Floating Life 4/06 ~ 11/07

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A Guringai Family’s Story: guest entry by Warren Whitfield

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Written by Neil

November 22, 2006 at 9:06 am

6 Responses

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  1. Thank you Warren (and Neil) for this story.

    Jim Belshaw

    November 22, 2006 at 10:00 am

  2. Something similar story to my grandmother Lucy Williams (nee Pike) who was part Aboriginal but the family will not admit it. My website is http://www.freewebs.com/daone89/index.htm

    cedric williams

    November 25, 2006 at 3:52 am

  3. Thanks, Cedric. Your site is very interesting.

    On that site Cedric writes:

    I’m one of the many descendants of John Williams, who was a reluctant soldier, a Welshman in the English army and his wife Sarah, daughter of William Nash, a marine in the First Fleet to Australia, 1788, and Maria Haynes, convict (or not a convict) according to which family history you read)

    He ran off after being brutally flogged but was recaptured and sentenced to penal servitude and transported to the convict settlement of Port Jackson, now Sydney, New South Wales, Australia.

    He lives in Canada these days, but I note his life (like mine) goes back to The Shire and Woronora Cemetery. It was in the bush near there that I first sensed that haunted spirit of the bush which D H Lawrence so perceptively describes in Kangaroo, and as Cedric says, I now believe (without being all Twilight Zone about it) it was some sense of this:

    I guess I won’t be going back to fill a plot in Woronora cemetery, after all.

    So long Australia, land of my ancestors, pioneers and convicts and maybe some dark people flitting through the red-gums, where they hunted for the last forty thousand years.

    One found traces here and there in rock overhangs, or grooves on rocks by the creek, and one wondered…

    Most pioneer Aussies, were not habitual churchgoers, as they came from Britain’s lower classes, and were not known for reverence of religion. That was the domain of the middle classes, while the richest social segments used religion to hold onto their high positions of power and land and money. Superstitions and religion have always been used to bamboozle the plebs and keep them in their place.

    These pioneers had their children baptized as the easiest way to establish a birth notice. The struggle for life’s necessities gave them little time either for education or church-going, but they became experts at fencing a few acres, chopping wood, washing babies’ bottoms and cooking kangaroo-tail soup among other things.

    Some other things would include how to get bush ticks out of cattle and kids, and giving birth without medical help and dying far from clergy.

    It is not surprising that the Australian psyche evolved with a disdain for cant and dogma but with an underlying sense of fair play and social justice.

    This attitude eventually was belatedly directed towards the Aboriginal original inhabitants, but it took a long time.

    In the early days, brutality was so common from government administration down even towards ordinary citizens, and blacks were considered subhuman vermin, to be contained, bred white, worked with little pay and otherwise ignored.

    Go and read Cedric’s stories.


    November 25, 2006 at 7:59 am

  4. Neil, I will write something properly on this post because it deserves promotion. I have given Warren’s business two plugs so far in stories.

    On Cedric, I looked at his site. I wonder whether he went to school at TAS or De la Salle. I was interested in the Armidale connection.

    Jim Belshaw

    November 25, 2006 at 4:45 pm

  5. Thanks Jim, I was at T.A S. for awhile but because my family could not afford the fees I transferred to Armidale High School and boarded at St John’s Anglican. I remember playing De la Salle College rugby union and they almost always won, because I was told they did not get supper if they lost the game.

    I used to eat pie peas and potatoes at Sourris cafe. Peter Sourris was in fifth year when I was in fourth. He was in my dorm, as was Geoff Nunn who was a champion butterfly stroke swimmer and also there was a son of a Tenterfield bank manager whose name i can’t recall but who was a swot and came first in most subjects.

    I remember bicycling out to Black Mountain and excursions to Walcha and the surrounding bushland. I have a story about it and I will try to persuade my son to put it on the webpage soon.

    cedric williams

    November 28, 2006 at 5:43 pm

  6. This post is constantly attracting spam, I’m sorry to say; I am therefore closing comment. You can use the contact page or the guest book to respond.


    November 13, 2007 at 8:53 am

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