Wednesday, June 9, 2010

MAPS PART 4: Aboriginal Australia

Click to enlarge

This remarkable map was developed by Dr David Horton and the Australian Institute of Aboriginal amd Torres Strait Islander Studies (AIATSIS) in 1994 and you can read more here at inquiryBITES if you go to the top right hand sidebar and click on The Critical Classroom then in the left sidebar under Categories go down to Topic: Map of Australia for the story.
Its remarkable for many reasons...  critically because it reminds non-indigenous Australians like myself immediately of the deeper story of this continent - the one that was certainly covered up very profoundly during my school days.

These sites are highly informative in the area of eduction for teachers of Aboriginal and Torres Straits islanders and for all interested in topical issues past, present and future in this community. Read about the two women behind these sites under 'A brief Story of Us' on The Critical Classroom site . Leesa Watego and Lisa Buxton are clearly extremely active in in their various fields and Leesa is a very media savvy woman indeed... She seems to have an impressive foothold on the net - read her google profile to see what I mean! It must be a busy household... 4 children and partner to Vernon Ah Kee who you can read about here referring to when he represented Australia at the Venice Biennale last year. You'll find a valuable introduction piece to read here at the Sydney Morning Herald to put you in the picture on this exceptional artist. I posted something here as well on the Homage blog in February on a Urban Aboriginal Artist Collective called proppaNOW that this artist is active in here in Brisbane.

Now for something very unique discovered at one of Leesa's sites. 

Sydney Rock Art Engravings found through Google Maps: sorry but these dont open on clicking!

One that I looked up on the google map took me via the engrossing SYDNEY ABORIGINAL ROCK ENGRAVINGS weblink to the Elvina Track Engraving Site at Kuringai National Park.

The photograph above shows the aboriginal "emu-in-the-sky" constellation in the sky. It won its creator, Barnaby Norris, third prize in the prestigious 2007 "Eureka" awards.
To see the "constellation", look at the dark dust-clouds, not the stars!
Below it is the emu engraving at the Elvina engraving site, in Kuring-Gai Chase National Park, near Sydney The constellation is positioned above the engraving as it appears in real life in Autumn.

 You will find a link to aboriginal astronomy here as well so it is worth hopping over to look over this magnificent site. Posting this prompted memory of so many things... like the once-in-a-lifetime-trip I took to Aboriginal Rock Art Sites all over NSW - 18 years ago - as cook on a 2 week camping trip for a dozen people from all over who were attending a conference in Townsville on Aboriginal Rock Art following this tour. We spent 2 days at sites very close to Sydney - but I would have to search for papers to be sure now this was one of them.
What a memorable trip!

Well that is the last post for the time-being I will dedicate to maps. There is so much to explore just here.
I hope your have enjoyed this wild journey around the globe (and into outer space) in these 4 posts!



Caio Fernandes said...

this is so interesting . and i surprise .as i am at the other side of the world , aboriginal maps never was something on my mind .

Mlle Paradis said...

oh Sophie - as always an em-bloggisment (i invented a new word!) of riches here as always, but kinda specially! i'm sitting here with my diary trying to plot out the week and will have to block in some special time to explore with you. you are making me dream and think of all sorts of new connections. love the aboriginal stone engravings.

at least you all are beginning to have some of these discussions. there may have been a very brief time in the seventies, but you know America HAS NEVER really come to grips with its wholesale annihilation of native americans here. and it was not so long ago at all.

Sophie Munns said...

Hello Caio,
thanks for stopping to look... its the most interesting map and its a shame you can read it closely...but you can appeciate at least from the enlarged map that it represents such a diversity of cultural groups, languages and stories of place in these hugely diverse landscapes, climates, eco-systems and so on.

I now live on the east coast (just below) halfway between top and bottom of the east coast. And the name of the State gives away Colonisation...its called 'Queensland'.

I am pleased to say not all place names in Australia are British and there are many childhood memories of places we would visit with wonderful aboriginal names that we delighted in saying and left me wondering long after about who had been there and what is must have been like before all the building and development.
Those name collected a lot of poetic memory around them for me in my simple childhood musings.

see you,

Sophie Munns said...

Dear Mlle Paradis,
Delighted to read your new word and that you found inspiration here... as i certainly did.
That image of the engravings at night is so wonderful yes? It makes one think of the countless stories that have been told over millennia on this continent - campfires, night time, starry skies and deep story.
Yes...conversations are shifting here as those who have the enduring relationship with this land find their voice...more and more... all the time.
And talk about finding a voice...a glance at Leesa Watego's google profile shows a woman of imput and output- a catalyst... a vital mouthpiece and connecter... as her partner is in his realm.
I must say I am not hearing much dialogue on native american themes these days.... is that just my lack of attention or that that has slipped under the radar? If its slipped thats alarming!
Im hoping to see here where I live what I noticed in Wellington, NZ - the way the Maori language is used on public signage around the city by their council. This public signage uses Maori first and English second and this speaks loudly to let visitors know they are moving about in a place that is part of Maori heritage.
Look forward to talking with you MP...