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Listen First, let’s talk

A brief but welcome history lesson from the local owners and caretakers of our land

As a white Australian kid going to school in this country I felt forcibly unattached from the rich and abundant history of the land and it’s people.  “Listen First” was, on paper, a simple story-telling from Robbie and Zeke, local First Nations people from the Caboolture area.  However it felt more like a welcoming and the beginning of an education that everyone in attendance expressed they had been starved of. 

The intimate media room nestled in the heart of the Pine Rivers Art Gallery, really lent itself to a communal vibe where the audience got to feel very included in the conversation. Plenty of space was allowed for questions of all kinds from the crowd, and towards the end of the allowed time, much appreciation was shared from each guest present.

Before the official start of the piece we were welcomed with films from Zeke’s father going through some terminology used by the local Gubbi Gubbi people. Zeke is a very young man and his extensive knowledge and passion is inspiring.  Zeke was able to riff on a seemingly endless number of topics about the happenings of ancient Australia.  Particular stand outs for me was how ardently he spoke about his relationship to Bunya trees, and how significant a spectacle the Bunya Festival was to First Nations people, seemingly as far as Victoria. The men also presented show and tell of ancient artefacts (discussing how they’d been made) and a musical performance.

Robbie and Zeke are proud Australians, and they stirred pride in everyone there, as well as a longing to learn more.  I, and the rest of the audience, hope that the continued social change in this country will lead to more events like this, more shared knowledge and finally more respect for the beauty and the wisdom of the history of our Australian land and its rightful owners.