“For 60,000 years, as sure as the sun rises and rests, our people have thrived and survived. Originally penned as a poetic response to January 26th, this is an empowering story of truth, strength and community, told by Gamilaroi and Dunghutti woman Marlee Silva and illustrated by Yamatji man Rhys Paddick.”
This powerful and evocative story explores Australia’s true history in an accessible way for young readers. It is a story of dispossession, loss, courage, resilience and supreme strength.
This book begins with powerful words that are a testament to the enduring strength of First Nations people for tens of thousands of years. It then explores Australia’s true history, starting with the arrival of the British who claimed possession of Australia by labelling the land as ‘terra nullius’, meaning ‘land belonging to no-one’. Arthur Phillip raised the Union Jack at Warrane (Sydney Cove) on January 26, 1788. The Gadigal People of the Eora Nation, the Traditional Owners of Warrane (Sydney Cove), had lived peacefully and sustainably on the thriving land for 60 000 years and no treaty was made with them then, or since.
The story poignantly tells how the First Nations Australians were displaced, stripped of everything needed to survive and thrive and left with no choice but to assimilate with the dominant culture. They were forbidden to speak their languages, dance, or sing their songs. The children were torn away from their families, sent to live with the missionaries, stripped of their identities, forced to reject their culture and adopt a white culture, often enduring harsh punishments.
The story then tells of the resistance of the First Nations people past and present, their achievements, success and contributions to Australia and on the world stage across a diverse range of fields “despite the years of destruction and war, despite the horrors and pain that we bore” and how the oldest living continuous culture will continue to survive and thrive for 60 000 years more.