Headman of the Wurrundjeri Tribe
We acknowledge the traditional custodians of the land, the Wurundjeri people, and pay our respects to the elders both past and present for they hold the memories, the traditions, the culture and the hopes of Aboriginal Australia.
Long before the English came, before politics and technology interfered, Australia was a rich tapestry of indigenous life. Hunters and gatherers roamed freely and lived off the abundant land Mother Earth bestowed upon them.
“My name is Murrundindi. It means ‘home up in the mountain’.” Never have those words been spoken with such conviction, pride and passion. Headman of the Wurrundjeri tribe, Murrundindi is the custodian and advocate of Aboriginal rights and legacy in Australia.
Although he grew up handicapped and distraught by his identity, no one is prouder than Murrundindi of the Aboriginal heritage and roots.
“Healesville is a healing ground. That’s where my people lived. If you’ve got any connection to the land and to the spirit, you’ll understand its powers .”
“My father was Scottish, and my mother was an aboriginal lady named Gumbri. I was born in North Melbourne, at home on the kitchen table because my mother was not allowed to give birth in the hospital at that time.” The midwife, Murrundindi’s grandmother, brought him into a world where aboriginals had no rights, 73 years ago. When he was four days old, he was brought to Melbourne to be registered with the government. “I grew up in a society being called a half-caste. I was not black nor white, not wanted. The white community would have nothing to do with me and I did not have a white education. I could not read or write till I was 36.”
One should never make the mistake of romanticising the aboriginal way of life. It was never easy. Racism and prejudice reared their ugly heads.
“It’s only the last 36 years of my life that I’ve acknowledged my aboriginal roots because of the discrimination. I was always taught to believe in my culture at home but when I went outside I wanted to be a white person, because of the
way we were treated.”
Murrundindi’s English wife Maureen gave him the pivotal turning point in life. ‘She showed me respect and taught me how to stand up for my rights. I’m the happiest man in the world, have the most beautiful wife and family who respect and understand who I am”.
Another significant moment for Murrundindi was when the aboriginals were given constitutional rights in 1967. As a mentor and much sought-after teacher of indigenous culture in some of Melbourne’s top private schools, this progressive leader can be found playing the didgeridoo at schools during the week and at Healesville Sanctuary on Sundays and public holidays.
“My culture is my living.”
我们由衷的感谢这片土地的传统守护者- Wurundjeri 部落族裔人民，并向过去和现在的长者们表示崇高敬意，因为他们留存了澳大利亚土著居民的记忆、传统、文化和希望。
By Billie Ooi-Ng Lean Gaik