New England, Australia

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Spring Soiree at NERAM (New England Regional Art Museum) 11 September 2015

NERAM has invited all those who would like to attend to come to a Spring Soiree at NERAM
11 September 2015 - 5:30pm.

The Spring Celebration is intended to welcome NERAM's new Director, a new Café and a new Season ahead!
  • Meet Robert Heather, incoming Director at NERAM.
  • Enjoy finger food from the new café, Studio 52. 
  • Buy wine by the glass from the Friends of NERAM.
  • Complimentary non-alcoholic drinks available.
If you want to come you must let NERAM know. Just to tempt you this is a piece from the permanent collection

About Robert:

Robert Heather comes to NERAM from the State Library of Victoria where he was manager of events and exhibitions, and before that, director of Artspace in Mackay, and executive director of the Regional Galleries Association of Queensland. He has also worked at Cairns Regional Gallery and the Queensland Art Gallery.

About Studio 52:

David Thomas and Phil Tutt come to NERAM from Trina's in Uralla, where they established a reputation for great food and service. They are looking forward to providing the same quality service and varied menu at NERAM. Studio 52 will be open during NERAM's opening hours, 10am-4pm Tuesday to Sunday.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Newcastle eLearning company launches online platform to help teachers build their own courses

New product launch that I found interesting. The story draws from the press release, but I'm interested in both prmoting New England businesses and in the application of new technology in education. 

Newcastle based edtech company Futura Group, today launched eCoach BETA, a cloud-based platform providing high school teachers with simple tools to build and design their own engaging online courses.

The eCoach allows teachers to transform their own materials into online courses attractive to students. 

According to Jude Novak (eCoach Product Manager), “courses made with the eCoach can be used to promote discovery, problem solving, and decision making in a fun and engaging way. The builder includes over 20 easy to use drag-and-drop eLearning templates to ensure that students have a great educational experience online”.

The company argues that with escalating professional demands such as reporting, compliance and benchmarking, teachers are increasingly time-poor; to stay ahead of the technology curve and deliver tech-savvy students with interactive course content would normally mean developing design skills or learning complex authoring software.

“Some teachers simply don’t have the time or design knowledge to create high-quality eLearning. The eCoach gives them everything they need to build interactive resources, without the headache of learning how to use complicated software”.

The eCoach is a cloud-based solution and courses are smartphone compatible and BYOD ready, meaning that students will be able to access courses at home, ‘on the go’, or in the classroom. This ‘build once and use anywhere’ approach means that the eCoach can be easily paired with popular tools like Google Classroom to transform teaching and learning in high schools.  
Google’s Education tools are widely used by teachers (both here and abroad) to foster collaboration and creativity. “Using the eCoach in tandem with such tools will help students have fun while they discover information and interact with new ideas”.    

“It looks great!” said Rachel McCann, PDHPE Teacher at Mudgee High School. “It’s not only highly engaging, but it provides a kind of consistent shape and form to lesson resources. I also love the fact that I can easily share courses I’ve made with my students using Google Classroom for safe and secure access.”

There are currently 175 teachers registered for eCoach BETA. Anyone interested in the eCoach can request access via the website:

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Enova and Sydney's 1995 electricity heist

Back in November 2014 I provided a brief report on Northern Rivers plans to launch a community owned clean energy generator. Now the proposals have got to the launch stage, with the new venture to be called Enova.

I'm sorry, but I can't help feeling angry. Not, I hasten to add, with Enova, just with Sydney's great big electricity heist. You see, we used to have New England power distributors, many with their own generation capacity.They were profitable, with the profits ploughed back into local activities.

Then, the good folks in the NSW Treasury decided that this wasn't right. Those local county councils did not have the economies of scale to survive. Further, they were capital lazy, not required to earn a sufficient return on capital. So what those bright sparks in Sydney did was to take over the lot, centralise them, then borrow against the assets, all this in the name of economic rationalism and efficiency. That money was effectively pissed away without gain to the areas that lost their assets and associated cash flow. The world has changed and now we are trying to recreate.

Okay, I may be wrong and prejudiced, but this 2010 post (Sydney's 1995 electricity heist) provides the background, footnotes and all. Am I wrong to be angry?

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Save New England - how do we manage our environmental wars?

I have mixed views about New England's environmental wars, although I have tried to report on them objectively.

I have two of these sloppy joes. On the back it reads, no Big Guns on New England. They date back many years to a time when there was a proposal to take a large part of the New England Tablelands and turn it into a military firing range,

I was happy to join that protest because it struck me as a crazy idea. So I am not averse to personal participation in protests. Indeed, so far as New England is concerned, I seem to have been protesting much of my life!

One of my central concerns has been the structural decline in the area that I love, the rise of both relative and indeed absolute poverty. I have seen skills and jobs stripped away through economic change combined with Government policy and regulation. I became a supporter of the environmental movement many years ago and then moved away because its proponents could not answer a basic question: you say that this is a good thing, that it will have environmental benefits, but who will compensate us for the economic costs that we must bear?

I was in Grafton when I was handed a flier opposing the logging of old growth forests. I broadly supported that, if not with the passion of the exponents. I looked at the flier. On jobs, it said don't worry, new jobs will be created in Oberon through plantation tree farming. I looked at them  Leaving aside any issues that might be involved in the expansion of plantation farming, they were trying to tell me that a job created in Oberon was an equivalent offset to a job lost in Grafton. Tell that to the people losing their jobs.

In many of these battles we are dealing with absolutes that cannot be reconciled. The proponents, both sides, will use whatever arguments they can to support their case.Both are passionate. Neither are objective.

In trying to steer a personal path through this maze, I have tried to argue two things: the first is the need for objective assessment, the second for compensation and benefit sharing.

This is an environmental video on the the current environmental battles affecting the Liverpool Plains. Here the battle is over a proposed coal mine. I have included it for two reasons. The first is that it is an example of the sophistication of the current environmental campaigns. The second is that it shows a little of the beauty of the area, the colours that I have written about in speaking of both paintings and film. Further comments follow the video.

I have known the Plains all my life. It is a beautiful, fertile area with the best ground water in New England. For that reason, as well as my dislike at the way external bodies and especially governments can simply come in and strip away local rights in the name of progress, I am instinctively inclined to support the protests at personal level. And then I remember the way that Gunnedah was on its beam ends because of the combination of rural decline with decline in coal mining. So how do we balance this?

As late as the 1960, new state New England had a population and economic base greater than WA or SA. Now we are are behind SA. We also have some of the poorest areas in Australia as measured by the Australian Bureau of Statistics.So I don't think that it is sufficient to oppose particular developments,. I would argue that we have to do more than that. I think that we need to explain the positives, not just present the negatives.      .

Monday, August 17, 2015

Still time to visit Lismore Gallery's Rennie Ellis exhibition

I have been meaning to mention this one for a while. The Lismore Regional Art Gallery has an exhibition on at present showcasing the work of photographer Rennie Ellis (1940–2003). This is one of the photographs on display, Mr Muscleman, Albert Park Beach.

 Ellis is a key figure in Australian visual culture, best remembered for his effervescent observations of Australian life exemplified in his iconic book Life is a beach. Although invariably infused with his own personality and wit, the thousands of social documentary photographs taken by Ellis now form an important historical record.

The Rennie Ellis Show highlights some of the defining images of Australian life from the 1970s and ‘80s. This is the period of Gough Whitlam and Malcolm Fraser; Paul Keating and Bob Hawke; AC/DC and punk rock; cheap petrol and coconut oil; Hari Krishnas and Hookers and Deviant balls.

This exhibition of 100 photographs provides a personal account of what Ellis termed ‘a great period of change’. The photographs explore the cultures and subcultures of the period, and provide a strong sense of a place that now seems a world away; a world free of risk, of affordable inner city housing, of social protest, of disco and pub rock, of youth and exuberance.

The travelling exhibition is presented by the Rennie Ellis Photographic Archive and Monash Gallery of Art with support from the Victorian Government through Creative Victoria.

The exhibition will be open until 5 September.

Monday, August 03, 2015

For Deborah Tree - a guided introduction to Judith Wright and the Wright Family

Back in July 2015 Deborah Tree wrote in a comment on a post I had written in January 2007, Poetry's Decline and the Sound of Words:
Hello Jim I have just discovered the poems of Judith Wright - a friend gave me her "Collected Poems" yesterday and already I've learned the first verse of "South of my Days" mainly because it was the favourite of my friend. As I learn the words and say them out loud, the poem changes for me; I become enchanted by the sound of the words (as you said) and the way Judith has woven them like a rose brier hedge, an enduring essence of a distant, simpler life of survival through hardship. There is romance in that, and in her love of country. I have a Wright journey ahead of me. Cheers Deborah
The photo shows Judith Wright in 1946.

I promised to bring up a consolidated post that might assist Deborah in her journey. This is that post. Because of the scale of the task, I am going to have to let the post evolve.


Judith Wright was born on 31 May 1915. From then until her death on 25 June 2000, her life and career went through a number of stages.As she went through those stages, her attitudes and interests changed.  “You ask me to read those poems I wrote in my thirties?” she wrote in Skins when she was sixty-six.. “They dropped off several incarnations back.”

My primary interest in lies in her connection with Northern New South Wales, the broader New England that is the subject of my main historical work. I am interested in her as a New England writer and as a member of a family that played a significant role in New England history.

To my mind, Judith remained a quintessentially New England writer. That was where her views were first formed, although her later experiences and especially her relationship with the older novelist and philosopher Jack McKinney would exercise a powerful influence over her. Judith met Jack McKinney when she moved to Brisbane. He was a much older man, some twenty four years her senior, only two years younger than her father. They fell in love, moving to Mount Tamborine in 1950; daughter Meredith was born in that year. In 1962, Jack and Judith finally married. Four years later Jack died, leaving a hole in Judith’s life.

Jack McKinney was the second of three powerful men in Judith Wright’s life. The first was her father, Phillip Arundell Wright, with whom she shared a middle name. The third was H C “Nugget” Coombs, a noted Australian economist and public servant, with whom she had a twenty five year love affair. Coombs was again an older man, in this case by nine years. Both were major public figures. Judith was a widow, Coombs long separated from his wife. Both shared common interests, including Aboriginal advancement and the environment. Judith moved to Braidwood to be closer to the Canberra based Coombs, but the affair was kept secret, if open to their friends and the Canberra network within which they moved.

Each man had a powerful impact on Judith, but I think that it was the father that formed her core views. It was he that gave her that love of the environment and of the country. It was he that gave her that love, affection and unstinting support that seems to shine through in the letters between them. This image is one of  W E Pidgeon's (WEPs') portrait of Judith's father.

 I knew her father as a much older man. PA, we all spoke of him as PA, was my grandfather’s friend; my grandfather was godfather to his son who bore the same first name; my copy of Generations of Men carries my grandfather’s signature, bought in the year the book first came out. To me, PA was a somewhat remote figure. I saw him at events and at the New England New State Movement Executive meetings that he sometimes chaired. I and my fellow students at the University of New England where he was chancellor poked gentle fun at him for his sometimes mangled English. It would be a number of years before I came to properly understand his contribution to Northern life and the causes he supported. .

Judith loved her father, she loved the Falls country in which she grew up, she loved the life on the family properties. Her earlier works reflect that love, and then the joy she found in her relationship with Jack McKinney. Later, there would come a darkening of spirit, erosion in optimism, a rejection of elements of her past. 

Judith had the misfortune to be born a girl in an age when men inherited. Especially after the death of PA, she became separated from the properties and life she had loved, although the family ties remained close. Towards the end of her life, she saw the end of the Wright family empire that had been carefully built by her grandparents and especially grandmother May Wright. The ABC TV Dynasties program recorded the event in this rather dramatic way:

By December 2000, he (brother David) had lost it all – his properties, his cattle and his wife to cancer. His sister, the poet Judith Wright, watched in despair and died soon after.

That’s dramatic, but the loss was a profound one. Generations of Men is dedicated to the children of May and Albert, to her father and his brothers and sisters. The phrase generations of men comes from Blake’s Milton; the verse is quoted on the book’s title page:

The generations of men run on in the tide of time
But their destn’d lineaments permanent for ever and ever.

If you look at those words, you can get a feel for Judith’s subsequent sense of loss.

Six years after Judith’s death, David died suddenly. It was a shock. On his death, University of New England Professor Bernie Bindon described David as one of the pioneers of the scientific research underpinning today's Australian beef industry. "I can't think of a beef industry person” Professor Bindon said, “who's made a bigger contribution to not only the growth of the beef industry but the science that underpins the beef business," 

The Herefords .that formed the base of the V1V and V2V Wright brands began their life at Dalwood. It was Judith’s grandparents, the core characters in Generations of Men, who began the breeding program that created the Wright cattle. PA, then David and other Wright family members carried it through to the end. There is a whole story there.  

So, Deborah, you have begun a journey that can not only gratify in terms of the poetry, but which can carry you through into many aspects of Australian life.It's also a story that is sufficiently well documented for you to get to know the people and their connections.  


I will break the remaining post into three parts:
  • my posts on Judith and the Wrights.
  • the published material, including the locally published material that you might not find unless you know where to look.
  • a short guide to on-line sources that I am aware off.

My posts 

The various posts I have written to this point are set out below. They vary considerably in topic and length. I suggest that you scan quickly, that will give you a feel, and then come back to those that interest you. I welcome comments.

To be continued

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Snow in Australia's New England

There were quite heavy snow falls at the weekend across the New England Tablelands. This photo by Bonnie Smith shows the Edwardian Langford homestead on the outskirts of Walcha.

Driving too and from Sydney I have often stopped on the road outside just to have a look. I have never been inside. That is a treat I have promised myself for a future occasion.

For people who don't know New England, the New England Tablelands is not as high as the Southern Alps, but it does have six mountains over 5,000 feet (1,524 metres), another dozen over 4,000 feet.(1,219 meters).  Walcha where this photo was taken has a height of 3,501 feet (1,067 metres).

This next shot is taken along Thunderbolt's Way, the road between Gloucester and Walcha that runs past Langford to Uralla and then on to Inverell. Some city people don't like this road because it's narrow in spots and can be a bit rough. You also have to watch for stock and kangaroos. Still, its a beautiful drive that also happens to be the quickest route to Armidale and indeed on to Brisbane.

You would think that snow would be frequent in such high country and indeed it does fall on a regular basis. However, the New England Tablelands are much further north than either the Blue Mountains or Southern Alps, tempering the climate. However, the high country is sufficiently spectacular and sometimes cold enough to form the tourism theme for the Tablelands, New England High Country (Facebook page) .

Armidale at 3,215 feet (980 metres) claims, accurately enough, to be the highest city in Australia. However, while some snow falls every winter, heavy falls are relatively uncommon. For that reason, one of the local rituals over so many years for both school and university students has been to hop into buses or cars and travel north up the highway towards Black Mountain (4,304 feet, 1,312 metres). There students, many of whom have never seen snow before, made snowmen and threw snowballs.

.The last photo is again near Walcha.

Guyra (4,364 feet, 1,330 metres) lies just to the north of Black Mountain. I used to play Rugby Union at school. I remember one match at Guyra with the temperature close to freezing and the snow sleeting in from the west. It was so cold that the tips of my fingers were blue, making it quite painful if you miss-caught the ball, hitting the finger tips.

 They breed them tough in the North. The Sydney schools coming up to play Rugby in Armidale during winter found the hard grounds and the sometimes biting westerlies something of an ordeal.

North of Guyra the road stretches on the Glen Innes (3,484 feet, 1,062 metres) though more high country. I have actually never seen snow in Glen. The road north is usually closed during those very heavy falls.

Each major snow-fall brings a stream of visitors from the sub-tropical coast up the mountain ranges to the nearest snow point. The bush goes very quiet when it snows. Sound is dampened, except for the sometimes sound of water. Even though the roads can be treacherous, there is something very calming about the experience.

Sunday, July 05, 2015

Creating a New England fringe festival

The Edinburgh Fringe Festival claims to be the largest arts festival in the world. At yesterday's inaugural  meeting of the New England (Northern) new state group Sydney group ( New England New State Sydney discussion group formed) it was agreed that we should:
1 Raise the prospect of a New England Fringe Festival that may include a combination of cultural, political and intellectual events amongst our networks in order to gauge the responses and prospects of participation and support.
This post looks at some of the issues involved.

What is a fringe festival?

 The Edinburgh Festival describes itself in this way:
“Every year we think we know what it’s going to deliver, but every year it surprises, delights, amazes and inspires. The Fringe is a festival like no other. Completely open access – where artists don’t need to wait for an invitation, where anyone with a story to tell is welcome. Where there’s no curator, no vetting, no barriers. Just incredible talent from almost fifty countries all over the world"
Edinburgh is a well established and in many ways unique festival. However, the concept of openness, of letting the world come, is important.

Why a New England fringe festival? 

New England has many generally small arts festivals.It is also made up of many towns or cities, each in rivalry with each other. There is remarkably little cross-promotion. If you have an official festival, then each place will seek to maximise its gain. to sell itself against others. I know that may sound harsh, but its true. Each place has its own story, but that is lost in  the competitive cacophony.  

 If you have a structured festival that is independent of place ore indeed of event, that competition can feed into a better experience for all.

There is a further factor, one referred to in in passing in the meeting summary, the combination of events that spans artistic experience. New England, the broader North, has its own history and culture, but this is fragmented along particular cultural lines, fragmented between communities. Over the last four decades, our knowledge of our own history and culture, the sharing of cultural experiences, has declined. There are many reasons for this, including the decline in the separatist cause that once provided a unifying element, changes in media ownership, changes in Government structures and funding arrangements that tend to fragment. 

We want to turn this around.This doesn't mean that the festival must have a central New England focus, although some of that should be there. To dictate what should go into a fringe festival is anathema to the very concept. However, the idea of a festival that might combine the local and the regional with broader endeavours and trends is very attractive. It might both promote local cultural endeavour and skills and integrate that into the broader world.

Is there enough local endeavour to  provide the required base?

The fact that I have posed this question is itself a sign of the decline we are attempting to address. Of course there is! A fringe festival is not about artistic excellence, although that might be there. It is about sharing what we have, about encouraging others to come.

This shot comes from the Walcha. The whole of Walcha is becoming a sculpture town. It's just one example of the things to see that already exist.

How might it be organised?

It needs to start small. It shouldn't take away from other festivals or activities, but to be used to promote them.

We need a number of participating communities to provide a focus. This need not be large to begin with. Local Government support would be helpful as sponsors and to help coordinate. The regional arts and tourism bodies would also need to be involved.

There would also need to be some form of central organisation to coordinate central marketing, promotion and fund raising.. 

We would also need active support from the local media.  

What might go into the program? 

Each community would look at the things that they have already or that they might do.We need a base package of activities that could be added to a program and cross-promoted, something to build from.

 This  painting, Oxley Highway 2007 is by Walcha artist Julia Griffin. 

At least for the first few festivals, it might be desirable to have one or two key themes to provide a degree of unity. 

We are talking not just about a festival, but a fringe festival. By their nature, fringe festivals are slightly funky, edgy, involving new players and local participation. That makes them fun.

Edinburgh has a recognised brand, it is a capital city and has a large relatively close population base. The fringe also spun off an internationally recognised festival, the Edinburgh International Festival.In the Edinburgh case, fringe means on the margins of an existing festival. In the New England case, fringe means on the margin of multiple activities and attractions spread over space. That's a very different challenge. Available venues are also smaller and may lack facilities. 

 To overcome these problems while keeping the funky, edgy feel,  we would need a community focus that welcomes visitors while giving locals the chance to strut their stuff. We need a combination of main stream with new. And we must cross-promote so that people will travel. 

All this will take thought, imagination and time.

Next Steps

At this point, we are just floating the idea to get people thinking. Over the next few months we will continue to brain storm. In the meantime, we would like feedback on the things that people might like to see or do.    

       .      .

Saturday, July 04, 2015

New England New State Sydney discussion group formed

Over a very pleasant BBQ lunch at my place today, we agreed to:

1 Raise the prospect of a New England Fringe Festival that may include a combination of cultural, political and intellectual events amongst our networks in order to gauge the responses and prospects of participation and support.

2. Create a Sydney Discussion Group with Jarrod Hore and Carlo Ritchie as co-convenors in order to organise further meetings in Sydney, expand the network of those interested in a Northern State, and raise awareness of the North amongst the network of 'ex-patriates' who reside in Sydney.

3. Meet again in October at the Dock in Redfern, and each bring along someone new who might be interested in discussing and promoting aspects of Northern culture, politics, history and heritage.

The broad emphasis on Northern culture, politics, history and heritage is important for we are concerned not just with the question of self-government, but also with the protection and promotion of our own unique culture, history and sense of identity.I will write something on the fringe festival concept tomorrow.

It really was a pleasant lunch, greatly helped by Carlo's kindness in bringing along samples of the fine product of the New England Brewing Company.  

Wednesday, July 01, 2015

New states, history and the sense of New England identity

Senator Matt Canavan has again raised the new state cause. This led to a small media flurry. In discussion, Mitchell wrote: Unfortunately aussies hate change. The attitudes in the comment threads from news posts is really disheartening. I responded:
Don't be disheartened, Mitchell Nicholas Ophir. We have been going for almost 160 years and have always failed. Out of that failure we have created national parks, teachers colleges, universities, books schools, political traditions, intellectual traditions. We have influenced politics and thought. We are playing a long game. The institutional barriers are such that without physical insurrection, success is hard. But we are fighting for our own history and the things that we have achieved. That's not all bad.
In this short post, I want to reflect on what I said to Mitchell. 

A lot of the discussion on constitutional reform in Australia is phrased in abstract terms set within the frame defined by the current constitution.

Some argue for the abolition of the states with, in some cases, their replacement by regional councils. This is extremely difficult for it requires a fundamental change to the existing constitution, Others argue for a restatement of relations within the current constitution to return powers to the states. That does not affect the constitution, but is extremely difficult because Federal governments of any persuasion are reluctant to give up real powers, the states suspicious of change in circumstances where final financial control rests with the Commonwealth.  

At this level, the new state movements are a little different because they argue for smaller units related to geography within the existing constitution. That constitution provides for the creation of new states. The impediment is not the constitution, but the unwillingness of existing states to see their territories subdivided.The problem is political, not constitutional. However, because of the nature of the political opposition, the new state movements have argued over time that the constitution should be amended to allow the inhabitants of particular areas to gain self government through some form of popular expression that would override the opposition of the state in question. This is a difficult ask for it requires constitutional change that would, effectively, be opposed by all existing interests.   

The nature of the problems involved leads to depression. Why bother when the cards are stacked against you?  However, it's not quite as clear-cut as that. 

Since the separatist cause first emerged in the lead up to the separation of the Moreton Bay Colony, now Queensland, it has been riven by divisions. At the beginning, it was the division between squatters and small farmers and towns' people, between those saw either joining with Moreton Bay or the creation of a new colony as a way of meeting labour shortages through continued convict importation and those who were opposed. A little later, it was the towns' people who became the separatists because they saw the return from land sales in their area all spent in Sydney. 

As the decades passed. as the agitation rose and fell, the composition of those opposed and those supporting shifted depending on the circumstances of the time.In 1967 when the question was put to plebiscite, the vote was lost 53% to 47% with the no vote concentrated in the Newcastle and coal fields electorates, in the southern dairy farming electorates. The first group feared Country Party domination in the new Parliament, the second loss of preferential access to the Sydney milk market. Economics and party politics are always important.

Two things happened in the midst of shifting agitation and alliances. The first was the creation of a sense of Northern identity, a recognition that the North had its own history and interests. The separatists campaigned for the North, stated that the North was different, an entity. The North did indeed have its own identity based on history and geography, but the campaigns emphasized that  separateness. The second was the establishment of a clear relationship between the rise and fall of new state agitation and the public and political recognition of New England as an entity that had to be taken into account, that could not be ignored, that had to be satisfied in some way. 

Since the plebiscite loss, that sense of New England identity has declined. Further and unlike North Queensland where distance from Brisbane has maintained the sense of separation, New England has become increasingly fragmented between the growing metros of Sydney and Brisbane. And yet, history and geography have both ensured a continuation of that sense of Northernness.        

In my comment to Mitchell, I said that we were fighting for our own history. Many, even in the North, would deny that we have our own unique history or would say that it's just not important in the changing sweep of Australian history. Each region of New England has its own history, but sitting on top of this, integrating it, is a Northern history. 

I write the weekly history column for the Armidale Express. I know from talking to people that the sense of Northern history, even New England Tablelands' history, has declined relative to local history. The sense of identity, of interconnection, has diminished. 

When we talk about the fight for self-government we are not just talking about a constitutional battle, we are not just talking about the fight for political and economic recognition, we are actually fighting for the continued recognition of our story as something important and worthwhile. This holds for the North in general and for the different parts of the North. We have our own narrative and that's worth preserving.

New England's Aboriginal peoples talk about sense of country, of the importance of linkages between present and past. They have very particular reasons for emphasising that, but it's true for the rest of us as well. That is what we are fighting for, not just for self-government as such.