image A Word a Week: Journey

A Word in Your Ear’s photo theme this week is Journey

A few weeks my son and I travelled with my parents to the place of her birth, Cherbourg. An Aboriginal settlement. Moved from their homelands. Settled together, groups and tribes mixed. Provisions rationed out. Sugar, tea, flour. Is it any wonder Diabetes is rampant? From a diet high in protein to processed and refined. The Aboriginal Inland Mission church stands. As does the ration shed. Now a museum. The settlement has seen many changes over the century. The piggery and emu farm lay silent. Houses are in various states. The town has had its highs and lows. Children run rampant now. Drugs and alcohol and domestic violence rear their ugly heads. Mum left at the age of 13. Her sister and family stayed.

I wonder at how my life might have been if she hadn’t left. But leave she did. as did others. I had not been there since my childhood. But I was able to see two of my lovely cousins. And to hear mum talk about her childhood. Show us where she grew up as a child. For my son to see, I hope gives him a sense of his grandmothers early life. To hear the stories she has to tell. A journey into her past. Our history…

Cattle roam where mum’s house used to stand.

This section of the Barambah creek is dry.

Set on the rise above the creek, they were cut off when it flooded.

My grandmother refused to live within the settlement proper.

Peaceful. I can understand her choice to do so.

Ration Shed Museum. Where once the people would line up for food handouts … rationed.

Australian policy .. a sad time in our history. Removal from land, from families.

In recent times the land was dammed. Silky Oaks are in their beautiful orange flowering.

Stopping at the top of the rise, with views of the dam, a Butcher bird visits.

Leaving Cherbourg we head towards home. Mum and Dad now live a few towns away. Perhaps a 20 minute drive. Wetlands nearby.

The beauty of a small Bottle tree.

Wooden stores a feature of Queensland

Detouring through back roads …

The soft muted colours of the sweeping land …

A land of endless skies …

Bunya Pines …

And abandoned farm houses….

My mother has returned home.


  1. I was moved to tears. In many ways, it was like reading of the heartbreak palpable here in New Mexico, where much the same story has been told – a story of imperialism and destruction on a scale unmatched by any non-European culture.
    Thank-you so much.

  2. This has brought back memories of our trip to eastern Australia. We visited Kuranda and it was very interesting learning about Aborigine culture from the Aborigines themselves. Breathtaking country too.! Thank you for this. πŸ™‚

  3. Looks like lovely countryside. Revisiting the landscape of your childhood is always bittersweet – but even more so in your mother’s case. “When you finally go back to your old hometown, you find it wasn’t the old home you missed but your childhood.” ~Sam Ewing
    Thanks for sharing this.

  4. Your photos show Australia to be such a beautiful country, but what a sad story to take young kids away from their parents. I think the movie “rabbit proof fences” was about that story?
    What did your son say? I like the bottom picture of him and your Mum

  5. What a lovely tour. There is so much to appreciate about returning to your roots and sharing family history with the younger generation.

  6. This is why we read each other’s blogs – to go on a voyage of discovery. You (and a Word in your ear) have shown us, on the other side of the world, so much we would not see otherwise. Where I live we have much the same terrible situation (plus snow) that First nations Groups are trying to resolve….

    • world wide issue … at some time or other every race has been displaced through history … being a ‘young’ country in terms of western colonisation …the issues are very much current .. and no, no snow up this far north

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