The past has no time


The Past & Present

The Past.

Goywa Jungarai is a survivor of the last officially known massacre of Aboriginal people in Australia. The last known massacre was the Coniston Massacre of the Walpiri people.

Many detractors of Aboriginal or Indigenous issues in Australia use this as an excuse most of the time, that it was in the past and move on. However, society is built on the past, it’s acts of heroism are remembered, movies made, holidays taken to display and recount times in the past that adhere to the culture and laws of a country.

In fact, the whole of western society dwells on and is based upon the past.

Lets take one aspect of western society, which is the cornerstone of modern Australia and see if ‘living in the past’ is uniquely Aboriginal or a general human thing.

Law. What makes law?

Laws are made by examining and reacting to…the past. History is given prominence, a sense of reflection or occasion given to it and  its evidence is used for argument for action. Usually positive or preventative action enforced by law.

The past is celebrated by heroic deeds and actions in its normal European history that provides the background arguments or research for making laws, regulation and legislation. Sometimes they are fatal actions which then, a society needs protection and safety in order to live.  A society’s behaviour is reflected in its laws, delivers and adherence to its culture, born from & conforming to actions presented to new and old laws. A society will have thoughts and outcomes of actions  debated and accepted by courts. Courts act on events and actions performed in the past.  Future actions and behaviour are protected by the enforcement of laws.

That is western society…who dwell in the past.

A system is developed from the past. Systems to govern and defeat, build and profit.


The Present.

Now the future?? All such laws do protect the future but who’s future? Indigenous people have had to tell our history in order to protect our future. In order to do so, we tell of the past, record the past, share the actions of past so that the ignorance which enacted murder, invasion, destruction and defeat is not forgotten in any manner.

One way a society protects itself from such self examination is to deny the rights of a group of people who has reason to object to that society. History was told and taught only by non-Indigenous people in this country until mid last century. Public protest was not a means of conveying a message to Government because our people, especially Wiradjuri people, were restricted to Missions or reserves. Public gatherings were not possible.

To Australia’s credit in present day modern Australia , in 1988 a new $2 coin became available replacing the $2 note and placed an Aboriginal person on it. Today, he is a constant reminder to Australia of its past and present society.

This coin commemorated an Aboriginal man who is on the reverse side of Queen ElizabethII. Who is this man? No other coin has a person placed on the reverse side, only special events or native animals.

Goywa Jungarai is a survivor of the last officially known massacre of Aboriginal people in Australia.

In 1928, the Australian people of the Northern Territory of Australia was at war with Aboriginal people. Aboriginal people were not Australian at that time. The Australians hunted & murdered the  WarlpiriAnmatyerre and Kaytetye people, women, men, children of the Lander River.


This is the present; events taken place in our family lifetime and our nation, Australia.

Goya Jungarai survived this atrocity.

On day’s where flags are flown, people get drunk, a ship is sailed and guns blasted to commemorate the PAST, flip a $2 coin over and think of this man and what you are celebrating today…in the PRESENT.

David Towney

2 thoughts on “The past has no time

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