Fanny Balbuk lived on her life from the year 1840-1907 with pride. She was a strong and courageous woman of the Noongar people and is never afraid to be herself. Born in the early years of the settlement of the British, Balbuk has never turned away from her cultural beliefs during the colonisation. Though everything around her was slowly getting wrong, she still continued life as an Aboriginal. She still continued gathering eggs and caught turtles and crayfish. She also continued her ritual acts, even though knowing the British’s discouragement and rage.
Balbuk is well-known for her protests about the occupation of her traditional land around Perth. She would stand at the gates of the Government House, insulting those inside. To the Aboriginals, their land is very sacred and they held deep spiritual connection with it. People rely on their land to survive. Aboriginals believe that the land is not private, it cannot be bought or sold, and no one owns the land. The British, though, did not understand this. They built fences, divided the land, used it for real estate and farming, and also built houses. Balbuk couldn’t stand the way how the British had disrespected their land so when buildings were built in the way, she would charge in, break the fences and destroy the property using her digging stick, also known as ‘Wanna’.
The Wanna was used to dig up vegetables and small animals. It is known as a female symbol and to represent women's work of food-collecting, it could also be used as a fighting stick. For Balbuk, it became a symbol of her resistance towards the occupation. The reason why I chose to make this artifact is because it is the main weapon of Balbuk’s destruction. It symbolises the power in which the women of the Noongar race held and the hard work that the women had went through.
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