Photographer's Note

This is a view of the opening to Sydney Harbour, taken from South Head. You can see North Head in the background. These two landmarks are the first things you see when you sail into our beautiful Harbour, without doubt the most beautiful in the world. And this is exactly the view the indigenous people of Sydney would have had as the British sailed into the Harbour (also known as Port Jackson) in 1778. I can only imagine the shock it must have been for the original inhabitants.

The area of Sydney was traditionally inhabited by the people of the Eora Nation, a mix of the Wangal, the Cammeraigal, the Cadigal and the Bidjiga clans, who were united by their common Dharug language. They were a deeply spiritual people, whose connection to the land was -and still is - lightyears ahead of the concept of land and ownership most of the world holds today: the land is sacred, you do not own it, it owns you. If you destroy the land, you destroy the spirit that resides within it. We are all caretakers of the land - not its owners.

After the British invasion of 1788, the Eora people were systematically wiped out. Many fell victim to the deliberate spread of small pox via the provision of purposely infected blankets. For all practical purposes, the indigenous population were not given the vote until 1967. Between 1869 and 1970, aboriginal famillies fell victim to the government policy of their children being taken from their parents and placed with white people, thus becoming known as The Stolen Generation. The population of this proud people was systematically decimated. There are surviving ancestors today who are mainly concentrated around the Sydney suburbs of Redfern, Darlington, Surry Hills and Glebe. For many, their standard of living, quality of life, health, education and life expectancy are of a Third World standard. As a criminal lawyer I see them over-represented in prisons, in mental health statistics and in statistics on drug and alcohol dependency.

There is alot to be done to rebuild the damage of the past. Things are being done, but not enough. There have been landmark legal decisions, such as Mabo which recognised aboriginal land rights, and enquiries into the sickening incidence of Aboriginal Deaths In Custody. For years, the conservative Liberal government under John Howard refused to issue the aboriginal people an apology for the Australian government's treatment of them, saying "Australians of this generation should not be required to accept guilt and blame for past actions and policies." I have always disagreed with this view, as has the United Nations and several government enquiries into it. Finally in February 2007, under Labor Prime Minister Kevin Rudd, a Federal apology was given to the aboriginal people and members of the Stolen Generation. And it was graciously accepted by the Aboriginal people, albeit 100 years late. And two weeks ago, I became the proud holder of an Aboriginal passport, issued by Australia's true caretakers.

Canon 5D MkII
0.6 second
ISO 100
Lee hard-edged grey grad filter

Photo Information
Viewed: 2849
Points: 72
Additional Photos by Lisa DP (delpeoples) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 5609 W: 342 N: 12455] (60342)
View More Pictures