Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Sometimes the history written by the conquerers has more than a grain of truth in it

Feral Beast is, as most of you probably already know, studying some university subjects through Open Universities Australia, some of which have been on Aboriginal history.
It's amazing to learn in his research that there were Aboriginal Peoples in this area, Oakleigh, (oh noez, my stalker will once more know my suburb!) who lived off the fresh water swamps that held masses of fish, eels, yabbis, etc, a tiny less than blink-it-and-miss 150 yrs ago.
Feral Beast in his archaeological digs in the back yard has dug up plenty of tiny shells of a shellfish still found today in fresh/brackish water of swamps, billabongs, etc.
If you figure it that a lifetime is 80 years then only two lifetimes ago Bunurong Aboriginals were living happily here before the white settlers turfed them out.
Not long when you think of it that way, eh?
Most of the area was swamps with trees and shrubs with the usual wallabies and wombats doing their 'eat root and leave' routine - if you wander up Atkinson Street have a gander in the bluestone gutter at the corner of Nelson and Atkinson Streets, make it a dry day or you may not see the natural spring that wends its way through the soil to appear in the gutter.
Water will always find its way, first law of plumbers.
And while you're in that neighbourhood pop into The Avenue off Atkinson Street...just along to your left is a large old oak tree; this was planted in the place of a hollowed out dead red gum that the Bunurong People used as a Meeting Place. They briefly used this oak tree, too, before they got their marching orders.
If you're in a car and heading up FernTree Gully Road, have a good look at the intersection as this is where the Bunurong People once held corroberees and meetings with the Wurundjeri People but don't be afraid to call Glen Waverley by it's original name, Black's Flat; the possessive S was the first to go soon followed by the entire name in the effort of claiming the land for conquering whites hidden behind the simpering political correctness that really wasn't.
What made us snort (in a sarcastic-I-can't-believe-they-swallowed-that-BS type giggle snort) was the fact so many books kept repeating the same lines over and over and over again "The Bunurong People all died out so they closed the Aboriginal Depot at Mordialloc".
So, those girls stolen by the sealers for wives and who had many decendents don't count?
What about all the Bunurong People who moved from the Mordialloc Aboriginal Depot up bush to help establish Coranderrk Mission?
And their decendents must have been figments of everyone's imagination when they were shifted down to Lake Tyers Mission?
The lesson of this surprising research is to keep looking and sometimes you'll find that the accepted, oft-repeated fact is in fact fiction.
After all, we no longer believe the world is flat...do we?


  1. What do you mean, the World isn't flat?

    What is it then?

  2. "at the corner of Nelson and Atkinson Streets, make it a dry day or you may not see the natural spring that wends its way through the soil to appear in the gutter."
    A Melbourne Water issue I think.

    Actually, I would like to see this. I can think of other places I have noticed where this happens. I assumed they were permanent leaks, but maybe not.

  3. It's kinda wibbly-wobbly, timey-wimey, Nikki... or so David Teninch stated in the fab episode Blink :P

    It's one of the many natural springs that feed (or did feed) Scotchman's and Gardiner's Creeks. Only an itty bitty wet spot these days, unfortunately.

  4. It is amazing the history that you can learn just in place names or things that make you go "hmmm".

    I saw (on some crap tv show one weekend) that there is now an Aboriginal history and culture tour you can take at the Gold Coast that will show you where the corroboree grounds were and why.

    And if you ever wonder about the overuse of the name "Boundary Road" - it was generally a geographic line that the aboriginals were not allowed to cross.