Last night, having given Australia’s Got Talent the flick this year, I watched one of the best programs on Aboriginal matters that I have ever seen.
Aboriginal footballer Michael O’Loughlin traces the bloodlines of his family, discovering an ancestor who was the first to be granted land in the newly formed colony of South Australia. As political agenda’s changed, an inter-generational fight for the right to land ensued. Michael also investigates a family legend that connects him to Australia’s $50 bill and discovers a life-changing ancestor, who was one of the last tribal Aboriginals from the Coorong and Lake regions to move onto the mission. Working alongside Australia’s foremost anthropologist, Norman Tindale, his legacy was to preserve the memory of a disintegrating culture.
In the corner of the Australian $50 note you can see that life-changing ancestor.
Milerum was born into a world full of contradictions, where the traditional life as he knew it was being torn apart. With great foresight, Milerum decided to preserve much of what he knew. He recorded masses of traditional knowledge with the SA Museum in the 1930′s. Did he believe that the destruction of his culture was imminent?
Last night’s program said that is exactly what he thought and one reason he did what he did. Also it appears he and Tindale were genuinely close friends.
Going in the course of preparing this to the ANU site I discovered a heap of free eBooks! Look!