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 gum trees, 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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