A ghost among the gum trees

 

spoken word/poetry/performance for Healing Ground at St Johns Park, New Town, Tasmania

I have lived in the midst of Lies; in my family, the Anglican Church, and as a person of British ancestry in a country invaded and occupied by the British government. I am a white, privileged male, conceived of Empire. Australia, as I have experienced it, only exists within a colonial paradigm. The original inhabitants, the Aboriginal nations, have never ceded their Lands. The British remain as occupiers. Colonialism is not just my history; it is my very presence.

I am a ghost among the ghost gums, an apparition of imagination, sent here, born here from those sent, sentenced, given a new life in a new Land, Diaspora, the chosen ones, the forgotten, the despised, excess of an Empire; Lost. I did not choose to be here, my fate was sealed on distant shores, by desperate folk, living disparate lives, unknown and uncertainty befell them, no land to claim, no home to shelter, sent sailing to the four winds, many never to see land again, buried; At sea. the Land I dwell in is not my own, never was, never will be, covered with names so familiar, with buildings upon Places, hiding Knowledge I will never fully comprehend, the fate that befalls me is that I live out a lie under the premise of a nation fabricated; Alone.

St Johns Park, New Town, is situated on Crown land, claimed by the British in the early 19th century. Buildings commissioned by Governor Arthur include the Anglican Church and the boys and girls orphanages. The Anglican Church was complicit in the invasion and colonisation of Tasmania, the forceful removal of Aboriginal children from their families, and the Aboriginal nations from their Lands.

Photograph by Amy Brown

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