Remember Dundalli – 2013

Dundalli remembrance, Post Office square, 5 January.

They teach us to study stones to contain 
our emotions
at school we learn't more about Sitting Bull
Oh why, oh why did they have 
to bury his heart at Wounded Knee?

Proud Dundalli, born in Blackbutt 
he put up a fight for fourteen years 
uniting all the tribes against the gubba 
So they broke his legs and  hung him 
from scaffold 
at Post Office Square like a poor convict 
as his people cried out wailing 
from Tower Mill 
Up here in Moreton colony 
we remember Dundalli

What gives me the right 
to be standing here?
terra nullius was not even an idea in 1788
there was a natural law 
called ferae bestiae
saying we can take the wild and the free
according to the Romans

So who were the first takers
what gives me the right 
to be standing here?
                   Ian Curr

Song intro by brother man followed by speech by Coco welcoming people to the Dundali remembrance. Coco talks about Dundalli about 3:11 minutes into the clip.

Dundali led the resistance to the British invasion of area where Brisbane now stands. After a long campaign he was captured by the invaders and hanged in front of the Brisbane Post Office on January 5, 1855. We remember and honour this brave fighter for his land, his people and his culture. Here is the text of Coco’s speech:

“My name is Wayne Wharton, Coco. I’m a Kooma man and a Brisbane Black, have been a Brisbane Black since my parents moved here, since I was six years old.

This is where all the families from around Qld moved to Brisbane to take up the fight for our rights, to take up the argument. And it’s always been a spoken law that what comes out of Brisbane in terms of the political movement has been something so strong and it’s been great to be part of. And I guess when you’s think about the significance of today, it’s really, I guess it’s really no coincidence. The reason we’re here today as many people realise is to commemorate Dundallee’s life, Dundallee’s resistance and the man he was to take up and to defend his country over a fifteen year period against the Moreton Bay colony. I guess people got to understand before this was Qld this place was known as the Moreton Bay Colony. It was the area the colonialists, the colonial military powers set foot on this land here in Brisbane out to the waters and took possession by force of this particular colony known as Moreton Bay.

Dundallee, he was a warrior from up around Blackbutt and he came down and as the legend goes, he was taken up by the Island people and he was able to unite all the tribes from here down to the Tweed as far out as Gundawindi, down to the Gamillaroy. He was able to unite all these nations to come here and to defend this country here against the colonial people in an act of war.

Dundalli, I guess his story, if we don’t have events like this and we don’t take the time to highlight events like this. The stories of our heroes never get told. We know more about Sitting Bull, we know more about Geronimo, we know more about Ghandi than we do know about our people. This was done on purpose; this was done as a direct move by the colonial powers to create a system where this country was seen as a country that wasn’t defended by its people that occupied it. This was a direct colonial move; this was a move that was followed up by the failures of their education system and their historians and their schools to make sure that this wasn’t taught.

It was a direct psychological move on the males and the men belonging to these nations here. It was to create a false sense of security where these people felt that their old people never defended their country. This was war. This was a cold war move. Dundallee was a defender and it’s an irony that in this park we call Central square where we honour all them warriors that went away to other people’s countries around the world and killed and fought and maimed and caused massive grief to those countries. That this government here through the tax payers money, they choose to honour those people. They build statues to them, they build monuments to them, they create a fire down the other end of the street, down the end of the park, that never goes out. But they send in their council and the police to put the fire out every time we light one.

Two different laws, two different values. Two different laws, two different attitudes. One designed to maintain the status quo and to ensure that the people that colonised this country by force maintain the upper hand and choose to become the dominant people and maintain that dominance.

It’s only through exercises like this and through ceremonies like this that the truth comes out and people are able to look each other in the eye, listen to the truth and work towards a just occupation of this country and a just and harmonious co-habitation of this continent.

Right now, the history of this country is proven through the lack of knowledge about people like Dundalli, Pemulwuy, Yagan, Windradine, Pidgeon. The frontier wars that were fought between here and Burke. These things have to be taught.

In South Africa under Nelson Mandela when he came to reign the first thing that they established under the South African republic was a Truth Commission. This was a commission that was able to come out and people were able to express the true history of what took place in South Africa. In this country, in Australia, shameful to say, it’s still not taught in our primary schools, it’s still not taught in our high schools and it’s still not being taught in our universities. That the true history and the true occupation of this country and what needs to be done to ensure that this country, this continent can be occupied, put it’s ghosts to bed and pursue a course, where all people in this country have their rightful place at the table.

Our people have gone through the process of being rounded up, put onto the concentration camps, lived under the laws, lived under the acts of parliament that persecutes our people. Still now, with the Embassy and the establishment of the Brisbane Embassy we see the inequality of two laws and the prosecution of people and the pursuit of the dominant society to persecute our people.

So if we look at the history, back in 1855 when Dundallee was hanged, in the main street, right there were you’re walking, they built the gallows just like on a Western movie and the whole town, ten thousand people come and had a big carnival here, had a big party. Cause they caught him, and they hung him. And they hung him for what? For defending his country, for defending his family and for defending his rights.

This action, this type of person is reflected in many, many, many situations right around the country. From Sydney to Kennedy up in Murriupa.

I appreciate the time people have taken to pay their respects to Dundallee and the many other people that stood beside him and took up the weapons and defended their country.

So when you here about the RSLs and the monuments going up honouring places like Gallipoli and Kakoda and all these other places around the world where Australians have gone in the name of defending their country, remember this man Dundalli. Remember all the other warriors that were massacred in battle here in Brisbane, in these streets. His last words to all the Murris, when they hung him here up there, none of these buildings were there – there was a big hill up to the windmill and all the blackfellas from all around, from all the nations here were standing up on that hill mourning for their hero.

On 3 Feb 2011, during the smoking ceremony pictured below Kooma murri man, Wayne ‘Coco’ Wharton, from Cunnamulla in Western Queensland,  extracted a promise from the Lord Mayor of Brisbane, Campbell-Newman, that the Murri warriors like Dundalee and Watego would be honoured. Discussions are to be commenced about the best way to do that. Lets hope that Campbell Newman who took time out to come to the ceremony at the Queensland museum lives up to his promise [it is now 2013 and he still has not kept his public promise]. See photos of Campbell-Newman giving that promise and others at Smoking ceremony at Qld Museum remembrance 2011

National Indigenous Radio Service interview with Wayne Wharton at 2013 remembrance for Dundali

[Special Thnx to National indigenous Radio Service]

Dundalee commemoration 2011 at Qld Museum Photo: Ted Reithmuller

Aboriginal Day of Remembrance: Brisbane Mayor promises to honour Aboriginal warriors
Looking left photo-stream
Resistance warrior Dundalee celebrated in Brisbane
Calls to pardon hanged Aboriginal man

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