit the links I’ve posted below…..most of them are scientific sites…. too much data exists to post it all here so happy surfing…..also, if you’d like to receive more of these posts click Follow on the left hand menu and you will be automatically notified via email or please subscribe to my monthly Newsletter…..Hoo Roo

http://www.nuclearplanet.com/Herndon%…http://www.nytimes.com/2003/12/12/sci…http://www.scientificamerican.com/art…http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/artic…http://www.geomag.bgs.ac.uk/http://www.uu.nl/faculty/geosciences/…http://www.climatemonitor.it/wp-conte…http://esamultimedia.esa.int/multimed…http://britgeopeople.blogspot.co.uk/2…http://nora.nerc.ac.uk/504016/http://seismo.berkeley.edu/~rallen/ep…http://cei.org/publicationshttp://nora.nerc.ac.uk/15800/1/FI_dyk…http://www.pnas.org/content/110/4/121…http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/…http://www.universetoday.com/106723/w…http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/01…http://physics.aps.org/articles/v6/103http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-26166796http://www.annalsofgeophysics.eu/inde…http://www.theregister.co.uk/2013/11/…http://www.esa.int/Our_Activities/Obs…http://www.nuclearplanet.com/http://philadelphia.cbslocal.com/tag/…http://www.biocab.org/Anomalies_Ionos…http://science1.nasa.gov/media/medial…http://science1.nasa.gov/science-news…http://adsabs.harvard.edu/abs/2013EGU…http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/…http://www.geomag.bgs.ac.uk/education…http://www.geomag.bgs.ac.uk/education…http://www.gmanetwork.com/news/story/…http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/…http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetec…http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/in-pictures…http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/artic…

We ALL come from the Bird Tribes

“We are the Bird Tribes…We did not ‘come’ here, we were always here…we were ‘made ’here”. …Marlene Boyd    IMG_1066642208575158

Women are rarely mentioned in the Anthropological literature as owners of country in their own right or as decision making individuals; they appear as wives and mothers, their relationship to the Bootheram always mediated through another….but this is not always Traditional Lore way…

Millie Boyd was an exception to European patriarchal thinking, and so was her Mother Charlotte Williams [nee. Brown] because they maintained their ancestral lore traditions after invasion and in spite of European Authorities

I was very blessed to have known and worked with the late Mrs. Marlene Boyd….Charlotte Williams was her Grandmother…..Marlene was an amazing being. She loved her country – Ngarakbal country, the beautiful Tweed Caldera…..She told me about her Grandmother’s Bootheram, the Fairy Emu Dreaming….It’s a ‘traveling’ Bootheram – the transcontinental songline –  which commences in the Ngarakbal ancestral estate – first place to feel the dawn light of Mother Sun…..It tells the ‘Dreaming Lore’ of one of the Ngarakbal and Githabals supreme creation ancestor ‘Nguthungalli’ who walks towards the west creating the geological features of the landscape as he travels…..He ‘sings’ everything into existence…..

IMG_990054782226358

…”….A big rock stands in the sea six miles from Byron Bay

A man named Nguthungulli made that rock. Nguthungulli is our Father. He’s the Father of the whole world. He’s the man we’ve got to be afraid of. No matter what we do wrong, or where we do it, He’ll know. And no man has seen Him…”……Extract form the Fairy Emu Dreaming by Charlotte Williams [Brown]

Marlene Boyd spent a lot of time insisting to me that her people were always ‘here’……..”We did not come here, we were always here…We were made in the west….We are the bird tribes” she would state emphatically……and then she would ‘sing’….

The Boyd and Williams’s families and their relations are survivors of the crown invasion – post colonisation of Terrra Nullius….Australia – Ancient Island of the Bird Tribes which Marlene said was the origin of all the tribes upon the planet….

The whole Ngarakbal and Githabal community is extremely proud of who they are and what they represent….and deservedly so, for the Ngarakbal and Githabal descendants have always been involved at the ‘coalface’ of indigenous political, environmental and, indeed, scientific developments heaped upon then by government and the crown…..

But their association to this land is much, much older than when Capt. Cook sailed past Cape Byron and first sketched ‘Wollumbin’ and named it Mt Warning for the Crown to ‘claim’ Cooks Sketch Mt Warning 1770

on Tuesday the 15th of May 1770…..For their association goes way, back……into the Dreaming, which they call Bootheram…..way, way, way, back…..

.”The Bootheram is one continuous moment STRETCHED – across time and space”, Marlene told me…..”It’s made in the mountains. It’s made in the water….They can take our land, but they will never take our Bootheram”, she would say……She was a proudly Traditional Lore Woman from a very long line of the same, and even though we would be sitting in my beach shack [which had become the Ngarakbal/Nganduwal Aboriginal ‘office’], when she spoke her Lore, she meant business, and  the spirit of her ancestors came through her loud and clear……

Marlene was very ‘strong’ about who she was and who the Ngarakbal and Githabal are, and of their place within the ancestral tribes of this ancient continent, of which she insisted had always been ‘here’….…

“We are the Bird Tribes….We did not ‘come’ here, we were always here….We were ‘made’ here….”…when she said this she wasn’t just refereeing to Aboriginal Australians, no, she meant the global peoples – from “the time before time – way, way, way, back”….and she wasn’t the only one saying this either….

“They say we have been here 60,000 years. But it is much longer. We have been here since the time before time began … All other peoples of the world come from us.” ……Aboriginal Elder: Page 122 – “Voices of the First Day”

Marlene’s ancestors had been extensively studied by the scientific academics since colonial times and a great raft of research has been collated specifically about these families….one of those academic studies shows the blood sampling that was taken of her grandparents and great grandparents by the government of the early 1900’s….

Now, the Ngarakbal ancestral women’s ‘Skin Lore’ is Biological Genetics in Native Science….the basis of ‘Skin Lore’ determines ‘right way’ marriages, but is by no means limited to just that…like all Lore it has multi dimension facets and layers of meaning……It’s important to remember that an isolated island nation, like Australia, needed to be mindful of avoiding inter-relation marriages that could weaken the genetic strength and health of its people….and so the ‘Skin Lores’ govern that strictly…..it’s matrilineal descent recorded in totem of bloodline descent – through Grandmothers….much like MitochondrialDNA [MtDNA]…

Marlene was adamant that contemporary science was wrong….that, “the Aboriginal people didn’t walk out of Africa” and that it was actually the other way around…She insisted that the ‘Skin Lore’ would show that…..So, she got me to research the science and then we started lobbying government to use MtDNA in Native Title…The by-product of all this Science v’s ‘Skin lore’ was that she showed me, that what she was insisting appeared to be quiet valid….

The research found that in the last 20 years major advances had been made in the study of blood samples, and, interestingly, they directly challenge any supposed African link to Australia’s ancestral people, and dramatically extend the purported 60,000 years of occupation by ancestral tribes to a FAR, FAR GREATER timescale…this had occurred because of advances in cellular and molecular biology – genetics and their origins….To date, even the scientists who first established the “Out of Africa” theory have readdressed their own work and now concede that Australia appears to be the birthplace of ALL modern human beings….

Most notable of these scientists is Rebecca L. Cann, who is currently Professor in the Department of Cell and Molecular Biology at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa…. Cann was the geneticist who made a scientific breakthrough on mitochondrial DNA variation and evolution in humans, popularly called ‘Mitochondrial Eve’….. Her initial discovery and theory was that all living humans are genetically descended from a single African mother who lived <200,000 years ago….this became the foundation of the Out of Africa theory, which she assisted in developing whilst  a doctoral student under the supervision of Dr. Alan Wilson, the then Professor of Biochemistry at the University of California, Berkeley……  Wilson was a pioneer in the use of molecular approaches to understanding evolutionary change and reconstruct phylogenies, and a revolutionary contributor to the study of human evolution…..They had checked all the facts and they were sure that they were right…but they weren’t……

After graduating from Berkeley, Cann continued her mtDNA research.  She has since stated that…..“Mitochondrial DNA puts the origin of Homo sapiens much further back and indicates that the Australian Aboriginals arose over 400,000 years ago from two distinct lineages, far earlier than any other racial type.”…..….and further, that……….“The Aboriginal racial group has a much higher rate of mutations than any other racial group, which suggests that the Aboriginals split off from the common ancestor about 400,000 years ago. By the same theory, the Mongoloid originated about 100,000 years ago, and the Negroid and Caucasians about 40,000 years ago.”….
And Professor Cann was not alone in these findings either…Her ‘new’ research led Wilson to visit Australia in 1985 and he too has had to reformulate his previous theory of “Out of Africa”…more and more eminent scientist then added to the ‘picture’ of our global human origins

Roy Simmons of the Commonwealth Serum Laboratory states, “Australian data indicated that the Aborigines actually evolved earlier than the African Negroes. There was no blood evidence to indicate the African Negroes had any connection to the Australian Aborigines.”…..

Professor Lanarch of Sydney University concurred with Simmon’s insistence the Australian Aboriginals stand alone. “We therefore have no hesitation in omitting the Negritos as the ancestors of the Australian Aborigines.” ….

Cann and Simmons, along with a growing number of academics have now concluded that Aboriginal people are far more genetically diverse than any other population….according to Cann, 10 times more than Africans….

Added to the scientific findings was the voice of Keith Windshuttle, an Australian writer and historian [authored The Fabrication of Aboriginal History, etc]……Windshuttle stated that “fifty years of blood genetic research has failed to provide any clue to Aboriginal origins”…and elaborated with “May I state here and now that our extensive blood surveys conducted in Australia, Indonesia, Melanesia, Micronesia and Polynesia, produced no genetic evidence that the Negro even entered the Pacific.”

It seemed that everything Marlene was telling me from the Bootheram was the truth…”Forget everything they taught you Stella and begin again with the Lore”, she told me…it was blind leap of faith to begin with, but over time the Bootheram always turns up trumps……

One day I’d asked Marlene, why would the government academics collude to keep this amazing information so secretive?…..Was it because of maintaining land tenure?…..Was it to thwart Native Title recognition of Traditional Ownership pre-crown?… Could this whole ‘Out of Africa’ concept be part of a global government ideology to maintain tenure and control of the global sovereign lands…and could this be why they change the maps and the original geospatial linguistic attributions of the names on those maps?….Marlene smiled……”Now you’re getting it girl” she said……….

What a wise old woman….

 

I’ll post the full Fairy Emu Dreaming [in full] in the future, and the Song of Wao – that accompanies it … as only extracts appear on this site at the moment…will also post some of the lobby documents in the future too….so, if you’re interested subscribe to my newsletter so you’ll get them…and check out Sean O’Shea – Byron Bay Artist…..some of his beautiful photo’s feature in my posts…just click on his website is in my links…..Hoo Roo

Aboriginal Significance of Mount Warning/Wollumbin

The Ngarakbal and Githabal are the descendants of the ancient ‘Bird Tribes’ of Australia…..They call the dreamtime, ‘Bootheram’….In 1977 Howard Creamer an Anthropologist for Australian National Parks and Wildlife Services recorded many  of the significant cultural sites within the Ngarakbal Githabal lands as part of the governments Aboriginal Sites Survey…

king Brown -Woolumba

The Ngarakbal and Githabal have witnessed many arrivals into their homelands. Some came in peace, others in war… Many cultures from far away lands have come to this beautiful place over the thousands and thousands of generations just as they come today…and with each arrival, or conquest the Yoocum Yoocum have encompassed these event into their ancestral Bootheram [Dreaming Lore]  – oral traditions, songs and dances of the historical truths about the events that took place in their ancestral lands…because Bootheram is not only the story of the land and all its biological inhabitants, plants and animals, but also the story of the all the peoples who have ever come to this ancient Volcano….the Abode of the Rainbow Serpent.

The Ngarakbal and Githabal refer to themselves as keepers of the ‘Feathered Serpent Lore traditions’ – The Bird Tribes…Birds are the Feathered Serpents, the descendants of the Goanna [dinosaurs]…and the Ngarakbal and Githabal are the descendants of the Bird Tribes…thus,  the Ngarakbal and Githabal are the ancient ancestral moieties of this landscape….They did not come here, they were always here…There lore tells of how they were made here…This ‘knowing’ is held in their Bootheram lore [Dreaming]…..The birds gave them their Lore, their land, and their LANGUAGE….but more on that later

In the meantime, here is the Aboriginal and Anthropological Significance of Mt Warning/Wollumbin  – recorded by Howard Creamer for the Australian National Parks and Wildlife Service in 1997…..it’s an extract of the  transcript of the site registration but I have attached the original site registration…and the original audio file that Howard Creamer gave me…..

Aboriginal and Anthropological Significance of the Site Wollumbin recorded by Howard Creamer, Anthropologist for Australian National Parks and Wildlife Services.

The following information on Wollumbin was recorded by Mrs Milli Boyd [nee Williams] of Woodenbong…see below….She was born at Woodenbong around 1910 and comes from there but her mother and husband were from the Tweed Valley area and she has maintained links there all her life.  Woodenbong is in the traditional territory of the Gidabal people, while Wollumbin is in Nerackbal country. There are today very few people who identify as Nerackbal and the Tweed Valley is now perceived by most people as being within the area of the large Bunjalung tribal language group.  The following transcript of a tape recording made in December 1977 with Millie Boyd explains the significance of the site:

milli boyd [nee Williams]

See they’re three sisters those – there’s Wollumbin, Mebbini, Byorgini that Nimbin Mountain.  That‘s my mothers’s mother’s mountain.  That’s Byorgini and in the middle that’s Mebbini and Wollumbin in the front, like that, you can see it. That’s Mebbini, that story came from here, from Mt Brown, you know where all the birds got together and spoke their lingo and this big bird came up and frightened them. They was talking Gullyval, Muli, Gidabal.  Magpie flew somewhere else.  Parrot flew down there to Evans Head, that’s how thee came to be Bundjalung.  And the wounded parrot flew back right near Lismore out to Casino, you see a gully there,  they reckon the waters blood there, red, where he settled.  And Turkey flew back there, wounded.  That’s why Mt. Warning got that little bend in his neck.  That’s why that National Park,  they look after it very well.

Wollumbin,  that’s a wild turkey.  He flew from Mount Brown to Mount Warning and he stood right on the point and he was wounded on the head with a spear.  That’s why there’s a little point there on the top,  you take good notice today when we get down there.  Yeerin’s there,  that’s where the fairies come from.  He carried the gold there,  right on the point….[Milli sings the song Wollumbin]

Below is the actual Australian National Parks and Wildlife site registration of Wollumbin

Mt Warning Rego #2 of 2

and here is the original recording that Creamer made of Mrs Milli Boyd telling him the significance of Wollumbin and associated sites within the Ngarakbal and Githabal areas……”Biorgini”- Blue Knob, Mt Burrell – Wind Spirit….”Mebbini, Momoli” – Lofts Pinnacle -Eaglehawk….and “Wullumban” , Wollumbin – Turkey

This is just one of many audio files made by Howard Creamer that explain how the Birds gave the Ngarakbal Githabal their Language, Lore and Land…I will be uploading more in the future …so stay tuned or subscribe to my newsletter [its free] and you will automatically receive my posts in your email……..Hoo-Roo

The Women of Wollumbin – Part 1

Warning – this article contains words and images of deceased Aboriginal peoples.

The Women of Wollumbin – Part 1

 copyright Stella Wheildon 2014

Marlene Boyd – Ngarakbal Gulgan 

Marlene 13th Feb 07

Marlene Shanker Boyd – 20th April 1945 – 22nd of February 2007.

The crowning centre piece nestled within the beautiful Tweed Valley Caldera of the Australian east coast is a sacred mountain known to all the aboriginal tribes and moieties across this vast land…..
This ancient volcano caldera is geographically the most easterly point of the Australian continent and the summit of the central mountain is topographically the first place the light of mother sun touches the Australian landscape and triggers awake all the ancestral sites across the country.  It is a sacred creation place of traditional lore and customary culture that is thousands and thousands of years old. It is also the ancestral home of the Ngarakbal dialect moiety and it’s marriage clan, the Githabal, located to the west – following the pathway of mother sun.

The mountain has many names.  One is Wollumbin.  A Ngarakbal word for the name of one of the totemic ancestor creation spirits who “made the mountain”, long ago, way back in the dreamtime or the Bootheram, as the Ngarakbal say….For Bootheram is the Ngarakbal word for the dreamtime and Bootheram can NEVER be changed. That is the Lore.

There are many ancestral Lore Bootheram’s for this ancient place.  Lores that explain things like the geography, history, hydrology, biology, protocols and the myriads of cycles, to name just a few. These Bootheram Lores were passed down through time unchanged and unchallenged, until colonial invasion.

Recent contemporary post-colonial history tried to teach that the ancient Bootheram Lores and cultural wisdoms of the Ngarakbal no longer existed. Having invested decades utilizing divide and conquer war techniques in the attempt to eradicate the wisdom of the ancients and replace the ancient Lores with their own, the crown failed.  For the lore is strong and alive.

So how did this ancient lore wisdom survive?….well, It is Lore protocol to never speak of Lore in any country other than your own ancestral country…and there were many tribal countries before invasion…..and within these countries there are men’s lores and there are women’s lores…..that is the Lore and it is NEVER to be disrespected or changed…the traditional penalty is death.

So I am going to tell you the story of some of the amazing Ngarakbal and Githabal women….the Women of Wollumbin…the “Keepers of the Flame” of the sacred feminine Seven Sisters Lore…descendants of Warriors….Survivors of the 100 year holocaust of invasion…..and how they kept their ancient traditional Lores and customs alive by singing their lifeforce into the cultural embers of their traditional volcano home, as it always has been since the beginning of time.

 Marlene Shanker Boyd – 20th April 1945 – 22nd of February 2007.

Marlene Boyd, her ancestors and her family are an intrinsic part of the Tweed Valley landscape, history and of the ancient origine Lore of Australia. A deeply spiritual woman, her life, and her purpose was always one of responsibility to, and struggle for, her traditional matrilineal lore and culture to be given recognition,  and through that recognition, survival….despite determined opposition she fought for it’s truth all of her life.

Born on the 20th April 1945; into the Ngarakbal Nganduwal Aboriginal Moiety of the Wollumbin Volcano.  Born “In-Country” and schooled at Middle Pocket, Billinudgel, not far from beautiful Byron Bay, Marlene Boyd was the youngest daughter of a traditional skin-lore marriage between a Ngarakbal man Chris Boyd and his Githabal wife Millie.

Marlene came from a long line of warriors.  Her Great Great Grandfather was Kippa Tommy Boyd/Andrews who was incarcerated at the Nerang Aboriginal Reserve in South East Queensland, an area which is the northern part of the famous Australian Gold Coast today.

She was the Great Grand Daughter of ‘King’ Billy Andrews of Murwillumbah; though ‘King’ was a title given by the crown and of no traditional relevance to ancestral culture it served to identify the leading elders of the communities and whom could ‘speak’ the Lore on behalf of the tribal moieties remnant surviving peoples.

Through her maternal grandmother, Charlotte Brown,  Marlene was a direct blood descendant of Wollumbin Johnny [Brown] of Eungella, or ’Ngungulla’ which was how she pronounced it in her dialect. Ngungulla, it’s lush rain forested ridges and crystal clear rivers lay at the foot of the central sacred mountain. The very heart of the Ngarakbal traditional lands and lore.

Wollumbin Johnny [Brown] was a fierce warrior who rallied to push invading native police forces from the original Murwillumbah settlement which had been established at Byangum, where the two rivers meet. His small resistance army fought the invaders back downriver from the sacred mountain, pushing them to the Cudgen ridge were the police had strategically located their main fort.  From this fort a clear view of the caldera and the sea provided a stronghold against the rebel Aboriginal peoples. Fearless warriors who braved the crowns guns, themselves armed only with wooden spears, in one last heroic attempt to stop the relentless occupation of their lands. …’King’ Brown [Wollumbin Johnny] had fought relentlessly against the invading forces but was eventually captured and severely punished. Under the heartless dispersal laws of those times he was systematically relocated away from his traditional country. Sent to a number of police Labour Reserves – enslaved for over 15 years. Two of his relocations included Barambah Labour Camp [now Cherbourgh Aboriginal Reserve], with his last incarceration being at Tin Can Bay Aboriginal Labour Camp in South East Queensland near Gympie. From there he managed to escaped and returned south, traveling over 400km to his ancestral Ngarakwal home. His remains were traditionally tree buried in Eungella.

Marlene Boyd was herself an activist, born into an activist family. A true child of the Aboriginal Human Rights Revolution Campaign’s which commenced in the late 1950’s.  She was 15 years old before she was legally classified as a human being by the Crown.  Marlene had witnessed her grandparents, Euston Williams and Charlotte Brown struggle tirelessly until successfully achieving Human Rights recognition for their people in 1967. Prior to the referendum of 1967 all Aboriginal people were classified as flora and fauna.  They had no legal status as being human being. That abhorrent legislation existed only 48 years ago.

Marlene Boyd and her family are amongst the most highly regarded Aboriginal Lore keepers and Activists ever produced by this country.  The Ngarakbal and Githabal images, language, culture and song have been collected and studied by our most noted academics and educational institutions since the 1800’s, and Marlene furthered this work with many of today’s academics and film makers recording her living culture for her children and grandchildren to proudly follow down through time. Unbroken ancient traditional lore and culture.

Marlene’s Githabal Mother, Millie Boyd [nee; Williams], was a most highly regarded and respected East Coast Elder who became known internationally as a tribal ‘Clever Woman’, teaching ancestral culture, lore and custom of her people – she, like her elders before her was an activist – fanning the embers of her culture to survive…a true giantess amongst her people.

Marlene’s Father, Chris Boyd, had been a Labourer in the Tweed.  In those pre-human rights recognition day’s Aboriginal people could not leave the reservations unless they had an official police labour work permit.  Chris Boyd and his wife Millie managed to obtain labour permits and ‘escaped’ with their children from the suffering and deprivation on the crowded reservations by returning to their ancestral Ngarakbal country.  Throughout Marlene’s and her brothers and sisters childhood the family lived and worked in the Tweed. They resided in several police permit locations at Dunbible, Billinudgel, Terranora, and Duranbah, working on seasonal banana, sugar cane and small crop plantations.

The family often visited friends and relations living on what was once Greenbank Island Aboriginal Reserve in the mouth of the Tweed River, to attended Church services there and at Fingal Heads and also at the Bag Church site in South Tweed Heads….Church was the only means of allowing gatherings in those times…..These clever people used the church meetings as a smokescreen to hide them from the authorities ever watching eyes and ears…and all the while they discussed the need for recognition of their status as flora and fauna to be changed…for them to legally be human beings….for their ancestral lore to be respected.

As large numbers within the coastal churches grew secretly campaigning  the Human Rights movement ,  the young Boyd’s would take messages from Greenbank Island Aboriginal Reserve back to their grandparents, Euston and Charlotte, who were leaders amongst the Githabul activists and still  living on the crowded Woodenbong Aboriginal Reserve Station to the west…. The young Boyd family regularly travelled [under police permit] this journey to assist their Aboriginal Elders in lobbying for the recognition and rights of their Aboriginal culture and people.  This movement was occurring alongside South Sea Islander [blackbirder] descendants of the slaves that the crown had stolen from their island homes. Many of these South Sea Islander peoples were counted amongst the Boyd families closest friends in the Tweed, and together they shared the same struggle to overcome their own loss of connection and enslavement.

The Ngarkbal and Githabal peoples fought, just as their ancestors before them, to keep the embers of their ancient culture and lore alight…they did this by speaking out for the integrity of their ancestral lore to be respected and protected, intact….”talking up culture to save culture”….and never changing the Lore….they walked in truth and eventually they won….in 1967 they were declared human, but they never received possession of their ancestral lands.

Marlene Boyd’s tribal name was ‘Eelemarni’.  She inherited the Fairy Emu ‘Bootheram’ Lore of her traditional landscape through her matrilineal lore, linage and kinship decadency, from her Ngarakwal grandmother Charlotte Brown. Like the true culture women before her, Marlene in her turn, held the title ‘Ellemarni’ and its Bootheram that links the two ancient volcano moieties of Ngarakbal and Githabal….

As Keeper of the Ancient Women’s business of Skin Lore, kinship, totem and descent that gives her people their connection to country.

Marlene Boyd was a living embodiment of one of the Seven Sisters. ‘Ellemarni’ was the ‘Gulgan’ (Keeper) of the Seven Sister’s creation lore and sites within her traditional landscape; and as ‘Ellemarni’ Marlene Boyd held the Seven Sisters creation song from the East Coast Volcano ….She was the Mountain, and would sing the first portion of the trans-continental song line of Australia from the point the sun first touched these ancient shores….this was her totemic skin-lore birthright. Like the women who came before her, Marlene was committed to feeding the fire of these ancient traditions despite many attempts to extinguish that flame. As ‘Ellemarni’ she brought the light of renewal and hope into this land for all of us.

Marlene Boyd was a true Lady. Proud of her identity and heritage, she continued to protect and fight to uphold the integrity of her matrilineal moieties ancient traditions and connections unbroken,  to the very end of her life.  Her sublime strength and determination to keep the women’s Eastern coastal flame alive has inspired people from all over the globe. And many have not hesitated to help her fan the embers of the sacred feminine – and care for country.

Her last film appearance in the film “the Gathering” achieved international recognition and awards. This same film won an award at the Byron Bay film Festival in 2007, just weeks before she passed.

She was a Sister, A Wife, A Mother, An Aunt, A Grand Mother, a Great Grand Mother, A Friend, A confidant, A mentor and A Teacher.  But most importantly she was a Warrior for her people.

Marlene continued her mother’s works and her cultural responsibilities, doing business, walking in her truth….Walking Cultural truth…She passed over at 8.15am on the 22nd of February 2007, still fighting for the right of survival of her Ngarakbal culture in this modern post-colonial world…

She was much loved and respected for it.

Marlene is survived by her children and many beautiful Ngarakbal grandchildren and great grandchildren  in whom the ancestral Bootheram lore traditions and legacy continue on unbroken…..And every morning, as the fire of mother sun lights the summit of Wollumbin sending out the lifeforce to every site across the land, we will remember her warmth, and nurturing and what she did for all of us….7 sister keeper dies