Monday, 27 April 2009
Our unsung Aboriginal diggers
A sense of community was paramount during this commemoration of Australian servicemen and women: this was the Redfern mob in its country town guise. Weaving his way creatively through the Order of Service, Reverend Ray Minniecon exhorted the sea of faces to come together for each other: for past generations and for future generations.
Although no more than a kilometre, the distance from The Block to Redfern Park covered a milennium of longing: for respect, inclusion and friendship. As I worked my way among the throng, I was embraced continually and blessed with gently falling words, softly spoken. Being used to the harshness of the aboriginal street scene of a humdrum working morning or evening, my protective racist shell momentarily melted.
Big-wigs mixed with the hoi-poloi, as the unique ceremonies of time, place and mob progressed in the most meandering of lines: smoking ceremony, christianity, Leonard Cohen, ecology and the most heart-felt of exhortations for the next generation from David Williams, ex-HMAS Vampire. The Governor - or Auntie Marie - was on home turf.