A start­ing point

Warragul & Drouin Gazette - - NEWS -

Read­ing the let­ter of D. Mor­ris (His­tory is his­tory, Gaz 7/11) con­firms that true recog­ni­tion of the first peo­ple of this coun­try is still some time away.

His com­ment that ‘it was in­evitable that Aus­tralia would even­tu­ally be set­tled’ misses the point that the coun­try was al­ready set­tled be­fore Euro­peans ar­rived.

I doubt the Dutch or French would have done a bet­ter job, but a set­tle­ment that caused wide­spread degra­da­tion of land and dis­place­ment of peo­ple is not some­thing to be proud about.

I agree, we can’t turn back the clock, but try­ing to find jus­ti­fi­ca­tions for wrong do­ing is not the way to go.

One of our cus­toms is to give awards to, or name places af­ter peo­ple we value. How­ever, we ac­cept that these hon­ours must be re­moved when peo­ple are no longer de­serv­ing.

Jobe Wat­son lost his Brown­low medal and Rolf Har­ris was stripped of his OA. I think it is fair that our elec­torate will no longer bear the name of McMil­lan.

It is a start­ing point, which shows we do care when peo­ple feel hurt and that we are se­ri­ous about deal­ing with ‘in­con­ve­nient truths’ in the his­tory of our coun­try.

If we all make an ef­fort to lis­ten to oth­ers and let go of our sense of su­pe­ri­or­ity and en­ti­tle­ment true change could hap­pen.

As for Rus­sell Broad­bent, it is en­cour­ag­ing to see a politi­cian who is stand­ing up for dis­ad­van­taged peo­ple, be it refugees, Abo­rig­i­nal peo­ple or our el­derly.

Marja Bouman, Nilma North hats of yes­ter­year, have all but dis­ap­peared, so mostly there’s noth­ing for us to dip.

And where hats have been re­placed, of­ten by base­ball caps, the cus­tom of dip­ping one’s lid, to sig­nal cour­tesy or re­spect, also seems to have given way to one of keep­ing the cap firmly an­chored on the head at all times – in­side and out; in com­pany or not.

We still hear ex­pres­sions such as ‘hats off to the win­ners’, though, so the thought hasn’t quite died out.

‘Dingo’, ‘drip’ and ‘drongo’ – ‘words for peo­ple with is­sues’, as Wells del­i­cately puts it – were ap­par­ently not cur­rent lingo in CJ Den­nis’ day, while some com­pa­ra­ble la­bels that were, seem­ingly ex­pired be­tween the wars: ‘gazob’, a fool or blun­derer, for ex­am­ple.

Colour­ful words come and go as users seek to make the same points in new ways.

‘Gay’ has gained a whole new mean­ing, Wells notes. So too has ‘guy’: once ‘a fool­ish fel­low’, now he’s one of us, and she is too!

John Hart, War­ragul

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