I’m really energised by people who are stepping out to discover our Australian faith stories ‘on location’. I was intrigued when my friend Mawson Skidmore told me how he had plunged students from his English as a Second Language course into a firsthand experience of the Aboriginal’s civil rights struggle at the Cummeragunja ‘scholars hut’ that sits almost forgotten on the Murray River near Echuca. Listen to his reaction.
“My impression after getting to know a few of these stories was – ‘Why didn't I know anything about this?' - they are pretty amazing and are not peripheral in the history of the nation (although peripheral in the told history). The teacher of the second class I took with mine up to Cummeragunja had the same response. I wrote and thanked the Land Council Head (Hadyn Love) for organising for someone to come and show us around the school house and the cemetery and let him know some of my musings…that the schoolhouse should be a National Monument - it's a story that should be told and told well.
We watched your clip on Daniel Matthews today [see other resources at the end of this blog] - and it is like what you were saying - there's a fair bit of darkness to much of that story (which shouldn't be shied away from) - but at Maloga and Cummeragunja and the people that went out from there, there are flames of light and hope.”
I was on the hop between the Central West and the South Coast of NSW listening to eminent historian Tom Holland paint a graphic picture of the ancient Persian Empire and the power and glory of its kings. It was nothing short of epic!
Oddly enough, I was expectant as I wound down the Western escarpment of the magnificent Kangaroo Valley, that I’d find a story. I read that George Evans, the first European explorer looking down from the heights, had exclaimed it was ‘a view that no painter could beautify.’
Sure enough, tucked away in an unlikely corner, there it was. Housed in a bush museum, nestled beside the fine sandstone suspension bridge, I found a tiny essay on the major shift in Australia’s colonial history, when ‘settlerism’ replaced the era of convict reform.
Join The Outback Historian, Paul Roe, on an unforgettable journey into Australia's Past as he follows the footprints of the Master Storyteller and uncovers unknown treasures of the nation.