A full house of some 440 people gathered at the Margaret River HEART – Nala Bardip Mia (Our Story House) on 1 November for an important event. Following soon after the ‘No’ result in the referendum to give Aboriginal people a Voice to Parliament, the presentation on “3000 generations and the next one” was an opportunity for the local community and Aboriginal elders to gather and reflect on what 60,000 years of history means to both and to consider how we can move forward together to care for Wadandi boodja (country).

Elder Dr Wayne Webb spoke movingly about his First Nations heritage and recounted some of his own experiences growing up on the edge of Geographe Bay. “In my childhood, most of the time, I wasn’t much aware of racism,” he recalled. But he showed a picture of his family home in the 1960s, a crude structure made of sticks, tin and bags.

photo of Dr Wayne Webb and Stuart Hicks AO

Dr Wayne Webb and Stuart Hicks AO. Photo Ovis Creative Productions (Thurston
Saulsman), courtesy Margaret River Busselton Tourism Association

Co-presenter Stuart Hicks AO said that we are privileged to live in a place that has been continuously and successfully occupied by human beings for over 3000 generations. He and Wayne outlined four ‘gifts’ which Wadandi culture offers to the next generation— knowledge that they argued could help that generation to become custodians of the land we live on.

“What is a civilization?” Wayne asked. “Civilization is when you come to grips with the rhythms of life, when you bring understanding and order to human engagement with the place where we live.”

“We see all the world as living, and everything depends on everything else. We humans are just a
fragile part of it.”

The presentation ended with Wayne teaching us to speak in Nyungar: Nala jenna-biidi wah, watto
GalyarraWe will walk this path together.

Transition Margaret River is proud to be a supporter of the event, our role being to sponsor a video of
the presentation.

Karen Majer

Transition Margaret River

November 2023