Vicki Laine Green


Creation Date: 21/1/2020 (11.16 am)

 Location: Cape Barren

 Soldier relation: 3427 Private Frederick William Brown, Great Uncle

 liarawitha luna – Island woman sharing palawa Knowledge, history & experience

 Wars: women weeping, wailing & waiting


I stand, within the boundaries of what was the Cape Barren Island Aboriginal Reserve outside the Church that has survived 200+ years, a participant in a photographic archive of the men who went to war from this Island to fight the enemy – which was to be the highest percentage per head of population within Australia. The irony of the situation is profound to our Aboriginal community; our men putting their lives on the line to fight, purportedly in camaraderie but never equality, with the sons of our invaders – to secure the lands of their fathers which they stole from our Old People. And all the while, the mothers, grandmothers, aunties and sisters of the Aboriginal soldiers, weep, wail and wait.

The land was awash with the salty tears of grief, and the sacred land becomes sodden, the women on the Island wait every day with the joy of ‘possibility’ and, each night, with the grief of perhaps receiving a paper telegram tomorrow to inform them that their boy has been killed in action, honourably.

 The Church was an integral aspect of the Reserve in which our families were incarcerated; where so many of our families have attended to honour a God who is not a part of our ancient history or lore, our culture or Spirituality. I am looking over those incredible, infamous blue hills of Cape Barren Island with Ricky Maynard, our own hugely respected photographer, I think of my Grandmothers and Great-Grandmothers over six generations, the survivors of three wars;

  • our Ancestral war in trying to save our ancient lands, Dreamings, our Spirituality and connections to Country, and, most reverently, our identity!!
  •  the 1st World War, and historically later
  •  the 2nd World War – where many more of our familiar sons were lost!

I feel the pain of those women as I picture them standing on the wharf watching their beloved sons sail beyond the horizon of Bass Strait, weeping, wailing & waving goodbye to their brave boys until they can no longer see the tip of the mast; holding each other with arms entwined, trying to not think of the possible painful loss of at least some of their sons; dealing with the thought of never seeing them again, never holding them in their arms and most importantly, without being able to bless them and see them on to their sacred journey to our Ancestors. Wailing in anger, deeply mortified of the possibility of losing them to the same foreign power which had invaded our ancient Homelands, the forebears who murdered almost every person in these ancient landscapes, stole their ancient, Sacred Country –– the irony does not escape the minds and hearts of our Grannies and, even today, in 2020 that irony does not leave our hearts or our minds. I weep for all who have been lost from our Grandmothers over the years since the invasion and rejoice in the strength of those Old Women who have been the stalwarts of our survival – in war, so many Mothers lose their sons and grieve forevermore.

NAME: Maikutena Vicki-Laine Green (aka Vicki Matson-Green)

DOB 24th December 1951


 I am:

  • the Mother of Jason – my son and Tarni – my daughter;
  •  the Grandmother of Kirra-dhe, Aidan, Jhdara & Leiwyn.
  • the Partner of Derek
  • an Elder of the Flinders & Cape Barren Islands, and mainland Tasmania
  •  a traditional artist of our ancient women’s arts
  •  a teacher of traditional arts
  • a familial historian & storyteller
  •  a graduate of the University of Tasmania with a Bachelor of History: a major of Tasmanian Aboriginal History
  •  a published writer
  • the owner/operator of liarawitha luna (Island woman) Tourism & Aboriginal Arts which encompasses tourist accommodation, tour guide and operate the liarawitha luna Studio working to make, display, and sell my traditional and contemporary art pieces.

 I live on Flinders Island where, as a historian and artist I make, write and teach. My passions are my family, culture, history, making traditional shell jewellery, baskets, kelp water carriers and whittling women’s cultural tools, collecting the natural materials for my arts, teaching our younger generations about our history and our culture and writing to inform those who don’t understand the losses suffered by our Grannies.

 I learned from our Elders and read as much as I can regarding our history and culture, and so, when Ricky Maynard, world-renown Tasmanian Aboriginal photographic storyteller, asked me to be a part of this Exhibition, I felt incredibly honoured. It has rekindled my energy to ensure the memory and stories of the sons of our Grannies will not stop because of sons who lie in graves on foreign lands, nor those who managed to get home, only to die as young men still, from the vagaries of the invading British forces from 1803 – which still continues today, two 217 years later. Women still weep, wail and wait because, in honour of our Grannies and their sons, we also will never forget. We will forever stay strong and fight for reparation. Rest-in-Peace our sons who have faced the enemy, and we will always remember you and your sacrifice, and, through these photographic stories, we will–forever–keep your memory alive by the stories presented. And, the women will continue to weep, wail and wait.

Maikutena Vicki-Laine Green, 6th April 2020

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