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From: John McNamara
Monday, September 03, 2001 7:49 PM
Subject: hello

I have just come upon your Web pages and have been scanning through the 'resistance' you encountered.  

I am no academic, only a person working in the Employment Industry, if employment may be termed an 'industry'.  

Tomorrow I meet with persons 'empowered' to help bridge the gap between the Community and the Labour Exchange I work for.  This meeting has been organised at our instigation to see what, if anything, can be done to assist members of the Community return to paid employment.  The problem? Well there is a Community Development Employment Programme in place and it appears this type of 'work for the dole' is more attractive than work as we know it.  

Penalties apply when any person referred to an employment agency by Centrelink does not in fact attend.  Enough penalties and the 'dole' is lost.  CDEP steps in and pays the participant until such time as the threat of penalty is averted, and so the cycle continues.  

I have spent 25 years in this 'industry' and have drawn the following conclusions:  

  1. The 'Europian' race had an Industrial revolution to bridge the gap between the 'cottage industries and the village green' and the clock watching grind of todays workplace.  The Aboriginal people have not experienced this.  Not enough time and hardship has elapsed for 'our' ways to be an attractive solution.  No 'mass-production' would ever have evolved if our ancestors had been give the right of appeal.
  2. Training is preferable to 'real' work for Aboriginal people as there is no expectation of total responsibility placed on a trainee.
  3. Training is only acceptable if it pays the recognised award wages.
  4. Any perceived injustice is resolved by giving the benefit of the doubt to the indigenous person.  Quite Frankly the white guy loses his dole, the Aboriginal has "other reasons accepted'.  

Does this e-mail class me now as a racist?  I hope not.  It seems to me that two separate systems need to be in place.  One for the Aboriginals and one for the rest of the population.  It seems unworkable to have one set of government rules applying to allcomers with a different set of standards applied to breaches of these rules.   

I go tomorrow to listen and hope to learn what outcomes the Community is looking for.  These will be recorded and sent on to the Powers that Be for consideration.  It will resolve nothing.  

  Thanks for listening Simon, I was casting around the net looking for solutions.  I now see that there are none that a simple clerk can use.   

John McNamara  

Reply: Monday, September 03, 2001 21:19:18

From: Victor Hart
Sunday, September 02, 2001 2:09 PM
Subject: Request

inbound message removed at request of sender

Rationale for this request may be deduced from the paper: Decolonising the Concept of Knowledge by Victor Hart

Reply: Sun 2001-09-02 3:33 PM

From: Darcy Moore
19/07/01 11:13
Subject: Flight of Ducks and criticism?

Hi Simon

Flight of Ducks has occupied the last two hours of my time and I just wanted to email in appreciation.

I wondered if you were still receiving criticism about the content? Or have those battles been fought and won?

I thought you may find this quote from Derrida of interest: 'Deconstruction is not a memory which simply recalls what is already there. The memory work is also an unforeseeable event, an event that demands a responsibility and gestures, deeds. This act is caught, however, in a double bind: the more you remember, the more you are in danger of effacing, and vice versa. Deconstruction cannot step out of this aporia, of this double-bind, without diffidence.'

(Jacques Derrida interviewed by Elisabeth Weber, Jüdisches Denken in Frankreich. Frankfurt/M: Jüdischer Verlag 1994, 77-8)


Reply: 18/07/01 22:41

From: Robin Stirling
18/07/01 17:06
Subject: I love your online foyage from Adelaide to Alice Springs.

Could I include a link on my Terowie Web Site.


------------------------------------------- (Note New Address)

Railways Photos

My Page2 :

Main Page :



Online Shop:

Only Just:

Sign in auslife:

Reply: 18/07/01 22:27

From: Joseph Moxley
26/06/01 3:19 PM

The one on interviews I can easily incorporate on teh chapter on interviews, bujt I'm afraid the first one may be too tough for the undergradudautes--we're talkking American freshman here.

our freshman tend to be pretty weak....we work them hard at the univ, but they come in kinda weak

i wanna get into databases.


Reply: 11/06/01 21:50 PM

From: cherry connett
27/04/01 10:31 AM
Subject: cherry connett

simon please may i view this site? i am a Koori woman and ducks play a big part in my dreaming

cherry connett

Reply: 11/06/01 21:50 PM/a>

From: Syed Rehan Ali
2001-06-04 3:28 AM
Subject: Syed Rehan Ali


I am very happy to see your website.I want to take admission in it. Please send me a email ,prosepetus and when your admission open. Please reply my answer as soon i am wating for your answer. THANKYOU

PHONE # 92-042-5413672

Reply: 2001-06-05 9:06 PM

From: John Parkes
2001-06-04 9:54 PM
Subject: you can you help me out

I need some info on Aborigional religion i realy need it pleaz man im beggin ya

bai bai

P.S pleaz


From: Kathie
2001-06-02 9:10 PM
Subject: Location

Not to belabor the point, but, my parents were both 35 and 36 years older than I, brought up by German parents - strict does not even come CLOSE to the meaning of the style of parenting I endured, however, it WAS a great learning lesson! One, of which was to be polite. If you are nice enough to answer MY letter about a book YOUR FATHER wrote, the LEAST I can do is reply. Thank you, however, for noticing, as you know, most don't!

As you would imagine, no, my daughter would not be interested in EATING Echidna's, she thought they were cute and wanted to be the only one in the class with an animal outside of the US, your information was interesting, though and I gave it to her to add to her report.

How do Echidna's taste?


From: Claire
2001-05-30 11:19 AM
Subject: Harry Lasseter

Dear Simon,

Thank you for your quick response to my email.

I'm planning to review the diary with the exhibition designers on Friday 1st June and will email you with the details of the desired images on the following Monday.

We would be very appreciative if you could send us the high resolution images as you suggested. Please indicate to us who we should acknowledge for the use of the images, which we shall indicate in the display.

Kind regards, Claire


From: Kathie
Wed 30/05/01 14:57 PM
Subject: Location

For my daughter, I looked up information on the Echidna, in the information, I found that, in a book was written that on some certain day, in 1933, the Echidna was spotted, I clicked on to the envelope on the page and your e-mail address popped up, so, naturally, I assumed you were the author of the book that the article was referencing, and was wondering WHERE you were when you saw the Echidna that the article is talking about. THAT is what I'm talking about, does that help?


Reply: Wed 30/05/01 13:44 PM

From: Kathie
2001-05-30 13:31 PM
Subject: Location

WHERE were you when You saw the Echidna?

Reply: Wed 30/05/01 13:44 PM

From: Fergus McDour
Mon 2001-05-28 18:56 PM
Subject: The Sugarman

Seems like a series of coincidences at work here. I came accross this website yesterday by accident:

SugarMan is a 'work in progress', a cross cultural community performance/demonstration of sacred art, music and theatre from Central Australia. SugarMan is a reply to Aboriginal people asking for the 'Story of Grog' (alcohol) to help them understand and heal substance abuse and dependence. SugarMan is a poetic adaptation (written by Craig San Roque) set to music and movement, of the Greek myth of Dionysos, exploring issues of separation, desire, addiction, madness and the healing to be found at the core of the human Psyche. SugarMan is a lesson for all times, a teaching story for everyone, a response to alienation.

SugarMan was first presented, following 5 years of development and six months of intensive workshops and preparations, at Intjartanama Outstation (120km from Alice Springs) August 24/25, 1996 to an invited audience that included Aboriginal and European people from various communities in Central Australia.

A highly successful event, SugarMan has provoked much thought, comment and reaction along with ongoing evaluation and discussion with further events to follow. The initial proceedings and performance were documented by a video/sound crew from Sydney for future presentation on TV in Australia and a series of follow-up workshops have already begun in Alice Springs.

Excerpt from the Libretto

by Craig San Roque

Story One

a woman is sitting by a fire
the grandmother is sitting
the first mother
she does not move
the rivers move
the mountains move
she does not move

she is sitting where everything begins
she is sitting where everything comes out
everything comes out from her
smoke, mosquitoes, lizard,
fish, snake, bird, kangaroo, dogs, people
they all move
tongues move
but she does not move

she laughs
she smiles
she cries
but she does not move
everything moves
in and out of her
but she does not move
she breathes
she sucks things in
they pass through her.
stars, motor cars,


Reply: Mon 2001-05-28 20:32 PM

From: Claire McManus
Sat 2001-05-21 8:27 PM
Subject: Harry Lasseter

Dear Simon,

I work as a researcher for the Australian Prospectors and Miners Hall of Fame due to be open in October this year. My job is to find images and objects for display within the five galleries.

We have a exhibit within the Prospecting Gallery titled 'Lasseter's Reef' which recounts the myth and history associated with Harry Lasseter's journey.

We are hoping that you may be able to help us in finding the source of Lasseter's Diary, which is featured in The Flight of the Ducks. We are interested in reproducing, with appropriate permission, some of the pages of his journal within the display.


Claire McManus

Reply: Mon 2001-05-21 20:25 PM

From: Marina Roets
Mon 2001-05-16 19:39 PM
Subject: Millard Ducks

Hi !

A Millard Duck pair was given to me about a month back. They’re doing fine but I have a few questions ?

They walk around freely in my back yard – (between the dogs and the kid !) – will they fly away, should I clip their wings ??

What can I feed them except the normal poultry feed,

Do I need more females for the male ?

Lastly – how old do they get ?

Thanks a million,

Marina Roets, South Africa

Reply: Mon 2001-05-21 20:24 PM

From: Noel Ferry
2001-05-13 12:08 PM
Subject: pons seclorum and more


Thanx for that. I am looking round for some software package that can be used with Mac technology that can handle the visual and wriiten text stuff. Have you got any good suggestions at all. I would want something that can automatically convert to HTML as I am not all that interested in this type of technical stuff.

Also, I am shopping round looking for courses that deal with publishing material specifically for the web, but could also be hard copied. Can you suggest any good courses on offer at post Grad levels.

And about chartres. I was ther for easter last year and had an amazing time. I spent 6 days with my family there over the Easter period and took a lot of material whilst there, digitally especially.

On the question as to why I am back. The Aussie dollar is worth sweet FA over there and with 4 people, it is all a little rich. If I was an individual travelling, I may still be there, but a family has other needs.

It is still an amazing church and I would be interested in going into some dialogue with you or whoever about that place. Joseph cambell amongst others called it his parish church. The terms 'pons seclorum' as Henry Adams framed it, was meant to span t time and place or a bridge acroos the ages. I felt that this church still manages to do it on some levels.

See you soon,


From: Cindy Maher
2001-05-04 1:24 AM
Subject: need info on Aborigine culture

Simon, Thank you so very much. I'm sure this will help.



From: Cindy Maher
2001-05-03 11:49 PM
Subject: need info on Aborigine culture

Thanks for answering me so fast Simon. I just asked him, and he said ancient civilization and culture. He has a report due May 30 and has some info. I pulled up a couple of things for him from the internet, he got a couple of library books (needs to understand how to use a library) and some xeroxed info from school. What ever you have, doesn't have to be long at all, after all he's 11 and doesn't have the desire to read alot of information then sift through it and write the report in his own words. Any help would be appreciated.


Reply: 2001-05-03 16:08 PM

From: Cindy Maher
2001-05-03 10:27 PM
Subject: need info on Aborigine culture

My eleven year old son is doing a report on Aborigine culture. I would appreciate if you could send me some information. Thank you very much.


Reply: 2001-05-03 10:27 PM

From: Noel Ferry
2001-05-01 20:40 PM
Subject: pons seclorum


Have a look at the front page of my new web site. Although this si my first attempt, it will get better.I have the buttress leaping from my ear to my mouth and vice versa. Give us some fedback and cheers. I am back in Alice Springs again by the way.

my web site is -


Reply: to find in sent files

From: Rebekah Duke
29/04/2001 23:55 PM
Subject: slide show

Hi Simon - your site was recommended to me via Jason Gibson (who interviewed you some time ago for his thesis). I have a similar story - I have inherited my grandfather's slides (thousands of them!) and they include many colour slides from the late 50s and early 60s from safaris to central Australia. There are quite a few shots of rock art and indigenous people, and I'm not sure what to do with them now. Most of the slides list dates and places, but few names. I'm unlikely to post these on the internet, but some might be of cultural or historical significance to someone.

Any ideas would be appreciated - what should the next step (if any) be? What sort of feedback have you received from your site? Any negative reports?

thanks in advance

Rebekah Duke

Reply: to find in sent files

From: Craig Brookes
23/04/01 10:51 AM
Subject: eyre

hi simon ( the duckman)

its craig brookes from 98 a.i.m

how are you i have recently been to lake eyre and am now painting a show for june on the lake, i was doing a search and was suprised to see some stuff on the lake, i'm really interested in any historicl stuff on the lake so if you have anymore, i'd love to know where i can read about it.

cheers Craig Brookes

Reply: 23/04/01 12:15 PM

From: Johanna Parker/Kelly
Sun 15/04/2001 11:20 AM
Subject: Murriwarri tribal women enquiring

Hi Simon, thank you for getting back to me so soon.

I'd love anything you have reguarding what we have commented on. Well as for my emu egg, I pencilled on the original croc design and then carved the many layers as it was created. I paint oil paintings, portraits, landscapes, anything, watercolours a bit like Namajira I'd say. Abstract, pastels, tradional art, modern art aboriginal xray art dot art on all surfaces. Glasses, mirrors, bark, lucky stones, emu egss as you know etc. Mulititalented. I intend to start making stringy bark canoes, red gum canoes, coolamons weave baskets the lot.

I live in Wilberforce, Sydney, Hawkesbury river. I was a state ward and adopted at 6 mths to a lovely family. I tracked my family down when I turned 17 and had a very happy meeting with my mum.

Hope to here from you soon.

Johanna Parker Thompson Kelly.

From: Johanna Parker/Kelly
Sat 2001-04-15 12:30 AM
Subject: Murriwarri tribal women enquiring

Hi my name is Johanna Parker/Kelly. I am from the Murriwarri tribe near Goodoonga, Lightening Ridge, Brewarrina area. I was wondering if you guys have done any study on my tribe or area.I'd really think your web site is great to show the world what many others would not. It is good to show respect as entering the photographs of 1933. Amazing you have been able to get those photos of the koori people and the ways they lived.

I am an aboriginal artist and this is my emu egg that I carved. Could you reply me a.s.a.p.

emu egg crockadilly

thank you very much.

Reply: Sun 2001-04-15 6:48 AM

From: Alice Cherbonnier
Sat 2001-04-07 4:28 AM
Subject: Aborigine History

Greetings! Could we please be permitted to read your history of the aborigines? Thank you.

Reply: Sat 2001-04-07 3:00 PM

From: Russell Richardson
Sat 2001-02-28 20:01 PM
Subject: first contact

Dear Simon,

It's not really a case of 'help', more of opening a contact. I'll expand with a couple of anecdotes.

The first being how Dorota found your website - which needs no apology, by the way. The un-weeded aspect makes for a much richer delving. (these asides... myself, I have been wondering about putting a (music) documentary idea on-line, precisely to abviate a reductive editing style. Put it all there, warts an all, and let the viewer do the edit via browsing... another discussion...)

We began a docu project last year that was to equate - in two films - Tibetan shamanism and North American Indian shamanism. Finally, we met with Namkhai Norbu Rinpoche, and dug into the Tibetan angle first - the second film is still pending funding.

(I don't want to suggest that films are a 'hobby' but they progress very slowly for budgetary reasons)

Dorota was scanning the web for any information generally on 'autochthones' ... but I get ahead of myself... a few days before landing on FOD, she had an odd hour long encounter with a wild duck, in the middle of the city, and had a brief 'out of body' experience as the duck flew off. Being rather sceptical myself, I can vouch her story at 2 a.m. was a striking experience.

So, several ays later, when she landed on your cover page with the ducks taking flight, she was surprised to say the least. When we looked at the content, we found it dealt very specifically with certain themes we were wrestling with : notably the question of sensitive material... not simply what could we find out, but what should we make public of our findings?

>From a purely methodological approach, I found a lot to chew over on your website, not least the access you gave to dissenting voices (the 'complaints' department). Anyway...

It happened that our Tibetan travels around the world, being 'in exile', but he does spend a lot of time in New zealand and Oz. His European base is Tuscany (he was granted asylum in Italy in the 1960s) which is where we filmed him.

Just before the shoot, he held an annual gathering, which brought 2000 people to the small hillside settlement. Looked like a pop festival, actually.

There I met a young Aussie, and aske if he'd ever had any contact with the Aborigine people. His answer was that it was pretty hard for 'whites' to really integrate, but yes - he'd spent two years in Alice Springs working with a team of sociologists and tribal elders (excuse me if I misuse terminology).

What he told me was that the Aborigines had asked the anthropologist for a protective myth. The thesis being, the indiginous people had a story or myth to arm them against just about any danger they were likely to face, but none that dealt with the coming of the white man... so, being unmanned, they had succumbed to the simple presence of the colonists, never mind any political/military effects.

The anthropologist then tried to relate as many European myths as possible that might have some bearing - homing in on the myth of Dionysus. Between them, they identified 'refining' as the chief danger of European colonisation. Not simply the arrival of a compact and rather aggresive culture, or a greater technological sophistication (especially in the matter of arms) but in foodstuffs - mainly fermented and distilled alcohols, refined flour and pure sugar.

A new myth was built up, and evolved as a parallel to the Dionysus tale - that of the Sugar Man... the hope is that by establishing an indigenous version of a European myth, a key to psychic and spiritual defence will be found that is utilisable by the coming generations of aborigines. this is obviously not something your average Canberra Social Services worker could implement or impose.

Anyway, I wondered if you knew of this 'experiment'?

Working with Norbu on various themes, we found that song plays an enormous part in tibetan ritual, and that the songs themselves, and related chants are in various languages, some going back as far as Sanskrit, but others going much further back, in a language simply referred to as 'extra-terrestrial' which we found quite amusing. We followed up the question of oral transmission, and the question (though we are outside, so imagine the problem here...) of what was being revealed to us... and what we should pass on.

But the existence of evolved, highly sophisticated language dating from at least 7000 years ago is uncontested. Passed on phonetically, by rote learning, in song, thus very resistant to change or language erosion. (refer back to your fascinating notes about corruptiuon of digital data) and your father mused on the same thing with the tribal songs he heard in the 1930s - what langauge were the deeper ones in? How old was it?

The current palaeo-linguistic theories seem to be totally missing the point. As Indo-European languages have demonstrably been in decadence for at least five thousand years (with some theorists of semantic drift positing just under 12.000 years as the limit of meaningful comparative study of two languages) just when is language supposed to have evolved? the upper limit (for languages extant or historically recorded) of 30.000 years seems to me ridiculous.

Further, some Tibetan (and pre-Bonpo) structures sem to have parallels in North America... are we looking at a common or at least related ancestry? 12.000 years ago?

This was one of the questions we hoped to bring into focus in the films. To take language - via song (my intuition) back not thousands or tens of thousands of years, but hundreds of thousands of years. Abstract questions, perhaps...

More concretely, and on a shorter time scale, I'd like to investigate the 'decadence' reported above and its relation to the invention of writing. the passage of verbal/aural rote learning (internal) to conceptual, abstract, written and external transmission of knowledge.

well, I think our paths of interest cross, no?

And I haven't even spoken of the result of these questions, or the significance of shamanism in all ancient cultures, and the 'losses' and lacunae in our own 21st century attempts to recpature some lost core (as I see it) without becoming a cultural tourist or fetishist.

Any thoughts, or any information you could direct me to here?

So those are my, our, reasons for getting in touch. just to thank you again for the 'ragged' organisation of the site. Very rich and very respectful without kow-towing.

All the best

Russell Richardson & Dorota Czerner

(one Brit, and one Pole, in case you wondered. Don't even ask what we're doing in Paris...)

Reply: Sat 2001-02-28 8:41 AM

From: Russell Richardson
Sat 2001-02-28 6:13 AM
Subject: first contact

Dear Simon,

A very brief first e-mail

we are working on a documentary about a Tibetan master, and plan a second on an Algonquin shaman... fell onto your site quite accidentally, and then met an Aussie Buddhist who had worked on a 'Sugar Man' programme in Alice.

Can you tell us more about this or should we tell you what we know your site is easily the best thing we've seen on the net, and very close to our concerns we do have an odd tale about... a duck flight... let's talk?

Dorota Czerner and Russell Richardson, Paris

Reply: Sat 2001-02-28 8:41 AM

From: Jeni Lidgett
Tue 2001-01-30 9:48 AM
Subject: Mundarra

I am trying to find the meaning of the word "Mundarra". I've searched the web, and thought you may be able to point me in the right direction.

With thanks. Jeni.

Reply: Tue 2001-01-30 10:19 AM

From: Jacquie & Steve Bakaj
Sun 2001-01-14 3:26 PM
Subject: ducklings

I have just been given 2 ducklings and am not sure how to look after them. I dont know what sort they are but was given some wheat to feed them with and told to keep some shallow water for them to drink and swim in. Can you suggest anything I should do with them ? I have 2 small children , a small dog and live out on a vineyard just out of Renmark.

Thanks Jacquie

Reply: Tue 2001-01-16 4:44 PM

From: Ellie Blake
Thu 2001-01-11 6:07 AM
Subject: aboriginal study


I am a student in the United States and am working to design a health study in Australia for the months of may - july. I am hoping to work with and communicate with aboriginal peoples of Australia and communicate with them about their traditional healing methods. Is there a clinic or any other program or facility that I could volunteer with? Any suggestions or contacts you have will be helpful. Thanks for your help! PEACE,

Ellie Blake

Reply: Sat 2001-01-13 11:42 AM