This week we’ve been away from the city. We’ve been in Daylesford, in the goldfields.
Today is the national holiday, which is actually a day of mourning for our First Peoples. This year there’s been more momentum than to change the date.
While we’ve been in Daylesford I’ve noticed a few things around the town which I think call us toward new possibilities as a nation.
They are a nest sculpture at the Wombat Hill Botanical Gardens…
…a park bench with a Greek proverb written on it…
and a community garden full of murnongs (yam daisies):
I think we are being invited to conceive Australia in a new way.
We could say that Australia is an opportunity to grow a sense of home.
There is a sense that every people group that makes up this modern country has experienced the trauma of losing of home.
That could be an experience that brings us together.
It could be an experience that calls us to grow a sense to home, a nest, to create a new society together.
It could be an invitation to create a place where other dislocated peoples can sit and find shelter. (We could recognise other dislocated people as going through the Australian experience.)
But that has to start with hearing the stories of dispossession and dislocation that our First Peoples have experienced.
January 26 could be a day when we acknowledge this, instead of a day where we get smashed, trying to forget the trauma of our colonial history.
What’s remarkable about the yam daisies growing in the community garden is that they were a staple vegetable for First Peoples in this part of the land. They were mostly destroyed by European colonists’ herd animals. This seriously diminished the food that was available to First Peoples.
I wonder, could restoring the murnongs be a step of repentance for Settler peoples?