Ive been photographing & uploading tree pics to my archives since 2016 so Ive learnt a bit about PERSPECTIVE. The angle & the lighting are important too but in order to show the tree’s true size you need something beside it. Mostly I muster paddocks at home with a few kelpies who may be familiar to you by now – Cubby is the most cooperative- and I get them to sit/ stand beside the tree. This month I was lucky enough to have real people – my new male models – Leon Flick & Glen Johnstone who can be seen in the archives – Glen’s family have lived at the Marra since 1910, Leon’s family has been in the region since sometime in the Pleistocene.
Heading deeper into Wailwun/ Weilwun ( Wayilwan ) country now & still turning up the TinTs. Glen has a property in the Macquarie marshes – btw these wetlands that are thriving after the last 3 La nina years. We stopped at some tourist signage on the Bulgregar ck which I will show below.
I found this ‘statistic’ from one of the billboards sobering “From 1860 to 1890 the Wayilwan population was reduced from approximately 30,000 to 800 and became almost extinct.” – This is why we have lost so much cultural knowledge and why Allan Tighe’s (as told to him by Reggie Murray) contribution is so important.
Interestingly Allan said “from this area” he didn’t say “from this tribe” I think the Gomilaroi & Ularoi & Wailwun that lived in ‘this area’ ie between todays townships of Coonamble, Walgett, Lightning ridge & Brewarrina had strong genetic & cultural links. Priscilla says that language is ‘place based’ & the Gamilaraay, Yuwaalaraay & Yuwaaliyaay share about 90% of the same words. Not so much is written about the Wailwun but they used ‘Wail’ for ‘No’ like ‘Gamil’ & ‘Yuwaal’ were used over this side of the Barwon. All these tribal groups met regularly for ceremony with the last known Wailwun Bora held on Bulgregar ck in 1896 & 1898. The photos of the Bora are incredible and mention is made of King Billie of the Macquarie. Is this where the Billybingbone rd gets its name? Bone is used by the Wailwun for place Gulargambone for example is the place of gulahs. There were 59 carved trees on the Bora ground most of which were stolen or destroyed. Such a shame …
Between Glen & Leon & I we only found 7 TinTs of which 6 were in pairs. Hopefully the male models will find more over time to add to the well over 800 found ‘in this area’ so far. There is a big difference between 1st nations & ummm? 2nd nations impressions of TinTs. ( this is why I don’t often use that term – were the Chinese gold diggers 3rd nations & the Greek & Italian immigrants post WW2 4th nations etc etc). Lets just say those of indigenous heritage are excited and recognize the handiwork of their ancestors immediately. Farmers on the other hand are more yeh/ nah seen plenty of those – what they have actually seen is eucalypts & native scrub trees living trunk to trunk adjacent. NO ONE who has told me they have seen TinTs before has ever supplied a photo of one yet. I mean seriously has anyone out there ever seen something like this before? The Aboriginality of this wilga TinT speaks for itself… even if I only had my hat for perspective!
I went to a funeral in Tamworth last week of an old friend who taught me a lot about racism years ago. Raff came from a local farming family and grew up with the same ingrained prejudices but seemed to kick the habit long before anyone else. My modern male models have nothing on the good-looking Rafferty brothers back in their day. Raff pointed out the dodgy lyrics of the Slim Dusty song “Trumby” the night before Freddy Walford’s funeral. Like Trumby, Freddie and many Aboriginal stockmen back then were barely literate as they had no schooling growing up. The lyrics ..” his skin was black but his heart was white & that’s what mattered most..” are problematic today but Slim Dusty was and is loved by many Aboriginal people. We all grew up with unconscious bias to some degree but it’s the intent that counts.
Raff was a real ‘bushie’ who was colour blind both in reality and racially. His exit music chosen by the family was the ‘The Cape’ by Guy Clark and chorus goes like this;
“he’s one of those who knows that life is just a leap of faith
Spread your arms and hold your breath and always trust your cape”
I have taken my own leap of faith and submitted a paper on the TinTs to an international journal called Plant Signaling & Behavior. The reviewers were kind but confused as to what a farmer would be doing in their academic space. They wanted to know what I wanted to know so I spelt it out;
I WANT TO KNOW IF ITS POSSIBLE THAT TinTS ARE NATURALLY OCCURING IN HOT SEMI- ARID REGIONS? ( average rainfall 16”-18”= 400-450 mls, average summer day temps 35.4 C=95.7 F )
P.S I also want to know whats going on between guest & host & mycorrhizas?