Kulgera

I am sitting here listening to the hum of the diesel generator that powers this tiny township.

Over the way there is a lineup of every known camper home all parked within a few metres of each other. Kids kick around in the red pindan soil as the sun sets in a hue of every known colour from a rainbow. The temperature is just chilly enough to warrant wearing a jacket and an extra blanket at night perhaps.

I take none of it for granted. I am cognisant of the fact that I am privileged in many ways and none more so than in my own expectations to do more than live a life walking around asleep.

Opportunities to cross Australia through country so rich in culture, so diverse in landscape and so forbidding in weather are rare. The journey in the car is as you would expect an endurance exercise but none more important than in reflection.

Imagine for a minute if every Australian citizen took the opportunity to cross this continent from coast to coast investigating, connecting with and acknowledging all traditional owners of this vast landscape. For the majority of the population swanning around in an apathetic city slicking consumer nose dive, life is all about money, mortgages, mayhem of child idols, baptisms and the inconvenience of the odd affair or two. 

We might well joke about it but for many people their meaning to life is little more than a dash on their tombstone between their birthdate and then their departure not soon enough. If the sum total to life is simply to work hard, save hard, play hard, retire and spend that last gasp touring around in a camper van before collapsing under a crochet blanket in a nursing home unable to remember your own name due to the amount of aluminium chloride you had digested and absorbed through your armpits in a lifetime, then any reflection is in vain.

As Sharpie Coulthard from Iga Warta would say, “….suffer by all means because there is nothing more we can do to help you people.”

So tonight, sitting from the vantage point of Kulgera, just over the Northern Territory border where a can of beer will set you back seven dollars, where the speed limit is twenty kilometres over the national average and where ninety five percent of Aboriginal youth between the age of fourteen and twenty one are incarcerated at least twice before adulthood, do you see some sense in taking time out for reflection. Take a wander through the only shop within two hundred kilometres and try and find any fresh fruit or vegetables for sale.

Is there any wonder why so many people out here are dying off as a result of diabetes, heart attacks and lung cancer when the shelves are laden with diet Coke, trays filled with fast food and cigarettes hidden in cabinets behind petrol attendant?

What we must be mindful of here is that driving this far for this long with so little gives me a better sense of what I can do better when I am living in my comfortable brick and mortar box back in Broome. The sheer enormity of socioeconomic divide, the torturous apartheid happening right before my eyes and the assumption that I don’t care all collide in soup that many people call the too hard basket.

I am over the rhetoric of any politician bullshitting the Australian public with proposals, promises and other perfunctory prose. What we would rather see is opportunities for culturally appropriate development happening in conjunction with existing services that are essential. 

For that matter it is obvious that we are all responsible for making that difference, creating that opportunity and helping others irrespective of our creed, skin colour or connection.

We all need to stop, listen and make a contribution daily even if all that we did was in our heart to acknowledge on whose country we live and listening to what we can do to give back, pay forward, move ahead.

We are each responsible, daily. 

The following photos were taken by Liam today and your can see more of his amazing photos over at https://500px.com/liam_wille