On Anzac Day this year, which was mid-week, I did something a bit different. Instead of going up and down to Auburn (and dad wasn’t coming down this year) I stayed in town, and caught up with Nicky (who has appeared in these pages many times as a regular and valued responder, as well as sometimes in posts ). In the afternoon we went into the city to the launch of a film called Coming Home, at the Mercury Cinema. It was made by some young indigenous film-makers, and had a theme appropriate to the day. It was about a two of the many Aboriginal men (21 in total) from Raukkan (Point McLeay mission at the time) on Lake Alexandrina who went off to World War 1. They were brothers, Cyril and Rufus Rigney, and they both died in the Western front in 1917; Rufus is buried at in a war graves cemetery in Belgium, Cyril doesn’t have a known grave, but his name is on the memorial at Ypres. It was a short film but very moving, with an interview with a relative of the dead boys, Verna Koolmatrie, telling of how she and others from Raukkan went to Europe to find the memorials to the boys and how a French man was using found metal from the war – bullets and schrapnel of various kinds that still turns up in local fields – to melt down and re-form into little figures representing soldiers who died, to give to family members. For Verna, having these small figurines was a way of bringing the boys back home, and meant a lot.
It was a great afternoon, with discussion with the film-makers after the film showing, and a terrific example of community-based art work. I did a fairly poor job of taking pictures, but have snaffled some off the internet so you can get a bit of a sense of the day, and some of the people involved, through the shots below. It was a great tribute to those long gone young men, and a wonderful opportunity to develop film-making skills while doing a meaningful and positive project.