Time for Reflection

There is no Sunday Market today, 31 May 2020. The current State of Emergency Declarations ends at 11:59pm tonight and we are working hard with Council and other stakeholders to re-open the Camberwell Sunday Market as soon as safely possible. We expect this will be in June and will let you know soon as we know!

So a Sunday morning in bed for for a cup of tea or stroll down to the shops for brunch or a coffee with friends, observing personal distancing and new social norms like not shaking hands!

It is also National Reconciliation Week and we want to especially recognise Elders – past, present and emerging – of the Kulin Nation and of the Country ‘where the ground is thickly shaded.’

Before settlers used the name Boroondara, it was adapted from the native Australian language name used by the local inhabitants of the Wurundjeri clan of Woiwurrung people. The sound of the word has therefore likely been associated with the area for hundreds, if not thousands of years.

While today the 🍁 leafy rows of European of trees continue to cast shadows onto the ground, Australian native flowers, plants and trees had cast shadows on these grounds for millennia.

There is a plaque to one of these last great trees located in Kew.

Canoe tree monument

The monument is on Bowyer Avenue in Kew. Its plaque commemorates a significant scarred canoe tree, estimated at the time to be more than 1000 years old, which was felled at that site in the late 1950s. The plaque has the following inscription:Commemorating the Aborigines and their craftsmanship.

This district, formerly their meeting place, was known to them as Bark Hill. On this site grew an immense gum tree from which the Aborigines carved a large bark canoe. This canoe was probably launched on a passing stream which now flows underground to the river Yarra.

The monument was a joint initiative of the Aborigines Advancement League – Kew Branch, and the Kew Historical Society, and was erected in 1965. Former residents recall the site being a regular gathering place for the local Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community in the 1960s.

From the Boroondara Site website.

The theme of this year’s NRW is #inthistogether2020. Just a decade after the monument was erected, the Camberwell Sunday Market was created, forming a regular place for people of all cultures and backgrounds to meet, talk and trade their wares.

In #NRW2020 both the traditional Aboriginal meeting place and current day market stand still. We are indeed all in this together. Let’s move forward together with greater respect and understanding for each other.

And that last great tree was not simply just a tall tree. When it was felled, possibly for Camberwell area homes and buildings, also fell some of the last living links with a life of pre-contact Aboriginal society. The tree was probably part of a song line, the canoe may have been carved out Elders past 500 years earlier, the enormous canopy was refuge to a complex biodiversity that is simply impossible to replicate today.

Let’s be better at things in a post-pandemic world.