“I hear the whispers from ancient times. I hear the stories swim by,” the River said to the Sea.
“I’ve been here from the beginning of time, from when the Rainbow Serpent created me”
“I collect them, the stories of Dreamtime and creation,” the grateful Ocean replied. “I’ve Seen the First People gather, in their sacred places, for thousands and thousands of tides” “I am the sacred protector of the First Nations peoples. Many ancestors are near the flowing water,” said the River.
“I’ve seen you offer water, red ochre, fish and much more. But our culture the Europeans still didn’t consider, now did they, River?”
“Captain Arthur Phillip arrived in 1788,” the Sea cried.
“He proved not to be our best mate,” the regretful River replied.
“The Captain in blue brought disease, items and food we never knew.”
“Aboriginal people were not used to this food. They are used to possums and roo.”
“Some tales I’ve heard are past mistakes, the children got taken from their tents”
“Mother’s were crying while their culture was dying, for 60 years they came and went”.
“I hear the people gathering on the Sydney Harbor Bridge,” the Sea said to the River
“A message of acknowledgement and respect they were trying to deliver.”
“People screamed and shouted as they started to walk.”
“I loved to see the people showing their love and support.”
“I hear the word ‘sorry’ carried by the wind and commemorated with respect, once
“Sorry Day encourages us to reflect on the Indigenous people being betrayed, and this we hold dear”.
We’ve heard the river talk to the sea for many, many years. Whispers along the riverbanks and tears we’ve shed in fear. Our commitment lies with respect towards Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and our Reconciliation journey continues towards a greater future that’s unknown but grown. From River to Sea: Our Island Home.
Our writing group decided to write a poem where the River speaks to the Sea to demonstrate the connection of the River and the Sea. Our poem illustrates the importance of the river to First Nations peoples. We researched and then described six of Australia’s significant events of the past, to show our country’s reconciliation journey. We finished our writing with our hopes of a brighter future for unity and healing as a country.
Reconciliation is taking action and committing to learning about Aboriginal and Torres strait Islander culture, building positive relationships and being brave to make change and heal as a country.
Author’s: Tomasi Tate, Tobias Burke, Harper West and Priya Singh