The 26th of January is currently recognised as Australia Day, a day to celebrate all things we love about Australia, the land, the lifestyle, the diversity, the nature and animals and the people that make this country the place we call home. I say currently recognised, as one day the date may change, a contentious issue for some.
Tucked away off the busy Goolwa Terrace is an interesting park full of Australian plants native to the area and a pathway leading through them, dotted with interpretive signage. The signs explain how the plants were used by the local indigenous Ngarrindjeri people for food and medicine. The park was created in 2007 as a joint project between the Alexandrina Council, the Ngarrindjeri people and local artists and is intended to bring people into a welcoming and healing space to learn a bit of history as you meander through.
There’s a lookout area that you can drive into as you enter the town of Victor Harbor on the Fleurieu Peninsula in South Australia that’s often overlooked by those of us familiar with the area. The view is always something that grabs your attention as you drive into the town and is one that makes you go wow as you see the big blue expanse of water come into view. From here you can also see Granite Island and the causeway that leads to it, and the hills of Victor Harbor with houses sprawling in all directions.
This week is NAIDOC week in Australia. It’s held each year in July and is a chance to promote and celebrate the history, culture and achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. This year’s theme is VOICE. TREATY. TRUTH. and as in other years the goal is to continue moving forward for a better future.
Sometimes you don’t have to venture too far from home to be transported to somewhere pretty special. Tucked away between beachside houses and the sand dunes that border Goolwa Beach in South Australia is one such place, Tokuremoar Reserve. This peaceful little patch of scrub is an ancient remnant Tea tree reserve that has a wide path for walking or riding through and forms part of the larger Encounter Bikeway trail that runs between the towns of Goolwa and Victor Harbor.
I live in Peramangk country, the traditional land of the Peramangk people, just one of over 250 language groups of the first people of Australia. I have been privileged to have been part of a smoking ceremony conducted by an aboriginal elder in my town, which involved being immersed in the wafting smoke from smoldering eucalyptus leaves as he silently walked among us. If you ever get the chance to be involved in one of these ceremonies as part of a welcome to country I would urge you to do it, it’s quite a moving and special experience and one that is significant in cleansing the past for a better future.