Matthew Flinders rediscovered

Recently we had this interesting story, as told here by London blogger Stephen Liddell.

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Matthew Flinders

Over the weekend I had a fascinating conversation with my nephew Warren who lives in Cooktown. It can be summed up in a comment he wrote on a Facebook post by a grand-nephew in Adelaide, Mitchell, whom I have never actually met.

I don’t know if you are aware or not, but you are a direct descendant of the Guringai nation through your father and directly descended from King Bungaree who circumnavigated Australia on the Investigator with Mathew Flinders and later again with Philip Parker King on the Mermaid. King Bungaree was the first individual to be called an Australian and the first Aboriginal person to be given a gorget. Your ancestral land extends from north head in Sydney to Lake Macquarie, south of Newcastle. The Prime Minister’s residence is on our ancestral land. Our ancestors were the Broken Bay Clan. I have photos, birth and marriage records and blanket lists as well as other records all relating to our history and much more. Mate you are indigenous to this country.

See also my post How indigenous are you? and Warren’s own 2006 version at Family stories 4 — A Guringai Family Story. In the weekend conversation Warren confirmed that Sophy Bungaree — Warren’s direct ancestor on his mother’s side — was the daughter of Bungaree, as stated here.

Bungaree pictured in red colonial coat with black and gold details for hand-drawn portrait.

Do read Keith Vincent Smith, Bungaree. See also Bungaree was the first Australian to circumnavigate the continent, but he’s less well known than Matthew Flinders. Circumnavigated Australia TWICE in fact, which Flinders never did — or of course, James Cook, despite the impression left recently by our Prime Minister.

Not detracting at all from the achievements of Flinders — or Cook. On Flinders see Flinders Memorial.

Another topic in my conversation with Warren concerned the earlier (1804) version of Flinders’s famous map. This is the later version (1814):

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See this 2004 news story The chart that put Australia on the map:

At 11.30am today in the Parkes Room of Parliament House, the Governor of NSW, Professor Marie Bashir, will present a chart to the president of the Legislative Council, Dr Meredith Burgmann. The chart is singularly plain: a simple, if meticulous, pen and ink rendition of the continent we call home.

Yet behind today’s ceremony lies a fascinating tale of two men, separated by two centuries. The first is Matthew Flinders, the explorer and map-maker who died in 1814, aged just 40. The second is Bill Fairbanks, 66, a company secretary from Wahroonga. What the two share is obsession. Flinders – born in Lincolnshire on March 16, 1774 – was obsessed with becoming the first man to circumnavigate the continent (a mission he achieved on June 9, 1803 when his ship, Investigator, limped back into Sydney harbour).

As for Fairbanks, he is obsessed with reminding us that 2004 is the 200th anniversary of an emotional moment in our history, the first time the name “Australia” was ever used on a map….

Warren was at a presentation earlier in Canberra involving the Governor-General and three descendants of Flinders —  great-great-great granddaughters Martha, Rachel and Susannah.

Just spoke to Warren by phone. He may be sending me pics of that occasion.

In the Herald story State Librarian Paul Brunton noted:

Flinders began drawing his chart in the middle of 1804 after being imprisoned by the French on Mauritius on his way home to Britain.

The Englishman had arrived on the island the previous December, and had been promptly arrested as a spy. He spent the next 6 years detained on Mauritius, despite his eagerness to get back to London to share his discoveries with the world.

By August 1804, Flinders had completed his chart, the first time the continent that had been named New Holland or Terra Australis had ever been accurately depicted. Perhaps even more symbolically, he had clearly labelled his chart “Australia or Terra Australis” – the first time, literally, Australia had been put on the map.

Yet despite its emotional significance, says Brunton, the 1804 map has never achieved the public acclaim it deserves….

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And in 1788….

No comment. Just read! Available on Project Gutenberg.

A Few days after my arrival with the transports in Port Jackson, I set off with a six oared boat and a small boat, intending to make as good a survey of the harbour as circumstances would admit: I took to my assistance Mr. Bradley, the first lieutenant, Mr. Keltie, the master, and a young gentleman of the quarter-deck.

During the time we were employed on this service, we had frequent meetings with different parties of the natives, whom we found at this time very numerous; a circumstance which I confess I was a little surprized to find, after what had been said of them in the voyage of the Endeavour; for I think it is observed in the account of that voyage, that at Botany-bay they had seen very few of the natives, and that they appeared a very stupid race of people, who were void of curiosity. We saw them in considerable numbers, and they appeared to us to be a very lively and inquisitive race; they are a straight, thin, but well made people, rather small in their limbs, but very active; they examined with the greatest attention, and expressed the utmost astonishment, at the different covering we had on; for they certainly considered our cloaths as so many different skins, and the hat as a part of the head: they were pleased with such trifles as we had to give them, and always appeared chearful and in good humour: they danced and sung with us, and imitated our words and motions, as we did theirs. They generally appeared armed with a lance, and a short stick which assists in throwing it: this stick is about three feet long, is flattened on one side, has a hook of wood at one end, and a flat shell, let into a split in the stick at the other end, and fastened with gum; upon the flat side of this stick the lance is laid, in the upper end of which is a small hole, into which the point of the hook of the throwing stick is fixed; this retains the lance on the flat side of the stick; then poising the lance, thus fixed, in one hand, with the fore-finger and thumb over it, to prevent its falling off side-ways, at the same time holding fast the throwing-stick, they discharge it with considerable force, and in a very good direction, to the distance of about sixty or seventy yards*. Their lances are in general about ten feet long: the shell at one end of the throwing-stick is intended for sharpening the point of the lance, and for various other uses. I have seen these weapons frequently thrown, and think that a man upon his guard may with much ease, either parry, or avoid them, although it must be owned they fly with astonishing velocity.

While employed on the survey of the harbour, we were one morning early, in the upper part of it, and at a considerable distance from the ship, going to land, in order to ascertain a few angles, when we were a little surprized to find the natives here in greater numbers than we had ever seen them before in any other place: we naturally conjectured from their numbers, that they might be those who inhabited the coves in the lower part of the harbour, and who, upon our arrival, had been so much alarmed at our appearance, as to have judged it necessary to retire farther up; they appeared very hostile, a great many armed men appeared upon the shore wherever we approached it, and, in a threatening manner, seemed to insist upon our not presuming to land….

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See also Grace Karskens, Governor Phillip and the Eora: governing race relations in the colony of New South Wales.

So Australia Day is coming up again…

And I am so over the recycling that happens every year — which is a cue of course to recycle myself!

2017 for example: Australia Day: I like it. And there I link to 2014: Anniversary Day/Survival Day

Some things are not new: Edward Palmer (1842-1899) was a conservative Queensland politician, squatter and public servant. In his Early Days in North Queensland (available from Project Gutenberg) he wrote:

The treatment of the native races has always been a difficult question. Whenever new districts were settled, the blacks had to move on to make room; the result was war between the races. The white race were the aggressors, as they were the invaders of the blacks’ hunting territory.

Yes, the INVASION word! But he went on to rationalise thus:

The pioneers cannot be condemned for taking the law into their own hands and defending themselves in the only way open to them, for the blacks own no law themselves but the law of might…. The vices and diseases of the white race have been far more fatal to the blacks than the rifles of the pioneers, more particularly when they were allowed about the towns, where they always exhibit the worst traits of their character, becoming miserable creatures, useless for any purpose, and an eyesore to everyone. Those employed on stations as stockriders and horse-hunters become very useful and clever at the business…

I don’t have a problem with recognising the 26 January 1788 event — can walk and chew gum at the same time! It is BOTH a solemn day of reflection AND a day to celebrate the achievements of all Australians. And as I said in 2014:

I was there that day and joined all these people in their march. 26 years ago on the 26th!

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26 January 1988 – image by the great Michael Riley

But none of us are going anywhere, are we?

There may be a time in the future when we have an opportunity to forge a new national day, free of the ambivalence that accompanies Australia Day. But for now, January 26 is it. Let’s use it as an occasion to celebrate our achievements and reflect on the things that we share as Australians.

Let’s also use it to ask whether our country is living up to the best of its traditions. In the words of one patriot, ”My country, right or wrong: if right, to be kept right; and if wrong, to be set right.”

See also my 2012 post  There is a land where summer skies…  Some earlier Australia Day posts: 20072008 – 12008 – 22009 – 12009: 22009 – 320102011 – 12011 – 22011 – 32011 – 42011 – 52011 – 62011 – 7; the page series Being Australian2012 photo blog; 2013 – 12013 — 2.

This year I will be reprising a pleasant day at Mount Kembla with my cousin Helen and her husband Jim. See the 2016 version at Australia Day at Mount Kembla.

 

December 2008 — ten years!

Just a few memories…

Fantastic, but another reason to feel old!

11 DEC 2008

cover_dec08I was skimming the Sydney Morning Herald’s glossy free mag just now, checking out whether I was on the list of Sydney’s Top 100 Influential People… 😉 Many of the usual suspects were there, and quite a few I hadn’t thought of. It is one of those that really attracted my attention.

thumb_jackThere under Community was Jack Manning Bancroft.

Now there was a familiar name: Class of 2002 at SBHS!

So how at the age of 23 did Jack get into the Top 100?

Through this:

Jack is the founder of the AIME Program. He graduated from Media and Communication in 2006, and attended St Pauls College in his time at university. He was awarded the inaugural ANZ Indigenous Scholarship for his degree, and received the Sydney University Union Leadership and Excellence award in 2005. He is a member of the Bundjalung nation in the North Coast of NSW. Jack hopes to lead AIME to every university in the country in the next 5 years.

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Click on the screen grab to explore AIME. It is well worth it!

And in 2018: Mentoring — The Key to a Fairer World

Update

I found some blog references to Jack and his work.

Indigenous Literacy Day by Judith Ridge (September 2008) says:

Tonight I went to the launch of Bronwyn Bancroft‘s beautiful new picture book, Possum and Wattle: My Big Book of Australian Words at Gleebooks. The book is, as you would expect if you know Bronwyn’s work, quite stunning. The images are striking and vibrant, and the colour reproduction remarkable. And a great celebration of indigenous Australian language.

Possum and Wattle was launched by Linda Burney, who spoke of of the terrible loss of Aboriginal languages (which she rightly said are, of course, Australian languages) while reminding us that all Australians are in fact speakers of Aboriginal Language. Each time we speak certain place names, or of native flora and fauna, even certain idioms, we are speaking Aboriginal Language.

Bronwyn spoke of the importance of education and literacy, especially for Aboriginal Australians. Her own father was excluded from formal education because of his Aboriginality. Now her children are school and university students and graduates, and she is about to embark on her PhD—just one generation away from that exclusion. And there is no education without literacy…

I also have to mention Bronwyn’s son, Jack Manning Bancroft, who spoke at the launch about the organisation he heads up, AIME Mentoring (Australian Indigenous Mentoring Experience). AIME pairs Aboriginal university student volunteers with Aboriginal high school students in a one-to-one mentoring project that aims to support young Aboriginal students in education. It was the first I’d heard of the program, and it’s something I want to learn more about. Jack was strong and heartfelt as he spoke about the value of the program, which hinges on the dedication of the current generation of young Aboriginal people to get out there and do something practical to support each other. As it says in the “About” section of their website, AIME is action. Fantastic. (And I am really curious—must ask Bronwyn about this—my grandfather’s middle name was also Manning, after the river/region where he was born. I guess that means Bronwyn’s people come from there, as mine do, although so much more recently.)

A blog called Event Mechanics promotes 2007’s Indigenous Carnivale, and quotes another blog to this effect:

A very cool, and damn motivated and inspiring bloke, called Jack Manning-Bancroft is helping organise the above day. He writes: “We welcome you all to this years Indigenous Carnivale. On Saturday the 26th of May it will be National Sorry Day. We will pay our respects to those who have suffered in the past, we will pay our respects to those who continue to suffer, and we will offer nothing but respect to each other. This is our arena. This is our community. This is our time.”

Running alongside Carnivale is it’s big brother AIME (Australian Indigenous Mentoring Experience) – where Jack’s helping me to do some mentoring work. It’s a mentoring program that works with High school Indigenous students. All of the profits from Carnivale will go to its big brother AIME.

Such is time… Stream of consciousness, almost…

13 DEC 2008

raleghwBefore his head was removed, Sir Walter Ralegh wrote this magnificent lyric:

Even such is time, that takes in trust
Our youth, our joys, our all we have,
And pays us but with earth and dust ;
Who, in the dark and silent grave,
When we have wandered all our ways,
Shuts up the story of our days ;
But from this earth, this grave, this dust
My God shall raise me up, I trust !

So here am I, not in the Tower of London contemplating execution of course, but in a Surry Hills flat contemplating the $1400 Mister Rudd so thoughtfully placed in my bank account yesterday. (Very handy to cover a couple of debts, and maybe to buy a new pair of boots…) I contemplate also that next year is the fiftieth anniversary of my comparatively undistinguished leave-taking from Sydney Boys High – well I did win a History Prize after all, I suppose.

dec11 010My niece was in contemplative mood a little, I think, in her Christmas letter, which I also received yesterday. Her family has had an eventful year and have done many interesting things, some of them reflecting how The Shire these days reaches out to the world in a way that would have been inconceivable fifty years ago when, as it happens, my niece was born. They are a rather good looking family too, as you may glimpse on the left… The daughter is a promising dancer, I mean seriously promising. Rather proud of them I am, though through circumstances I have seen less of them than I may have done. You may recall we all got together in Julywhen my brother visited from Tasmania.

I can recall having a few “my God! a quarter of a century!” thoughts when I turned 25, and then, as my niece mentions of herself, even greater wonder when I turned 50 – M gave me a magnificent party – and of course this year I went on the pension, which means I am now…

dec11 009And looking back through my bits and pieces (right) I see how quickly the kids I have taught have grown up and made their ways in the world, some of them with great distinction, or making important contributions of one kind or another – one I mentioned just the other day.

I have every confidence in the young.

Now, what kind of boots will I buy? A good choice will last me at least three years, as the last pair has…

In another age of recession Henry Lawson wrote of an even deeper level of misfortune:

When you wear a cloudy collar and a shirt that isn’t white,
And you cannot sleep for thinking how you’ll reach to-morrow night,
You may be a man of sorrows, and on speaking terms with Care,
And as yet be unacquainted with the Demon of Despair;
For I rather think that nothing heaps the trouble on your mind
Like the knowledge that your trousers badly need a patch behind.

I have noticed when misfortune strikes the hero of the play,
That his clothes are worn and tattered in a most unlikely way;
And the gods applaud and cheer him while he whines and loafs around,
And they never seem to notice that his pants are mostly sound;
But, of course, he cannot help it, for our mirth would mock his care,
If the ceiling of his trousers showed the patches of repair.

I am well stocked with pants…

Bonus pic: Surry Hills Christmas

14 DEC 2008

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Surry Hills prepares to party

Too busy to blog!

16 DEC 2008

Now that’s not something that happens often, but it has been a rather full morning, which took me first to this balcony in East Redfern. And yes, more in line for the photoblog! (The two entries there today went up on autopilot, having been preloaded yesterday.)

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Where, looking down…

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Then to The Mine. On the way home I ran into an ex-student, Andrew Goodwin (1996), who now lives in England – a Cambridge scientist in fact. Coached him in Debating once…

Friday I’m off to The Mine English Department end-of-year party…

Meanwhile all those things are happening out there in the world, and you are deprived of my deathless prose on any of them… I hope you can survive. 😉

You may read about Andrew Goodwin and quite a few other bright young Aussie scientists on this PDF document: Science Olympians.

Real Australians

In the last post I mentioned that in 1948 (1947 census, to be accurate) only 3% of the non-Aboriginal population of Australia — that is, of 7,637,000 people — were born outside of either Australia or the British Isles. (Aboriginal people were not included in the census until 1971, following the Referendum of 1967.)

I omitted the latest figure from 2016: Census shows 49% of population either first- or second-generation migrants, with the remaining 51% at least third generation.

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Today the Sydney Morning Herald features an interesting international Ipsos Poll. On the question Who is and is not a “Real Australian”, “Real American”, or a “Real Briton”?

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Ipsos reports:

Australia is among the top five countries when it comes to having the most inclusive definition of nationality, an Ipsos Global Advisor survey shows.

Canada and the United States topped the list followed by South Africa, France, and Australia. These countries score highest on an “Inclusiveness Index” reflecting social acceptance of diversity as it applies to religion, immigration, sexual orientation and gender identity, political views, and criminal background.

Further:

Commenting on the findings, David Elliott, Director Ipsos Social Research Institute – NSW, said: When you take into account all the components we covered and look at the Overall Inclusiveness Index, Australia comes out as one of the five most inclusive nations behind Canada, the US, South Africa, and France.  This is not that surprising given our multicultural society as it exposes Australians to a variety of cultures and religions which helps drive acceptance.  It also fits with previous Ipsos studies on immigration and refugees, which highlighted Australia as one of the more positive countries globally in terms of our views on immigration and refugees.

“However, while we are generally accepting of religious diversity and immigrants, we do show much less positive views of naturalised citizens when they aren’t fluent in English or don’t have a job, as well as lifelong immigrants who don’t become citizens and illegal immigrants who have lived here most of their lives.

“Interestingly, where we fall down the list in terms of our inclusiveness versus other nations is in regard to LBGTI people and those convicted of a criminal offence who have served time in prison, with our classification of these people as ‘real’ Australians placing us mid-table. 

Plenty of food for thought there. Personally, I doubt there is such a beast as a “real Australian”. For me anyone who is here is by definition an Australian, end of story. Of course it helps if they speak English, but it is also a great thing to be able to speak two or more languages! Multilingual Australians are a national treasure, in my opinion. I have long since stopped feeling paranoid when I hear people speaking Croatian, Chinese, or whatever at the club, on the bus, or anywhere else.

Do visit my 2011 series Being Australian.