The word means ‘Welcome’ in one of the many aboriginal languages of this land, this continent. And Australians are indeed a welcoming people, friendly, helpful, and engaging as I begin a photographic exploration of this magnificent land.
‘No worries, mate.’
The aboriginal story here is uncannily similar to that in North America. A people with deep respect for the land, a history that disappears in the mist of ancient time, the agony of contact with white settlers, devastation from smallpox, residential schools, and, more recently, a new-found pride in their identity, spirituality, history and culture.
This is an exciting, thoroughly modern city — diverse, multicultural, cosmopolitan, architecturally daring. At street level, tourists and students mingle to create a lively, young, urban, never-ending scene.
The State of Victoria
The State of Victoria with camera facing north
The State of Victoria with camera facing south
The way it once was
Sovereign Hill, a ‘living museum’ in Ballarat, recreates a village circa 1880
Back at the Melbourne Museum, a guide, catching me looking at a large display of the Australian Coat of Arms, complete with taxidermy animals, came up and asked, “Do you know why the Coat of Arms has a kangaroo and an emu?”
“I suppose it’s because they’re indigenous species,” I offered.
“No. It’s because neither a kangaroo nor an emu can back up. They can only go forward. Just like Australia.”
Next post: Kookaburras, koalas and wombats, oh my!