Connecting with country

Yesterday afternoon I had a special experience, going down to Yundi, a little settlement of sorts down towards Victor Harbor, for a walk and talk in Warki country. It was part of the Nature Festival, which is happening at the moment, and Liz a dear friend whom I used to work with, was part of making it happen. The Warki are a ‘lost’ tribe of local Aboriginal people who lived there and whose name was subsumed, along with a host of other smaller groups, under the general term Ngarrindjeri (easier for Europeans to learn one name rather than 18 apparently). Mark Koolmatrie, an indigenous guy from Raukkan, has been researching it all, and took us for the walk. It was beautiful watery country – dams and swampy areas, lots of plants, and a beautiful peaceful feeling. The dispossession of the old people happened a long time ago – over 150 years – and it’s hard to get specific information, so it was wonderful to have this name back again. Mark’s warmth, enthusiasm and humour made it easy to imagine folk there in this beautiful place, going about their business, leading productive lives for so many generations. It felt very special to be there with a good group of people, wandering through and then eating a lovely afternoon tea around the fire. Mark did a smoking ceremony at the start of the day, and we passed the message stick around to introduce ourselves. The pics above give a bit of a flavour of the afternoon. The painted walking stick was made and given to Mark by one of his kids for father’s day recently. There are also a couple of pictures of reflections in water – the dams were really gorgeous. There were also some stunning trees – note the very stringy stringybark…

I felt so grateful to be there, finding out about local indigenous people and thinking about the lives that were lived here for so many many years before being uprooted so harshly; trying to find ways to acknowledge painful history and to relate to Aboriginal people more respectfully, more curiously, more hopefully now.

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4 Responses to Connecting with country

  1. Nel Morrison says:

    Beautiful description of the day Elizabeth. I very much enjoyed it Nel x

  2. romi789 says:

    Lovely description and photos too, very evocative.

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