I meander on the Queens Domain with my grandkids. Along a track by the river we see the remnants of a pile of shells, some bones and charcoal. I ask my grandkids what has happened here. Did someone eat some shell fish? When did they eat the shellfish? When did people stop eating shell fish down here? What else do you think happened here?
My mind travels back in time to years ago when these middens were made. And twenty years in the future. When my grandkids are adult Tasmanians.
I want them to see the story behind these shells as their story. They live in Tasmanian. They see the future of Tasmania and their own personal future as being linked. They are Tasmanians. They need to know where Tasmania will flow in the future. Before they know where we are going they need to know how we arrived at our current position.
They all go to a nearby primary school. Everybody at their school is unique. They all look different. They all have different heights, weights, hair and have different abilities. They all have different heritages and different antecedents. Some were born in faraway places. Some can trace their family back for generations living on this island. All either came here or had antecedents that came here sometime from somewhere. Most are a mixture.
Every student at the school is the same, unique story. My grandkids have a wide variety of ancestors. Their great grandparents lived in disparate parts of this globe with no knowledge of their coming connection. Their great grandparents eventually came together; then the grandparents; then the parents and finally they were born.
I would love to see all the school kids respect all their classmates because of their differences. Rejoice and appreciate the differences. Celebrate and laugh with the guy sitting on the next desk about the food he eats.
I would love to see all the kids in all their classes accept the history of all Tasmania as their history.
“A long time ago some early Tasmanians ate shell fish down here by the river”
“A long time ago some early Tasmanians built this great big house.”
“I want to remember the people who selflessly and bravely fought in a World War 1.”
“I want to remember all the people who courageously fought for their lives and culture up here on the Domain.”
“Who was the Queen in the Queens Domain?”
Maybe my grandkids can learn from New Zealand kids. Before the All Blacks play the team performs the haka. The haka comes directly from one particular Mauri tribe. This tribe is proud to share a bit of their culture with other Mauri, Pakeha and others. The rugby players coming from far off lands are all happy to accept the haka as their haka. All New Zealanders are proud of the haka. It belongs to all of them.
In twenty years my grandkids will be adults. I want them to be proud Tasmanians. Proud of the history of all Tasmanians. Proud of the history and culture of early Tasmanians who lived here thousands of years ago. Proud of the history of the early Tasmanians because it is their history. Proud of the aborigine’s knowledge and connection to the land. Proud of the institutions and connections the British settlers bought with them.
In the future I hope my grandkids will live in a world without barriers and walls. A world without discrimination and prejudice. Where everybody around the world has equal opportunity to everything (health, education, housing and employment). Where everybody can live where ever they want to.
Where everybody acts responsibly about their local environment. Where everybody knows it belongs to everybody. And where everybody assumes it is up to them to look after it.
I hope my grandkids live in a world where the only tribalism is on the sport field. Where the sporting spectators are the only people who resort to bland stereotypes. In twenty years I hope all Tasmanians are proud of all Tasmanian history and see it as their history.