U3AK Course 2171: First Nations History in the Macedon Ranges
An enlightening experience at the Kyneton Museum
Nine members of the U3AK First Nations History course attended the last class for 2021 at the Kyneton Museum in Piper Street. They came to see the museum’s latest exhibition A Biodiversity Crisis: Animals and plants of the Macedon Ranges. Members were welcomed by the Museum Supervisor Alison Buchanan who introduced Dennis Batty, a local Taungurung man with a life-long knowledge of Indigenous history and issues in this district.
Dennis spoke about three major massacres that occurred in the region in the 1800s and the survival of Aborigines afterwards. He spoke movingly of the survival of his great-grandmother, and how she and other survivors passed down their knowledge to their descendents, including Dennis himself. Dennis spoke extensively and answered questions about Aboriginal society, culture and knowledge. He mentioned two significant sites: Hanging Rock (Ngannelong), an important centre for meetings, learning and ceremonies, and Mt William (Willimee-moor-ing) which may be the oldest mining site in the world and has been nominated for World Heritage listing.
Dennis talked about a number of Indigenous items on display and explained their significance and use. He showed us two hunting boomerangs (they were quite small and would have been used for hunting birds, Dennis said), a shield, a digging stick and two beautifully decorated rhythm sticks inherited from his grandfather.
Dennis held his audience in rapt and respectful attention for almost two hours (quite an achievement with a U3A class!) and managed to fit in a few words about his involvement with Indigenous Employment Partners, a charitable organisation that works with employers and Indigenous groups and individuals to develop pathways into employment for Indigenous people. Dennis was also involved in the development of a Reconciliation Action Plan for the Macedon Ranges. We were very pleased to be able to tell him that our class has been invited by the MRSC to find out more about the RAP, and to take part in the formation of a local Reconciliation group next year. Dennis explained how valuable it would be to have people from our group involved in the Reconciliation process.
Members all thanked Dennis for his enlightening and informative talk, and his openness and generosity in answering so many questions. We thanked Alison for opening the museum for us and making the event happen. The visit was the highlight of many highlights our group experienced in 2021.
Friday@U3A, 5th November, 2021
Yesterday we had an interesting guest speaker, Paul Marson, a China expert, on China’s attitude towards the AUKUS submarine project. He talked about China’s history of dealings with Western countries and quoted from recent Chinese press articles. It was a well attended meeting and I’m sure everyone gained a new insight.
There was a small group for our Friday@U3A today to attend the interesting talk by John Taubman about the Blue Mountains fires in 2013. So interesting the research into the weather that very large bushfires create. There was talk about our responses to fires, how we prepare for them, and where we choose to live!
A couple of photos of John in action.
John in his RFS uniform.
Friday U3A had a fascinating and inspiring talk by Helen Synnott about her life living with a double lung transplant. Here she is with one of our members Anne Hawkins.
Week 2 of the International Folk Dancing Group. It’s a way to keep warm in winter!
Most interesting talk on the History of Woodend by John Shaw. Very well attended! FridayU3A 21/5/21
International Folk Dancing is fun, energetic and very social!
Our tutor Sarah showing us some steps.
Apparently Poetry is fun!
Talk by John Taubman at FridayU3A about the Indonesian submarine KRI Nanggala that sunk off Bali on 7th May 2021.
The first aid course attended by Committee and Tutors from U3AKyneton