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Published: November 3rd 2012
Allan at the Information Centre
If Allan is on duty when you visit, get him to show you around the aboriginal section of the museum.
An important part of travel for us is to learn about these outback towns and the struggles these folk have survivied. We found Mareeba no different as their community has struggled against all sorts of struggles, and in this case come up smiling.
We have seen some impressive mango orchards (too early for picking yet), great looking cattle, but more importantly, locals who are open to talk about struggles and issues of the past.
One such person is Allan at the Visitors Information Centre. Allan took me around the aboriginal section of their museum and he was able to recount much of his families history from white settlement and onward. He talked about his Dad being taken from his mother at age six to try and out breed the aboriginal language and ways. He talks about his dad and grandma's grief of that separation. Mum and son had 30 minutes contact on Sunday afternoons. Despite such separation, Allan's dad had learned the local dialect but only used it when no-one would pot him for it. On one occasion he was hospitalised and recognised one of the staff as being of his tribe so spoke in his native tongue. Initially
she pretended to ignore him, but when the coast was clear, came and had a good chin wag in their dialect.
Allan remembers as one of 3 aboriginal (part as his Grand Father was English) always being separated from the caucasion schollars and seemingly disadvantaged.
I asked him if he felt resentment for the past. He said no, but obviously the Government policy of out breeding (the white Australian policy) rankled, but as he said, that's in the past.
Allan told of their thatched nomadic homes built of rain forest materials and talked about the mock up one in the museum. Part of the display includes photos of his ancestors taken around 115 years ago.
There's lots to see in this museum, it's free to get in, but costs a donation to get out!
Allow an hour and you'll come out smiling.
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