Remembrance Day and remembering…

“On the 11th hour, of the 11th day of the 11th month… we will remember them”. 

Right now I’m remembering back when I was shooting down the shop to do some messages and mum reminded me to “keep my wits about me” because it was Remembrance Day and when it turned 11 o’clock I was to STOP what I was doing, bow my head and remember those who gave their all in the War.

Querulous me asked… “but how will I know if it’s 11 o’clock” for I had no watch.  “Just keep your wits about you Catherine”… I did and I knew it was “the time” because everything, and everyone, stopped and the silence was palpable.

Remembrance Day is indeed the time for remembering and finally the War Service of our Indigenous Australian’s has been recognised with the unveiling of our Nation’s first memorial, here in Adelaide, South Australia dedicated to all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Servicemen, and Servicewomen  and  and my heart just about bursts with pride and happiness.

I also learn that the Boer War, more than 110 years ago, marked the first time Aboriginal soldiers served on active duty with Australian services and then remember another reason to be proud to be South Australian. It’s that magnificent statue in our C.B.D. at the corner of King William Street and North Terrace honouring the 12,000 Australians who served in the six colony contingents which was the first time Australians had served/ fought overseas but because it was before “Federation” has been largely overlooked. These soldiers were volunteers and mostly mounted units known as MOUNTED RIFLES, BUSHMEN or IMPERIAL BUSHMEN. In honour of the 600 who died the SOUTH AFRICA WAR MEMORIAL was unveiled, here in Adelaide, on 4 June 1904 by Governor Le Hunte.

“Your stature is a statue of action and it betokens the action of Empire when it is called for” 

Then sadness overtakes me as I remember those whose sacrifices certainly are not honoured, not respected and their memorials are moved and/ or destroyed. To read about this please follow this LINK.

RESOURCES:
http://www.adelaidenow.com.au/news/south-australia/nations-first-aboriginal-war-memorial-at-torrens-parade-ground-unveiled/story-fni6uo1m-1226756887144?sv=143efa29cdfb8ab475c78f7bae4f9be4#.Un98T9I0ZJA.facebook

http://www.antiquarianprintgallery.com.au/Boer-War-1899.htm

Copyright © 2013. Catherine Ann Crout-Habel

THOUGHTFUL THURSDAY: Australia’s “Close the Gap Day” and Constitutional change…

THINKING - Hmmm.cloudThinking… navel gazing… reflecting… call it what you like.  I love it!

From the time I was “knee high to a grasshopper” I’ve always wondered WHY? … asked endless questions and no doubt driven those around me nearly crazy, which is probably why I’d sometimes get infuriating answers like:

*  It’s  a wig- wam for a goose’s bridle.
*  That’s for me to know and you wonder about.
*  Just because…

As this blog is a legacy for my descendants, I’ve decided to start up “Thoughtful Thursday” posts to share some of the thoughts which have engaged me.  Maybe other readers will enjoy them too and may have had similar thoughts?

If you have your own “Thoughtful Thursday” reflections it’d be fun if you share and I’ll set up some sort of a link. How I would do this I have no idea… guess that’s another “Thoughtful Thursday” post for another day… but seems pretty “do-able”, I reckon.

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My thoughts, this week, have been flying around all over the place… hither and thither… and is why, despite having done all the research long ago, this weeks “Tuesday Trove” post was rather late off the “starting blocks“.

Australian Aboriginal Flag

Australian Aboriginal Flag

Then not so long ago it all hit me right in the very centre of my forehead and my thoughts focussed totally on matters to do with our original Australians. This was prompted by a FaceBook post from Lanie, the delightful niece of my former husband whom I also claim as my own. Up popped the following vid, from Lanie,  titled “Generation One Real Studies”

Aboriginal warning.vid

Ohhh… reached into my very soul, touched my heart and gave it a good old tweak. Of course the long term unemployed, and those who’ve grown un with generations of welfare dependancy, are stuck in a rut don’t know how to get out and need REAL training for REAL jobs, not these “mickey mouse” training schemes which “tick all the boxes” but are meaningless, useless and unfocussed.

Close the Gap

So me, being me, I went “a-googling” and was SO surprised to discover that TODAY, the 21st March 2013, is our Australian “National Close the Gap Day”

HOOLEY DOOLEY!!! … how come I knew nothing about this? …

Closing the Gap.

Then, a little earlier today this wonderful breaking news hit the media…  the South Australia’s Parliament is expected to approve recognition of Aboriginal people in the state’s constitution.

So proud, am I to be a South Australian on this memorable day. A bill to amend the constitution received bi-partisan support in the Lower House and will go before the Upper House this afternoon and is expected to be passed. The bill recognises past injustices and acknowledges Aboriginal people as the traditional owners and occupiers of South Australia. Aboriginal Affairs Minister, Ian Hunter, says the change is long overdue.

“For too long, our foundation document, our South Australian constitution was a blank canvas in terms of mentioning Aboriginal South Australians. It had no recognition of them and paid no respect to them whatsoever.”

Aboriginal leader and convenor of an advisory panel on the bill, Professor Peter Buckskin, says the amendment acknowledges that Indigenous people were dispossessed of their land.

Professor Peter Bucksin

Professor Peter Bucksin

“There is now a new respect for our culture that has survived the 175 years of that dispossession.

This process has really been one of continuing the reconciliation journey. It’s getting more South Australians to understand Aboriginal culture, traditions and knowledge and our connection to our country, land and sea”

Here’s a clip of the wonderful Warrumpi Band with “Jailangaru Pakarnu” for your enjoyment and in celebration of “Close the Gap Day 2013″.

So, there you have it… my focussed thinking for this week.

Hoping that if this week hasn’t been the most WONDERFUL ever for you that you’ve got through it OK and have come out smiling on the other side.  Cheers, Catherine.

CATHERINE.ME

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RESOURCE re: Constitutional Change in South Australia.
http://www.abc.net.au/news/2013-03-21/constitutional-recognition-for-indigenous-south-australians/4586158/?site=indigenous&topic=latest

Copyright © 2013. Catherine Ann Crout-Habel

MUSICAL MONDAY: The Drover’s Boy

The Drover's Boy.“The Drover’s Boy” is a song by Ted Egan and recalls the time when it was illegal for Caucasians and Aborigines to marry, and the death of an Aborigine went unnoticed by the white community. This popular and moving Australian folk song comes from a true story about a Caucasian drover (the Australian name for a cowboy or sheep herder) who is forced to pass off his Aboriginal wife as his “drover’s boy”. Ted Egan wrote this song as a tribute to the Aboriginal stockwomen, in the hope that one day their enormous contribution to the Australian pastoral industry might be recognized and honoured.

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The drover

Ted’s song has been expanded into a book… the details can be found HERE.

THANKS TO: Wikipedia… please click HERE for the link and further information.

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Copyright © 2013. Catherine Ann Crout-Habel

Reconciling Black & White Australia

Eliza Jane (Rowen) Murray - (c) C.Crout-Habel

Eliza Jane (Rowen) Murray – (c) C.Crout-Habel

I well remember the sob in mum’s voice as she spoke about how her Grandmother was abused and often called a “filthy Irish bitch” as she walked through the streets of her country town on the way to do the washing for the local hotel… with a child in tow and one on her hip.

My Great Grandmother Eliza Jane was a first born Australian with an Irish mother who had immigrated, at the age of 18, to escape the aftermath of the “Irish Potato Famine” into which she’d been born and had managed to survive. The family story is that her parents were told, by their Landlord, that at least one of their children had to emigrate or they would be evicted and so my Susan Kelleher, and her sister Bridget, headed for South Australia under an “assisted passengers” scheme.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are advised that the following may contain names, images or voices of the deceased.

Part of my Family History narrative is also about the problems my pioneering ancestors had with “the Blacks“. Stories of how, as Eliza Jane would sit on the verandah of their modest homestead, whilst her husband was working away, with a babe in arms to try and escape the cloying nightime heat  and being terrified by the eerie sounds of “the Blacks having a corroboree” in the nearby creek. Added to this was her fear, when she was home alone, and aboriginal women would come knocking on the door for “tea and baccy” whilst their men were standing further back with spears in their hands.

So many similar stories peppered my childhood. Added to this is that my very first personal experience was when I was about 10 years of age an Aboriginal family moved in nearby. It was not a positive one. However, what is also very clear in my memory is mum talking about the Aboriginal families, who shopped in the Port Adelaide branch of David Murrays where she worked, and how they were the best “payers” and the most honest of their shoppers.

Inspired to paint the Playground equipment in Aborignal colours. (c) C.A.Crout-Habel

Inspired to paint the Playground equipment in Aborignal colours. (c) C.A.Crout-Habel

Of course it’s not surprising, given my family background, that matters of Social Justice were always at the forefront of my professional life and so was delighted to join with others in agreeing to “pilot” the draft Aboriginal Education programme in our South Australian school. The “lightbulb moment” came unexpectedly and I burst forth with copious tears on the realisation that my GGGrandmother, who fled her home-land because colonisation had dispossesed her Ancestors of their land, then became an instrument for our Indigenous Australians to also have their land taken from them.

We were taught how our Aboriginal people passed on their Family History in dance (c) C.Crout-Habel

We were taught how our Aboriginal people passed on their Family History in dance (c) C.Crout-Habel

It’s such a joy to remember back to those years when we happily worked to educate the new generation about the culture, the spiritual “dreamtime” and customs of our “First Australians”. We read their “dreamtime” stories, sang songs, cooked their food, experimented with their art work

How wonderful it was to have teachers and students from the nearby “Kaurna” kindergarten come join us and teach some of their language. e.g. the well known “Heads, shoulders, knees and toes” ditty but sang in the language of the Kaurna people. What a privilege!

To read more about this programme please click HERE

There’s been a bit of “blah blah blah” circulating and some very blatant racist comments hitting the airwaves, and social media, recently as a result of Australia Day 2013 which is so expected it just about bores me “to smithereens”… but am delighted that the Reconciliation Australia Blog clearly  describes how there has been a huge change in attitude with younger Australians which gives such hope and points the way forward for the continuing healing of our peoples.

Music and song has always been a wonderful way of reaching through differences, making connections and healing pain so, in closing, must share one of my most favourite songs… “My Island Home”. This is the original version by the renowned, and celebrated, Warumpi Band.

Cheerio… Catherine.

Copyright © 2013. Catherine Ann Crout-Habel

Australia Day 2013 ~ Remembering Susan Kelleher & Harry Crout…

Australia Day Smiley FaceIt is with great pleasure that I take up Helen Smith’s 2013 Australia Day Challenge. Helen writes:

“Australia Day, 26th January is a day we celebrate what makes us Australian.

Regardless of whether your ancestor came 40 000 years ago or yesterday and regardless of where they were from, together their descendants are Australian.

Your challenge (should you choose to accept it) is to tell the story of your first Australian ancestor.”

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I began this blogging journey one year ago today, Australia Day 2012, as a means of sharing my genealogy research, and family stories, with my Ancestor’s descendants wherever they may be. In fact, the very title of this Blog, “Seeking Susan ~ Meeting Marie ~ Finding Family” reflects this focus which has been described in ABOUT THIS BLOG

Flag of South Australia

Flag of South Australia

There are LINKS provided below to the many stories I’ve written already about the first of my Ancestors to migrate to this wide, brown land and settle in South Australia. Some may be of interest to you.

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On my maternal side, the first to arrive was my Great Great Grandmother, Susan Kelleher, who at the age of 18 travelled from County Clare, Ireland, to South Australia, on the ill-fated ship the “Nashwauk”.

Kelleher, Susan

* To read about the shipwreck, as Susan was finally close to land, just click HERE

* Cc – is for Cousin Lizzie, provides a great deal of information about Susan’s life

* It’s an ongoing battle to ensure that the anchor from Susan’s ship, the Nashwauk, is indeed put back on public display and does not just disappear… You can read about this HERE

* This LINK will take you through to my attempts, so far, to locate Susan’s family in Ireland

* Lately I’ve become most interested in discovering how Susan’s life, just 19 years after South Australia was colonised, compared with that of one of our greatest explorers, John McDouall Stuart. It’s a work in progress and, if interested, just click HERE

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The first of my paternal ancestors to arrive in Oz is my dad, Harry Scarborough Crout. Like Susan, he too was an “assisted migrant” although 73 years later but for exactly the same reason i.e. as an Agricultural Labourer to enable those who’d come earlier to develop their land… always with the hope/ promise that ultimately they too would become “landholders”.

My dad as I remember him when I was a child  (c) 2013.  C.A.Crout-Habel.

My dad as I remember him when I was a child (c) 2013. C.A.Crout-Habel.

* Dad was only 16 years old when he arrived in Sydney Harbor, NSW, as part of “Dreadnought Scheme” in 1928, just as the iconic “Sydney Harbour Bridge” was reaching it’s final stages of construction. You can read about it HERE

* This LINK talks about dad’s birthplace in Leeds, Yorkshire, England… which turns out to be his maternal Grandmother’s home and has recently provided me with lots of family links :-)

* HERE I’ve written about finally locating dah’s beloved home in Mossman Street, Windhill, Shipley,Yorkshire, England.

* Dad’s first wife, Connie Evans, who was my mum’s beloved older half sister, died 2 months after giving birth to their still born “Baby Crout”. So grateful was I to be able to ensure that there’s a memorial to him, and his parents, at the West Terrace Cemetery, Adelaide, SA.

* THIS is a fun post about one of my dad’s “antics” with his mother-in-law (x2) whilst recovering from the trauma described above.

* Just click HERE if you want to read about the marriage of my beautiful parents.

Wedding Day 22 Dec 1941. (c) C.Crout-Habel

Wedding Day 22 Dec 1941. (c) C.Crout-Habel

To finish off, I MUST share this favourite song of my dad. Relates back to his mam’s Scottish heritage. Harry Scarborough Crout, from Leeds, Yorkshire, England, loved to challenge his Ozzie children to repeat the following words as quickly as they could:

“If ye can say it’s a braugh bricht moonlicht nicht t’nicht then ye alricht ye ken…”

1511767Could we ever beat him? …       

 

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Australian Aboriginal Flag

Australian Aboriginal Flag

Whilst being very proud of my Ancestors who fled often horrific conditions in their home – land and gave me, and mine, a better chance at life I am conflicted knowing that this was, and still is, at the expense of the traditional owners of this beautiful land we claim as our own – Australia.

Our previous Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd, gave the apology. May it now be followed up with meaningful action.

Copyright © 2013. Catherine Ann Crout-Habel.

Happy Birthday South Australia!!!

Today is South Australia’s “Proclomation Day”, our birthday, and a time for much rejoicing by many.

Governor John Hindmarsh

Governor John Hindmarsh (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

On this day, 176 years ago, South Australia was proclaimed a British Province by Captain John Hindmarsh alongside the “Old Gum Tree” at Glenelg.

The proclamation included the same protection, under the law, for the local native population as for the settlers although I’m sad to say that the enforcement of this law did not reflect the intent as described in the legislation.  

South Australia has a unique heritage. Unlike British settlements on the east coast of Australia, Tasmania, and Western Australia, South Australia was not a convict settlement and so tends to not attract the same interest nor fascination.

My schoolday history lessons, in the 1950’s, were totally focussed on British history and Australian history was not part of the curriculum. Needless to say, the uniqueness of our South Australian history was never a part of my learning. It was only when accepted as a “mature aged student” to Tertiary Education in the late 1970’s (thanks to the Australian Labour Party and our Prime Minister Gough Whitlam) that I learnt about our unique South Australia history.

Edward Gibbon Wakefield (* 1796; † 1862), Brit...

Edward Gibbon Wakefield (* 1796; † 1862), British statesman and promoter of colonization of Australia and New Zealand (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

As the years pass I still never fail to be fascinated by the origins of this planned “Utopia in the South”, nor of Edward Gibbon Wakefield who conceived the plan whilst serving three years in Newgate Prison for abducting Ellen Turner, a 15 year old heiress, and narrowly escaping a hanging or transportation.

His simple plan was that  instead of granting free land to settlers, as was the practice in other colonies, the land would be sold at a ‘suffient price’ and  this money would then be used to provide free passage to labourers and their families. It was envisaged that after working for a few years these labourers would then be able to buy land for themselves.

“The object is not to place a scattered and half-barbarous colony on the coast of New Holland, but to establish…a wealthy, civilised society.” Edward Gibbon Wakefield

After being released from Newgate prison in 1830, Wakefield became involved in several attempts to promote his scheme for the colonisation of South Australia but as his influence waned he severed all connection with the scheme.

Robert Gouger, who was Wakefield’s secretary, then promoted  Wakefield’s plan and the South Australian Association was formed. With the aid of several influential figures the  British Parliament was  persuaded to pass the South Australian Colonisation Act which incorporated Wakefield’s plan to devolp the colony with the best qualities of British society.  The reality, however, did not match the ideals as land speculators moved in but Wakefield’s plan certainly gave the European colonisation of South Australia a different flavour to that of other Australian colonies .

So today many South Australians will gather again under that “old gum tree” in Glenelg to remember and to celebrate the Proclomation, 176 years ago, of South Australia as yet another British Colony but with it’s own unique flavour.

The Proclomation of South Australia. 28 Dec 1836

The Proclomation of South Australia. 28 Dec 1836

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Copyright (c) 2012. Catherine Ann Crout-Habel.

Ii – is for Indigenous Australians

The Traditional Owners of the land on which I live are the Kaurna people (pronounced “Gar-nu”). With the letter “Ii” for the Gould’s “Family History Through the Alphabet” falling “smack bang” in the middle of NAIDOC week, it’s a perfect time for me to share a little of my experiences and constantly growing knowledge of our Indigenous Australians, their family life and culture.

Please be aware that this post is likely to include references, and photos, of Aboriginal people who may now be deceased. If unsure of what this means just click HERE for an explanation.

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In 1978 CH and RM Berndt wrote:

“Children are still taught Australian history almost as though human life here started with the coming of the Europeans. Even when people acknowledge that ‘there were Aborigines here’, that they were the First Australians, they sometimes seem to feel that they have done their duty by saying so.” 

Born and bred in South Australia, and growing up in the 1940’s, 50’s & 60’s, this was certainly my experience. Thirty years later I was lucky enough to work with some amazing people to help bring about educational change. My school was one of the first to trial the first South Australian “Aboriginal Education Curriculum” in which all aspects of traditional Aboriginal life were included, and embedded, in our daily classroom activities.  

1992 was a year of Training & Development for teachers, school support officers and interested parents. Many Aboriginal people patiently taught us about their culture. We learnt how their “skills for living” and “law” were passed on orally, in dance, music, song and all artwork. They shared how their strong spiritual attachment to the land was conveyed in their stories of “the dreaming”. We learnt about their innovative technology, gathering and hunting techniques and much more.

By 1993 we were all very exciting, “rip roaring and ready to go” with every teacher, school support officer, student and many many parents involved in indivual classroom activites as well as whole school initiatives. What a joy to have hundreds coming together to learn, celebrate and begin to understand the world of “The First Australians”. We: 

*  included stories of “the dreaming”, written and illustrated by Aboriginal people, in our reading/ writing programmes.

* taught ourselves the words to the song “Terra Nullius” so we could sing along, with gusto, to the “audio tape”.

* took a day visit to Camp Coorong where Mr Trevorrow told us all about “bush tucker”, “bush medicine”, how to weave baskets in the traditional way and much much more.

* painted our “stories” on bark as the aboriginal people did but with our own symbols and telling our own stories. 

* loved that Damien taught us his dances of “the dreaming”. Although it was not real easy to dance like a kangaroo it got much easier with practice.

* camped in the “Adelaide Hills” and went for a night walk, and day walks, at “Warrawong Sanctuary” to see “endangered” native animals in their natural environment. These beautiful creatures are protected from introduced European predators, like cats and foxes, by a “fox proof” fence.

  * were so happy that our teachers let us paint that boring looking, but fun to play in, “pipe” in our school playground in Aboriginal colours and chose our own symbols in respect.

* had great fun when teachers, parents and children from the Kaurna Kindergarten” came visiting. They told exciting stories and how to sing “head, shoulders, knees and toes” in their language.   

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These are just a few examples of an amazing and unforgettable year in my teaching career. It was topped off, in1994, when our School won the South Australian section of an national competition “to promote Aboriginal and Islander culture”. What a surprise that was! We weren’t out to win any competition and I had no idea that one of our School Support Officers had gathered up a lot of the children’s work, photographs and entered us in this competition.

Although delighted with this recognition, my greatest pleasure is the ways in which our work has helped make a difference. e.g, Young Samantha Snow, in the photo above, is now a adult woman and along with her mum, Raylene Snow, were foundation members for  “Marra Dreaming” in Salisbury, South Australia, created in 1999. It seems my heart will burst with happiness everytime I drive past.

Raylene was one of our “school mums” always available to support struggling students in any way possible. What a HUGE help she was with one of my “little tackers” who was finding school life very difficult.  I still treasure a number of her original Aboriginal Artworks like the delicatedly painted ear-rings that look like “clapping sticks”, beautifully painted cards and one especially gorgeous hair clasp, not that I especially like “goannas”.  :-)

In the Kaurnu language, “Marra Murrangga Kumangka” means “hands work together”. To find out more about “Marra Dreaming” just click HERE.

Much change has occurred in the last 20 years, and especially since 1979 when CH and RM Berndt wrote of our abysmal ignorance of “The First Australians” and we still have far to go to heal our Nation, but what a joy to have been a part of helping with that process. I thank everyone involved.  

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FURTHER RESOURCES/REFERENCES: 
CH and RM Berndt. Pioneers & Settlers: The Aboriginal Australians. Pitman, Victoria, Australia, 1978. ISBN: 0 85896 5720

RM & CH Berndt. The World of the First Australians. Ure Smith, Sydney, Australia, 1964, 1977. ISBN: 0 7254 0272 5

Department for Education and Children’s Services South Australia. Aboriginal Art and the Dreaming. 1994. ISBN: 0 7308 2092 0

Council for Aboriginal Reconciliation, ACT, Australia, No 6 November 1993, Walking Together.  ISSN: 1038-9881

The Coorong Wetlands, http://www.thecoorong.com 

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Copyright © 2012. Catherine Crout-Habel. “Seeking Susan ~ Meeting Marie ~ Finding Family.

Indigenous Literature Week 2012

This cold and wintry weather is just perfect for snuggling down with a good book. You might like to join me, and others, in celebrating Indigenous Literature Week & NAIDOC Week (1-8 July 2012), right in the middle of the Australian “National Year of Reading 2012″, by choosing from a book written by an Indigenous person … not only Aboriginal, Torres Strait or Maori writers but all indigenous literature from anywhere in the world.

Your can find lists of exciting Indigenous Literature at ANZ Lit Lovers Lit Blog and/ or Stumbling Through the Past and browse to you heart’s content.

You might even like to join in with other “ANZ Lit Lovers”, sharing your choice and making comment…

Enjoy!!!

Thanks to AUSFLAG for the image of the Aboriginal Flag.

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Copyright (c) 2012. Catherine A. Crout-Habel. “Seeking Susan ~ Meeting Marie ~ Finding Family”