ON THE RIVERBANK at the old Sackville Aboriginal Reserve on Dyarubbin there’s a stone obelisk. It seems permanent and solid, but it has a habit of slipping out of landscape and memory. Erected in 1952, the obelisk was later swallowed whole by lantana, and when found again during a clean-up in the 1970s, nobody could recall anything about it.[i] There is a sense of quiet reverence to it – this tall, solitary monument dark with age, like a gravestone. But perhaps more striking is the fantastical old fig tree nearby, its interwoven roots wrapped over a massive rectangular rock.
I am here on the river with Darug descendants Leanne Watson, Erin Wilkins and Jasmine Seymour, as well as historian and archaeologist Paul Irish. It’s autumn, the season of mirror-still water and pure-white morning fogs that burn off gradually to shreds and wisps. We are on our first field trip for... Read more
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