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Join proud Noonuccal Nuugi man Wesley Enoch, a Stage Writer/Director and current Sydney Festival Director in conversation with Murrumu Walubara, David Jones, Alberta Hornsby and Milton Savage, as they explore the impact of Cook and what he represents to First Nations Peoples’ of Queensland.
Wesley is a writer and director and the current Artistic Director at the Sydney Festival. He hails from Stradbroke Island (Minjeribah) and is a proud Noonuccal Nuugi man.
Previously Wesley has been the Artistic Director at Kooemba Jdarra Indigenous Performing Arts; Artistic Director at Ilbijerri Aboriginal Torres Strait Islander Theatre Co-operative and the Associate Artistic Director at Belvoir Street Theatre. Wesley’s other residencies include Resident Director at Sydney Theatre Company; the 2002 Australia Council Cite Internationale des Arts Residency in Paris and the Australia Council Artistic Director for the Australian Delegation to the 2008 Festival of Pacific Arts. He was creative consultant, segment director and indigenous consultant for the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games.
Mr. Walubara was born in 1974 in Cairns, in Australia’s north, to an Aboriginal mother and Croatian Jewish father. He sought answers for his feelings of displacement traveling through dozens of countries including Cuba (he immersed himself in Communism) and Mexico, and, eventually, in journalism, where he believed he could hold the powerful to account.
He spent two decades as a reporter, in 2012 conducting one of the first interviews with Julian Assange at the Ecuadorean Embassy in London and rising up the ranks of the Australian news media to become a political reporter in Canberra, the nation’s capital. There, he says, he grew frustrated both with the repetitive stories about Indigenous Australians’ high incarceration and suicide rates and the childish antics of the country’s politicians.
Six years ago, after realizing that as an Indigenous man he was not recognized by Australia’s Constitution, Mr. Walubara quit his job as a political reporter and renounced his Australian citizenship and former name, Jeremy Geia. He returned his passport, public health care documents and driver’s license to their respective government departments, he says, and destroyed his Australian bank cards.
“I had assumed that I had true and correct membership inside the Commonwealth of Australia,” Mr. Walubara, who is now 45, recounted writing in the accompanying letters to each government department. “I have made a mistake: I’m no longer eligible for the benefits of your society,” he wrote. “Here are your instruments back.”
Alberta Hornsby is a First Nation woman with cultural connection to the Angkamuthi, Guugu Yimidhirr,Kuku Yalanji, Yidinji and Ganggalida communities in Far North Queensland. Born at Hopevale in 1955 and she now lives in Cooktown. She calls herself an 'unlettered historian" and I am also a language worker. She a volunteers with The Cooktown Re-enactment Association and
currently serve as the Deputy Chairperson. Alberta also the Chairperson of the North Queensland Regional
Aboriginal Corporation Language Centre. Alberta has a passion for history, language and first nation culture.
Milton Savage is Kaurareg, with tribal connection Italaig, Gudang Yadhaikana, Gomukudin and Kawaig, with tribal bloodlines that extend to all the clans of Cape York, in northern Queensland. Milton’s ancestors, the Kaurareg people, encountered Cook’s tall ship the Endeavour on their maiden voyage. The Kaurareg were well-established on the islands of the Torres Strait prior to European settlement but were nearly wiped out in a series of massacres that started in 1869. By the time they were marched off their traditional lands at gunpoint in 1922, only 80 people were left, including Savage's maternal grandparents. The massacres were part of Australia's Frontier Wars, a series of bloody confrontations between European settlers and the country's Indigenous population, that started soon after the First Fleet arrived in Botany Bay, south of Sydney, in 1788 and continued for almost 150 years.
Printmaking has been central to David’s career in the arts, it has given him opportunity to print for many artists. This interaction, and sometimes collaboration with so many gifted artists has been rewarding and educational. David currently operates Corvine Art Studio, in Brisbane.
Early in his art education he began utilizing visual scholarship to articulate a critique of Australian society. His identity derives from an ‘settler’ Australian heritage, and Indigenous Dalungbarra heritage. David’s great-great-grandmother was known as Mary Anne Dalungdalee, of the Dalungbarra, who was born at Wanggoolba Creek on K’gari, or Fraser Island in the early 1800s. His family is now included in the Butchulla Native Title Claim. David’s Dalungbarra heritage informs his art process and work, and is the resolve that drives his visual practice. David is a Doctor of Visual Arts, Queensland College of Art, Griffith University, Brisbane. His 2017 thesis and visual art is based on Cook.