This is another part of our country’s history which, really, it’s a disgrace that we don’t know more about it. This is the Brewarrina fish traps. This photograph of this lad here is very important because that long fish in his hand no longer exists because soon after the photograph was taken, they dammed that river for agricultural purposes. The fish depended upon being able to go up to the headwaters of that stream and it disappeared from the world in a season. We keep on doing it. We did it with orange roughie only 15 years ago. Some of the scientists say that this is the oldest human construction on earth. Oldest human construction on earth? And I take that photograph and I show kids in schools. I say, “What country? What country’s got the oldest human construction on earth?” None of them pick Australia because they’ve been educated the way I was educated. They can’t be expected … So, this is important for our kids to learn.
This is a photograph taken from Lockhart River, up near where part of my family comes from. This is all made out of bush food, bush materials, canes from the jungle, thatch from the grasslands. The interior timbers, the ribs, are made from bush timber. I never learned that in school. Wouldn’t I have been proud to have known that my people were capable of doing that? No one told us. There’s still books in schools that show a piece of bark, propped up by a stick, and you people that have got grandkids, go into your school library, and you find one of those books, walk down to the principal’s office and say, “I think this is out of date.” Because our people were said to have been uncivilised, in fact, we had our heads measured to try and prove that we were sub-human,