Australian Poets: Oodgeroo Noonuccal

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Australian Poets: Oodgeroo Noonuccal

This week we will be talking about an aboriginal poet Oodgeroo Noonuccal, also known as Kath walker, who lived from 1920 until 1993. Oodgeroo came from the Noonuccal tribe in Queensland. Once she had completed primary school she left because she believed that even if she stayed in school there wasn't the slightest possibility of getting a better.

Oodgeroo travelled the world telling others about the dreadful conditions the aboriginals were living under and campaigned for equal rights across Australia.

Oodgeroo has published many poems including: Understand old one, Municipal gum, Namatjira and We are going. Although she did not begin publishing her poems until she was encouraged by a well known writer, when she was in her forties.

Oodgeroo expresses her opinions on how life has changed for aboriginals through her poetry. This is evident in the poem Understand old one. In this poem Oodgeroo compares what Australia was like for her ancestors to what it is like for her. This poem expresses how life in Australia has changed especially for aboriginals.

In the first half of the poem Oodgeroo is talking about how life was for her ancestors. It was calm and serene ‘there on the old peaceful camping place of your red fires along the quiet waters'. She uses the soft drawn out words such as ‘peaceful' and ‘place' to help this image. Then she explains what life is like now. The busy cities, cars everywhere, ‘towering stone gunyas high in the air', ‘planes in the sky'. It is now noisy and busy. She uses quick short sentences in this part of the poem to help bring across the idea of busyness. Her world is the complete opposite of the world that her ancestors lived in.

Oodgeroo uses a metaphor of bees. She compares the swarms of cars in the city to bees to give the image of fast, paced, hustle and bustle of the city.

She also uses alliteration to help emphasise the imagery used. She uses the alliteration of ‘p'...
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