I acknowledge the traditional custodians of this land, The Wiradjuri People.
This column is dedicated to those who have gone before us, to those present and to those who will follow us.
On Sunday last week I went for a drive into Ngurambang (country) to record two scar trees that I have been watching for some time.
I went out to Gulaman (Coolamon) NSW Wiradjuri Garray (land) to do this important work.
When we record these madhan (tree) and other artefacts we send the info to AHIMS (Aboriginal Heritage Information Management System) database, which helps to protect these extremely important time capsules from our past.
When we collect and send our information to AHIMS we make sure that details such as landscape and water sources are also documented and recorded.
This information then builds up a map of what we have left in our Ngurambang (country). I was fortunate to also find a “ring tree” near a creek on Sunday as I searched our garray (land).
These ring trees are indicators of country boundaries, warning signs and markers for travelling Aboriginal people.
A ring is made in the branches of the trees by cutting and grafting small limbs which are then trained to form a ring shape in our gum trees.
They are our GPS, our road signs, our Google maps. They tell us much about where you are in country.
Every scar and ring tree is different. Scar trees are cut to make Gulaman (Coolamons) which can be used for a bowl type carrying item, a warrior shield and canoe are also cut the same way.
On Sunday, I went out to record two scar trees and I finished up finding and recording 10 in just over three hours.
It is amazing to still find these trees even after all of the forest clearing and burning of country.
To be able to still locate these cultural items after all of the destruction just makes me wonder about how much culture we have actually lost over time.
Then we have stone artefacts, artworks, fire hearths, shell middens, bush plants, burial sites, and scared places that all combine to give us a cultural map of our different tribal areas.
By recording all this information we are able to piece back together our song lines, our dreaming time. We are all saddened when historic sites or a church is destroyed or lost aren’t we? It is no different to Aboriginal artefacts or culture being lost or destroyed.
We can all learn a lot from our ancient culture and languages. Madhu mayiny (many people) travel overseas to see and learn about culture, they may murru (journey) to the “Pyramids of Egypt” or “Hanging Gardens of Babylon” Such wonderful and mysterious places, but cultures that have now long gone.
What about travelling to Beechworth? What for you ask me? Well down there at a place called Mount Pilot are Aboriginal artworks that date back about 15,000 years. Or what about Mungo Lakes near Balranald. History there now goes back at least 50,000 years and a culture that is still alive today.
Every scar, artefact and place tells us something of our culture and landscape which is invaluable to all of Australians, Look, Listen and learn!
For more learning go to my community Facebook page at, https://www.facebook.com/WiradjuriMob Mark Saddler