We Are Going by Oodgeroo Noonuccal
They came in to the little town
A semi-naked band subdued and silent
All that remained of their tribe.
They came here to the place of their old bora ground
Where now the many white men hurry about like ants.
Notice of the estate agent reads: 'Rubbish May Be Tipped Here'. Now it half covers the traces of the old bora ring.
'We are as strangers here now, but the white tribe are the strangers. We belong here, we are of the old ways.
We are the corroboree and the bora ground,
We are the old ceremonies, the laws of the elders.
We are the wonder tales of Dream Time, the tribal legends told. We are the past, the hunts and the laughing games, the wandering camp fires. We are the lightening bolt over Gaphembah Hill
Quick and terrible,
And the Thunderer after him, that loud fellow.
We are the quiet daybreak paling the dark lagoon.
We are the shadow-ghosts creeping back as the camp fires burn low. We are nature and the past, all the old ways
Gone now and scattered.
The scrubs are gone, the hunting and the laughter.
The eagle is gone, the emu and the kangaroo are gone from this place. The bora ring is gone.
The corroboree is gone.
And we are going.'
Oodgeroo was born in 1920 on Stradbroke Island, Queensland, of the Noonuccal people of the Yuggera group. She was best known for her poetry, although she was also an actress, writer, teacher, artist and a campaigner for Aboriginal rights.
Oodgeroo shared with her father the Dreaming totem the carpet snake (Kabul) and his sense of injustice. Leaving school at the age of 13, Oodgeroo worked as a domestic servant until 1939,when she volunteered for service in the Australian Women's Army Service. Between 1961 and 1970, Oodgeroo achieved national prominence not...