5 Facts About Adelaide Australia

Today I am on a plane to Adelaide.  I’ll be gone only two nights but it was important that I had some face to face time with the organization Ryan and I will be representing during my first MSW internship.  More on the details of the internship on Friday.  But today, here are 5 facts about Adelaide.
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  1. Adelaide is the Capital City of South Australia.
  2. Adelaide is named after Adelaide of Saxe-Meiningen, a German married to King William IV.
  3. Adelaide has a population of about 1.3 million people.
  4. Burger King is called Hungary Jacks in Australia because there was already one small restaurant named Burger King in Adelaide so the franchise had to change their name when expanding to Australia.
  5. The people in Adelaide petitioned for the Beatles to come to their city during their 1964 Australia tour.  They even turned out an impressive crowd of 300,000 people (close to half of Adelaide’s population at that time), which was the biggest crowd of the Beatles entire touring career.

5 Facts About Darwin Australia

Today Ryan is on a plane to Darwin.  He is going to be gone for a long weekend on a scouting/vision trip with some of our other co-workers.  I’m not going with him for a few reasons but mainly I just finished this semester (all three final assignments done and submitted!) and I need a break.  I’ve also been experiencing some gallbladder pain (more on the scheduled surgery later).  So Ryan headed to Darwin without me but it should be a great trip and he gets to experience another part of Australia.

Here are 5 facts about Darwin and Ryan has promised an Instagram picture a day while he’s gone so follow him @lpturntable for a taste of his experiences.Screen Shot 2017-06-08 at 4.55.38 PM

  1. Darwin is the Capital City of the Northern Territory.
  2. Darwin was named after Charles Darwin.
  3. Darwin’s population is the smallest of all the capital cities in Australia with only about 120,000 people.
  4. The same Japanese war planes that attacked Pearl Harbor, attacked Darwin on February 19, 1942.
  5. Darwin is located closer to the capitals of Indonesian, East Timor, Papua New Guinea, Palau and Brunei than it is to it’s own nations capital in Canberra.

Walking Together- Reconciliation Week

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If I learned one thing from attending Sorry Day and Reconciliation Week events, it is that in order to really move forward with Reconciliation in Australia, we all need to learn how to walk together.  It’s more than legislation.  It’s more than mere acknowledgment.  It is about being willing to have the hard discussions and taking the challenging yet necessary steps together.

Reconciliation is a wonderful, hopeful word but it stops meaning something when one or both parties won’t put in the effort it takes to make reconciliation, even the idea possible. I still have a lot to learn about the history of Australia but I’m thankful for events like this where I can keep learning side by side with others who want to walk together.

You Can’t Ask That

Sometimes we think questions in our minds but we don’t have the opportunity to ask.  Sometimes we recognize that our questions would be insensitive, rude or hurtful. Sometimes those questions are indeed all of those things and more.  But sometimes hearing different answers to the questions that may run through your head can be incredibly helpful, give us food for thought and insight or even compassion into someone else’s world.Screen Shot 2017-05-11 at 3.24.01 PMABC in Australia has a very eye opening series called You Can’t Ask That.  In this series they interview a wide range of people from a certain demographic or background and ask them questions that are sometimes rude and often confronting.  The episodes I have watched so far have all been interesting.  I’m not sure if the link will work in the US, but I would recommend the Indigenous episode.  I think there is a lot of learning value to be seen but we need to recognize although the group is diverse, they still only represent a small snapshot of the wide variety of people the terms indigenous or Aboriginal represent.

Anzac Day 2017

Screen Shot 2017-04-25 at 3.29.21 PM.pngAnzac Day is a pretty big deal here in Australia.  I was first introduced to this holiday through the delicious Anzac biscuit.  Click HERE for the recipe I used to make these and let me know if I need to translate some of the ingredients for you:-)  Even Ryan enjoyed this version of these classic cookies and he’s not a coconut fan.  Now that we’re here in Australian, we see that Anzac Day is about more than just a tasty cookie…excuse me, more than just a tasty biscuit.

Anzac Day commemorates the first major military action Australia and New Zealand fought in during WWI.  Today we heard over and over again “Lest we forget.”  Because this military action, along with many others, happened at dawn the first celebrations/remembrances began with a dawn service up at Kings Park and then there was a breakfast in the city.

We did not make it to either of those events but we found ourselves a great spot along the parade route.  And we enjoyed the cool morning while chatting with a women next to us about Anzac Day and the celebrations.  The parade had marching bands, lots of bagpipes and people of all ages marching in remembrance.

We enjoyed hearing the many versions of Waltzing Matilda and other songs too as current service men and women, veterans and family members marched by.  Australia recognizes that they have fought alongside many other countries as well, so some of them (including the USA) were honored in the parade as well.

After the parade we walked over to the park where they held a memorial service.  The Governor of Western Australia spoke as well as a wounded veteran.  It was warm in the sun but we still enjoyed the service and hearing the choir sing about Australia.  Anzac Day is yet another cultural experience for us here in Perth.

Matagarup/Heirisson Island

Screen Shot 2017-04-01 at 4.38.18 PMFor the past 3 months, Ryan and I have driven and walked over this island countless times, barely giving it any thought.  We just figured it was an island but had no idea of the historical and cultural significance.  And we also had no idea that it was home to kangaroos.  Our place is located in the top left corner of the above picture which shows just how close the island is to us.  Matagarup was a traditional camp, meeting ground and hunting place for the Noongar people.  Today it retains its spiritual significance while also being a place of political activism as well as sanctuary.  Screen Shot 2017-04-01 at 4.30.34 PM.pngOn the southern end of Matagarup is a statue of Yagan, an Aboriginal warrior and Noongar hero.  Yagan was famously decapitated and his head was shipped to England to be exhibited as an “anthropological curiosity“.  This statue has been vandalized at least twice and the head removed but he currently stands, proud, head in tact, looking out over the Swan River.

The island itself is very beautiful with little lakes, paths and places where people have camped and could camp again.  The northern part of the island has a few picnic tables, a play structure and a parking lot for easy access but the southern part of the island is more natural.  Although there are paths crisscrossing the whole island and a fence on the southern part to keep the kangaroos safe.

Kangaroos have been brought to this island a few times when they have lost their parents or for other reasons couldn’t be left out in the wild.  There are currently 5 female kangaroos living here and a ranger gave us some food so we fed one of them and hung out for awhile.  Three others were off somewhere else but a larger one was relaxing in the shade nearby and didn’t really pay much attention to us.  I did however get the little one to pose and smile for the camera.Screen Shot 2017-04-01 at 4.31.41 PMWe will definitely return to Matagarup and continue learning about the significance this island has to the Aboriginal, especially the Noongar, people.  One of the ways I’m doing this is by following Clinton’s Walk for Justice.  Clinton is an Aboriginal man who is currently walking across Australia.  Where did his walk begin?  You guessed it.  Matagarup.

Putuparri and the Rainmakers

One of my current units at UWA is called Indigenous People and Social Work.  Indigenous studies is a very important topic in Australia and so it is no surprise that this is one of our first units.  I feel like everything I previously learned and read about the Aboriginal and Torres Straight Islander communities is now being reinforced, expanded and given a new Social Work perspective.  I hope that by the end of this unit I will begin to see my knowledge deepen beyond a superficial understanding.  Screen Shot 2017-03-14 at 4.50.21 PM.pngA documentary that was recommended to us is Putuparri and the Rainmakers.  I’m not sure how you would get ahold of it in the US but in Australia you can stream it through SBS On Demand.  This documentary talks about Aboriginal culture, history, land rights, the law and so much more.  It is yet another perspective and another group of voices to add to my understanding and appreciation for Aboriginal life, history and culture.