An Aboriginal Historical Perspective Provided by Jama Dreaming

The following Australian Aboriginal historical perspective has been supplied by Jama Dreaming and should not be copied without their permission. Please feel free to visit Jama Dreaming. You can read more about the Jama Dreaming Story.

"For many years now scientists have been trying to prove where we the Aboriginal people of Australia came from and they have come up with many theories which are continually changing.

The deeper they dig the closer they are coming to realise that we did not come from anywhere else but here.

It can be said of everybody else who lives in Australia that they are migrants or descendants of migrants. They or their forebears came to Australia for a variety of reasons but with the clear understanding that they were coming to a new and quite different country.

Where life would evolve in a distinctive way and where in respect of those who came later they knew it had evolved in a particular way. The first Europeans to arrive brought with them ideas, institutions, religions and the other ingredients that make up a culture.

What they brought with them was a culture which has now turned into something that is difficult to describe and identify but is non-Aboriginal Australian culture. It's basic ingredient is the culture which was brought in 1788 but all those who have come since have contributed to the environment which we all live in today.

All those who have come to this country this century have a concept of the country and the culture to which they were coming and made the decision to leave their own place to embrace the new. For Aboriginal people it is different, we were here, we had our culture, we did not leave and we did not ask others to come.

We did not go through the process of leaving the old to embrace the new and we never voluntarily surrendered our culture and, indeed fought tooth and nail to preserve it, throughout dispossession, shooting, poisoning, infliction of diseases, assimilation, denying the use of our culture, removals and the attempts of breeding the colour and culture out of us.

But we survived and our culture survived, in different forms and to different degrees in different parts of the country as a result of different experiences during and after white contact.

It is only been since 1967 that we have been classed as citizens in our own country and are still fighting the system and attitudes for equality.

From the attitudes of thinking we were nothing but ignorant savages non Indigenous people are starting to realise the depth, structures and true value of our culture as the environment is sadly being destroyed.

It is through our art and cultural performances that we tell our stories that assist in the understanding of far superior our system was and still is then and European devised system.

There are many Dreamtime stories and each tribal group has itís own interpretation of the creation of Traditional lands, life and the journey through the Dreamtime. Although the interpretations vary the basic elements within the stories are the same or simular.

The stories are handed down from one generation to the next and the stories from our elders are about creation, life and the continued survival of our people, they are about how we, the Aboriginal people have survived with the environment in our country, Australia since time began.

Bulurru (from North Queensland and known by other names by other groups in other regions) has been translated as Totom; Fatherís Father, Totomic Ancestor, Protective or Good God, the Law. Spirit, Country and story Waters.

As oneís identity is bound up with the Totomic Ancestorís, it is no wonder that a personís dream life was seen to be woven of the same Totomic fabric as waking life.

Story Waters are much the same as "Dreamings of the Dreamtime" which is central to the creation and Spiritual beliefs of Aboriginal people.

The Story Water beings whose tracks mark the land and who took the form of animals, birds, plants and phenomena, of the world, the objects fashioned for use in daily life, all partook of the nature of Bulurru.

Bulurru, story waters links the past with the present, the land with the people, the spiritual healing and the people with the Ancestral Law.

To follow the Law- Lore is to follow one track The one left by our Ancestors.

Aboriginal people had many laws and rules to ensure that we lived in peace and harmony with each other and the environment. In analysing all these laws they can be grouped into three main areas: Productive, protective and destructive.

The productive laws and customs were to ensure there was a plentiful supply of animals, plants and grass for food and also plants for medicine. In hunting, very young animals as a rule were never killed. Small fish were never taken out of the water hole or river, but thrown back to grow.

In hunting or fishing only the amount necessary to feed the people would be taken. The female of any species would only be killed in very good seasons when there was abundance of game.

In drought times, careful consideration was given to ensure that a species was not completely wiped out. Thus the term walkabout.

The productive laws also applied to trees and plants, they were a rich source of food and also medicine. Trees could not be cut down without a good reason and the cutting of certain trees were forbidden because it was believed that cutting particular trees was cutting the strength of the tribe. Aboriginal people recognised that maintaining the close relationship between us and the environment was important to our survival.

The productive laws were used for the regulation of the number of children produced. For birth control, there was a special drink made from the juices of a vine that grew alongside the waterholes. Most families in traditional times only had two or three children it was not until after white contact and the breakdown of culture that families had ten to fifteen children.

The land was given special attention to ensure it was always productive.

The protective laws dealt with the ways of ensuring protection against evil spirits and influences. At the time of death the practice of smoking was used to keep evil spirits away and smoking was carried out on babies and young children as a way of sanctifying them and protecting them against evil spirits.

Because certain winds and rains could contain bad influences there were special songs, customs and dances to drive them away. There were also storms and winds that were regarded as being protective. Protection also came from various trees like when a family was in grief the sitting under certain trees gave condolence.

The destructive laws were used entirely for destroying bad elements in the environment and tribal group. Such as if a person had broken the laws and rules of the tribe.

Fire was an important element of the destructive system with the burning off of an area to ensure when new growth came after the rains, the grass, the plants for food and medicine would grow and the animals would come in large numbers and would be easy to hunt.

Aboriginal people lived in close harmony with the land and the environment while maintaining strong spiritual beliefs and respected everything around us. To all, there was a purpose for living."


The Jama Dreaming Story:

"(The journey from an Aboriginal fringe camp to a high profile tourist destination) The journey from an Aboriginal fringe camp to the owners of their own Aboriginal Art & Craft Gallery in a high profile tourist destination, has been an exciting trip for Internationally acclaimed Aboriginal artists Greg (Inibla<>Goobya) Singh and wife Janice (Jurragubari) who have made the Gallery located within the Village complex on Williams Esplanade, Palm Cove their resident home.

Inibla Goobya said our whole lives are like chapters in a book, only we get to write them ourselves, our book is full of exciting chapters and even the hard times, bad times and sad times have some good in them whether it was a learning process, a comedy of errors or just something stupid, we get a laugh out of reflecting back on them today.

Jurragubari, born in Cairns, Tropical North Queensland, to Aboriginal and Scottish parents and raised with a large extended family in Innisfail, spent her youth exploring her surroundings and nature with a creative flair that was evident from a very young age. Jurragubari has always been creative in her expression of her culture through Arts and Crafts and would often be found collecting pieces of nature and turning them into decorative Art.

Her parents and family strongly supported her talents, and encouraged her to nurture this gift. In March 1969, Jurragubari married Inibla<>Goobya and together they set off on an exciting adventure of travel and Music for several years.

Three beautiful children, later, two boys and one girl saw Jurragubari busy raising her family and sharing her culture with her children. Jurragubari has always been the Earth Mother with strong family Values and often found herself surrounded by the Ďpitter patter of little feetí. Children from all around seemed drawn to her mothering spirit an exciting bright world of creativity that was never far away from the Singh household. Jurragubariís five grand children can vouch for the fu and laughter at their Nannaís place.

With three children all grown up and the grandchildren visiting regularly, Jurragubari rediscovered the time to channel her artistic spirit.

The excited interest in her unique translation of the Dreamtime stories, stories, which had been told to her, by her Elders and transferred to other mediums, became quite apparent.

In 1996 Jurragubari entered and won he Robin OíChin Art Craft Award. This prestige award is a great honour to win, as the judges are Aboriginal people. Her Art and Craft display can be seen at the Jama Dreaming Palm Cove Gallery and in various distinguished homes throughout the world.

Jurragubariís rise to the top of the Art word is evident with her work being sold throughout numerous galleries and showrooms in the north of Queensland. Apart from the sales and demands for her Art in Australia, Jurragubari has also sold her works internationally in Holland, Austria, Bavaria, France, USA, England, Canada, Germany and many other far off places.

Her unique style of expressing her culture throughout her Art is in great demand. Jurragubari is very proud of her heritage and believes that by sharing her culture and dreaming stories handed down to her from her elders through her Art she will assist in creating a greater understanding of her culture to the wider community.

Jurragubari & Inibla <>Goobya believe, live by and promote the vision of their friend and mentor prominent Aboriginal Leader the late Mick Miller.

Quote; " We must learn to enjoy and appreciate one anotherís contributions to making Australia and the world a better place for ourselves. Abetter place for sons and daughters, and their sons and daughters who will follow on and inherit the legacy of tolerance of each otherís beliefs and customs. An appreciation of each otherís many varied and rich cultural backgrounds. This is the legacy we must leave behind us for our descendants to inherit an be proud of that inheritance without shame, fear or guilt."

Jurragubari was one of only two Aboriginal artists selected to exhibit five pieces of art in the Five Continent Exhibition held in Holland in July 2000.

Jama Dreaming is 100% Aboriginal owned and operated which also incorporates the Jama Dreaming Cultural Performers who are constantly touring to not only entertain but to allow others the opportunity to have a small insight into our culture and to actually meet Aboriginal people who still have a deep belief in their culture."

Greg Inibla<>Goobya Singh Jurragubari Singh


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