Note: Where available, the PDF/Word icon below is provided to view the complete and fully formatted document
Disclaimer: The Parliamentary Library does not warrant the accuracy of closed captions. These are derived automatically from the broadcaster's signal.
Message Stick -

View in ParlView

(generated from captions) Hello, I'm Miriam Corowa.

Welcome to Message Stick. of Portrait Of A Distant Land, Today's story is the final episode photographer, Ricky Maynard. about acclaimed Tasmanian

Centre for Photography, in New York, A graduate of the International Australian and international awards. Ricky has won many prestigious Ricky is on a mission In today's episode, of Tasmanian Aboriginal extinction. to dispel the myth Cape Barron, to the lights of Paris, We journey with him from remote of his exhibition. for the triumphant opening

Portrait Of A Distant Land. We hope you enjoy with these last three negatives - What this means,

for the Paris exhibition. we just can't use them Ah, yes. Devastating. Ah, three, darl. Mush it up, I think. It's a pity it wasn't useable. Yeah, yeah. Yeah, it's perfect. Oh, it was quite a lovely picture. Mm. Well, it's everything I wanted. a basic idea, really, I mean, this gives you a sort of of what could have been possible, about mastering the large format but that's part of the process, too, of film, of great photographers and the highlight into producing the very best is that they've honed their technique from the materials they have. on the next part of the project, 'That's my next challenge down the east coast of Tasmania. place here, and see my mum. I just want to go into my auntie's to show her before we head off.' There's something I really want WOMAN: Four fives? Hello, everybody. (ALL CHEER, LAUGH) WOMAN: Lovely to see you. Now, Mum, are you going to come down these billboards with me? and have a look at Now? These pictures on the big billboard? Yeah, well, in a minute. from the pictures from the islands, The billboards are the ones from the islands, and the stories I've been telling have a look at that one, hey? so I want you to come down, and we'll OK, baby. are part of the billboard project, 'These pictures here exhibition of Ten Days On The Island. part of the overall Tasmanian are going on to be shown in Paris.' These are the very same images that for Aunty Ida. Lovely. And we've got a little memorial there that little chapel there? Yeah. Beyond the trees, remember Yeah, that's really beautiful. Yeah, might sit down over here, Mum. It's really interesting to come back, to see the work on big billboards in your home town, in your home suburb,

in story telling, and of course, this is the ultimate from the islands where Mum grew up, where you see the stories and raised a family. and before they came to town very special, in my career. These are the times that are very, sort of exhibitions, and all that, Over and above the limelight that really matter to me, I think. these are the things Wattle Street Flats, down there, I was born in the old the islands, they stayed there. so when all the families come off

There was big families. they're still there. In Wattle Street, And this was the first port of call, what we called the Bank Homes, in, as far as getting their first, and still here, hey, Mum? Still here. Yeah. Still here. why the families came off, then, Well, there was many reasons and that was in the '40s and '50s. Well, some of it was forced removal. as an Aboriginal community, That put you in a place then they force you back off it, now, from that period, but even the generation of elders to withstand all that hardship. are incredibly strong people, who had the other day. Yeah, Russell stopped here Did he? (LAUGHS) a very small town on the coast. We're heading down to a little - We're trying to find Patsy Cameron, Aboriginal unit at the university. who used to be head of the

How are you going, Ricky? Yeah, yeah. Yeah, good thanks, Patsy. into a location, Well, you're actually honing

and Mannalargenna - our tribal chief, where George Augustus Robinson in history, had quite a famous meeting in the sense that he finally agreed, from George Augustus Robinson, with some persuasion to the islands of the Bass Strait, to travel with him to return to the homelands one day. with always the promise of being able

came down the coast. Robinson actually to have a look where he is, He goes up a peak

to get his bearings, a couple of miles from the camp, and then he proceeds Mannalargenna walks up. and that's when in this group, There's five men and two women talking that night, and when they are to find the page number - he tells them - and Vicki might like that the soldiers are coming, but he tells them the black people. Yeah. and they're gonna kill through fear. He actually coerced them But this is what my project's about. of emotion to history. Yeah. It's about bringing a little bit at this particular place, Our mob were double-crossed of the landscape, in this particular part and were taken from, which the country that we owned, Wybalenna is that they've sent exile. and, you know, then the picture at in fact, is a fallacy. And Robinson's written word, but, I mean, you know, A great journal writer, and all that, in his journal? what exactly was he putting in his record keeping, though, He was meticulous but it was from a white perspective. Yeah. White perspective? Yeah. WOMAN: They've got a lookout. a lookout around. See? There's a bit of that changed the course of history. It, in fact, was a sight when this meeting took place You know, this would have been here between Mannalargenna and Robinson. So we do know it's this area here - higher ground, of course, and dryer, from the marsh there, and taking on a this is the place. so we definitely know too, as well. But it's looking in the landscape people would have sat, you know? You try to imagine where I mean, that's where the tripod goes.

the bloody picture, you know, No matter what's in that's where the tripod goes. the real significance of - And that's what covers and the way I photograph. of the way I came to the country

to meet dragging their feet, The ancestors were noted for coming with a spear between their big toes, so it's about the way you would have imagined that they would have come to the country, and come to a meeting with a white man. I'm thinking, you know, a sense of history, a sense of time,

a sense of place. Done. This is where we was yesterday, when we got that historical mark of the meeting, just outside us in St Helens, here.

Now, we move back up here into Eddystone Point. Well, I was going to try and do the linking picture that related directly from the meeting place to the final journey. So, in waking up this morning, I was pretty excited about it, and looked back up towards the islands, and of course there was nothing visible, mainly due to the ultraviolet light in the distance. It may have happened that they would have boarded the boat here, at Little Mussel Road Bay, which is further from here. It's further up, which we'll go and have a look at this afternoon. There's the destination over there. That's where they stood on them hills, far over there, crying to get back to here.

If Flinders Island was more defined, we would definitely be able to make a picture today, but won't be able to, but that's the place where it's got to be shot from, without a doubt.

So we're coming into, just off Long Island, now, which is right at the opposite of Cape Barren Island. Now, Long Island, you know, you will see as we go past, it's distinguished by a big set of boulders and rocks we call the Balancing Rocks. That's the country and the island of my great-grandfather - John Morgan Stick Maynard. He was born there. Well, in fact, in that era,

there would have been many Aboriginal people born in every island you see around here. A lot of our ancestors were gathered by George Augustus Robinson, and bought to this place, which was originally established as one of the friendly missions. We see a monument, a missing plaque, which was originally a commemoration to the chief of our tribe - Mannalargenna.

The burial ground that lies in the front of this monument, is the burial ground of some 300 graves, of our ancestors - a place that was once marked by our community with crosses to commemorate all 300 individual graves.

It's ready, there. You look at - make sure everything's there. To take on a project that is personal as well as being a major project -

it's coming back to those things that I know. And of course, in amongst 20 years of drinking, you totally lose base of your own values and your own community, and your own identity as an Aboriginal person.

I can remember talking to one of my mates after the rehab period. I said, "I think in some ways, I've had to go through all the bullshit to get back to, really, what life is really about - the basic values of caring, sharing and love." Thank you. (BOTH LAUGH) How are you? Good.

Yeah. How's your birding going? Yeah, good. Yeah? Have you been working hard? Yep. As you always do? Yeah. What are you doing here? I'm still on my project. Oh. You know when I was doing the landscapes down the west coast, there? Yeah. Well, now, I'm just doing a bit around the other islands, now. Oh. So eventually, in another year, we'll all be able to put all this work together as a big story. Yeah. Our story.

And looks are deceiving, cos whilst it looks very easy, it's not. A lot of blackfellas worked that island too, didn't they? Mm. Over the years. So 50 years of every year, birding? It's amazing. It's a bleeding holiday to me, man.

What most people and other Aboriginal mobs around Australia will identify us with, is the mutton-bird or the moonbird mob. It involves so many things about the community. The coming together for a cultural practice that's hundreds, maybe thousands of years old, and in that cultural landscape of the islands stems a lot of cultural practice, of shell necklace making,

basket weaving.

The men still practice bushcraft and weapons, and so a lot of things develop around that core traditional practice. (MURMURS) (LAUGHS) How're you going, man? (BOTH LAUGH)

BIRD SQUAWKS Lot's more birds, Rick. Yeah, yeah. How's the season going, man? Yeah, good old, mate. Yeah? Yeah. Birds starting to firm up, mate.

Yeah, we're talking about Irish ancestry, and there's only two places in the world where they have the Christmas Fires. That's on Cape Barren Island, and the Isle of Ireland.

Um, well, it's obviously traditional. It's an Irish tradition that's been bought over. Well, we grew up with lots of Irish traditions - the old Irish music, the boat building... ..um... ..yeah, and then the Christmas Fires. And the drinking? (LAUGHS) (ALL LAUGH) Yeah, no. Might get a run every now and then. (ALL LAUGH) They used to say there was an old gravesite over there, a couple of old headstones and that.

I used to imagine they'd be down this end of the falls. There was quite a lot of bodies dug up, mate. They were taken to another island and they wanted to call it the Shamrock Graves. Yeah, that's right. Yep. They were the ones that were taken away. In fact, that picture I took of from here - that was part of that saying I'm talking about, you know? When the old fellas did take some of the bodies away. Yeah. Yeah. So it's a very real part of our history. But you couldn't get out to Babel Island and have a look out there.

Oh, yeah. The other trip has definitely been on Babel, and because it was probably one of the most thriving bloody islands going, 20-odd sheds going there. 32 there were. 32? At one stage. I still wouldn't mind taking one picture of the spit up there, anyway, to tell about how the young fellas used to come across and get the - walk down to Lady Barren and get the flower and walk back. I was the last one to walk off... Yeah. ..Babel, man, but the tide went right out.

So I walked off. Yeah. Straight in Lady Barren. Yeah. (LAUGHS) But you can drive right to that spit there,

and Babel's right in front of you. Right in front of you? Yeah. Right in front of you.

Yeah, I remember staying there. Ah, this is the smaller camera. This is the 5-4, which is sort of half of my normal 10 by 8 camera.

Same design and same principle, of course. You haven't got bigger bellows in the wind, and that sort of thing, so the conditions and the locations sort of define the equipment, really. But at the end of the day, the all-important thing is being able to get the bloody shot. You gotta get that picture.

In here, we had the highlight in there. That's fairly hard light coming through there.

I've probably even just darkened that little bit down here. That's quite nice in here. It's probably just about spot-on, really. You know, I actually like that picture. That's important, for a start. Um, this is going to be a really nice print for Paris, actually. Quite a nice print for the Paris exhibition. Hi, darling. (LAUGHS) How are you going? How are you? You didn't tell me you were coming. No. I sneaked over. Sneaked over, did you? All right. I'll make a cuppa. Are you gonna make a cuppa, darling? Well, I'm glad to be home. Ah... Yeah? Oh, no. I was just surprised to see you. You didn't tell me, that's all. (LAUGHS)

We're very lucky here today, boys. My wife's come across the seas to cook the birds for us. Very special. I was wrapped.

(LAUGHS) I hand-picked these birds for you boys. Hand-picked by an experienced birder. They're good birds, too. We're catching 700 birds a day. I think we're topping the island at the moment, cos we worked two wet days that nobody else worked.

He doesn't buy them wet weather gear, either. I said to him, "Don't worry, about the wet weather gear, old man. Just buy them some flippers if it's that wet out there." (ALL LAUGH) We was only talking about that the other day, weren't we? Yeah. John said, "Don't worry about them, Warren. They won't get wet. It's dry rain." (LAUGHS)

Oh, we're trying to find a boat for a day. Oh, yeah?

Yeah. We broke down with the motor there, that was heading out and over the Chappell. Right-o, mate.

OK. We just got off at Shag Bay in Chappell Island. We've got Anita, my wife, and her sister Lena, and they actually used to bird here with the family when there was only babies. It used to be a thriving mutton-bird island at one stage. It's been closed down for, I don't know, probably 20 years. I wouldn't have a clue, really - a long, long time. There are lots of old stories here from many, many generations back, so it's still a very special place. Lights are perfect. That's about where we want him - right there.

But this is good. The light's beautiful here.

And we just get that one in, and then, and get one shooting back with Flinders in the background, because this bay here was actually important, too, where they loaded the birds on. It was 1975 that I was here, working in this shed. My mother and father and all my brothers and sisters were tiny little kids. My name's on the wall down there, in the old pluck house,

with my father's name as well. Pretty sentimental place. Brings back really fond memories for me. We're at Lily's Beach. We've come up here to do a shot that I've thought about for a long, long time. I guess I can build upon that picture I did of the monument headstone,

over at the graveside there, at Wybalenna, just over here, and that one was about deaths and exile - people here who stood on the hill or on the beaches here, looking across to their original homeland, and just longing and pining for home.

It was as simple as that. This one will be a little bit different. I'm literally putting myself in the picture.

I'm just getting the shot lined up, and I need a bit of help from the crew. You're not in the middle No. Don't want to be in the middle of the frame. OK. We're making art here, mate. (LAUGHS) Can you click that when I say? Yep. What do I do? Just push it? Yeah. OK, are you ready? On the count of three cos I've gotta hold my breath -

very slow exposure speed. One, two, three. To have a European exhibition, is just amazing, and it's only two weeks away, now, so it's starting to get really exciting. (LAUGHS) We've done a lot of work. I mean, the curators in Sydney have worked around the clock here,

so we've only just got to the stage where we have completed a lot of the text and corrections, and I love this one. This one's by my grandfather, George Maynard, and he says, "As late as 1910, men came digging on Vanceta and Tin Can Islands, looking for skeletons.

Here, we moved them, where no-one would find them. At the dead of night, my people would move the bodies of our grandmothers, and took them to other islands.

They planted shamrocks over disturbed earth, so the last resting place of those girls, who had once slithered over the rocks for sills, will remain a secret forever."

Grandfather George Maynard. Yeah, my wife Anita, she's coming with me, and she's always supported me, and it's going to be great for her too, to see my work on a tiny little island in Bass Strait, and the stories we tell here of us as a people, and our culture,

and our continuing history. To be seen in the middle of Europe in the hub of world documentary photography, you can't beat it. I think we'll get to Paris, and we'll see those works on the walls and in the Gallery of the Australian Embassy,

where the exhibition is, and we'll see the real power of story telling, when it can reach audiences through Europe, from the other side of the world. That's a new one that's just out today. Oh, yeah. There we go. So they've done this incredible publicity pitch here. They're all going, "Oh. Portrait Of A Distant Land." Systematically. (LAUGHS) How are you, Rick? How are you? Good, mate. Presentation at six... Six? Yep.

..in the theatre. If you could be here at 5:30, and then the other thing we have confirmation of now, is that another weekly - Coure Internationale,

is gonna run the portrait of Bruce on the front. (MAN SPEAKS FRENCH)

In Europe, we are inclined to believe that there is no more Aborigines in Tasmania. This is the reason for the project. We know who we are and where we come from, and how we've been practicing our continually living culture, all our lives. It's our interpretation of our history. There are stories that haven't been told before.

Before I make my short thankyou list, but very important list, I'd like to call upon Ambassador Wensley, to receive this gift from the Tasmanian Aboriginal people, in which is all made possible by my wife Anita.

It's a traditional shell necklace from our country. APPLAUSE Thank you very, very much. Yeah. You're welcome. Thank you. You're welcome. Am I allowed? Thank you. (LAUGHS) Thank you. That's exquisite.

In fact, those series of portraits over there - they were originally bigger than those ones,

and I wanted people - I wanted the image to speak. I wanted them to completely have their own presence, you know? Thanks very much. Thank you very much. 'It comes natural now, it comes with confidence, it comes with that sort of responsibility to my own culture, and about carrying those stories onto the future

for generations to hear and understand.

That's part of your responsibility as an Aboriginal person, is being able to make their path ahead a little bit clearer, for some of the younger generations up ahead. I have been one of the survivors and one of the lucky ones, and so you can only go forward now.' Closed Captions by CSI