March 13, 2013

The Australian Mob


Many of John Franklin and Harriet Tull's descendants who attended the Franklin Reunion on the Saturday afternoon.

SettingUp1.JPG Family trees were put up for the children of John Franklin and Harriet Tull. John Charles Franklin's line was the largest, taking up the length of a whole wall and displaying five generations of family members.

John Franklin - The Facts So Far

Meg.jpg Dr Meg Dillon, (Social Historian) has assembled the efforts of a number of researchers including that collected by a small group of Franklin descendants into a comprehensive document detailing the known and confirmed knowledge of John Franklin. The efforts of this research were presented at the Franklin Reunion over the Labour Day weekend. While this research was extensive it was unable to definitively answer the question of 'Who was John Franklin?" Research will continue in the hope that one day an important document will be uncovered at the Public Records Office or some other repository that will shed important new light on his origins and his connection with the Yea district in the 1840s.

As a member of the research team I would particularly like congratulate the other members of the research team and the quality of their investigations and materials in spite of not receiving any support or assistance from the TCAC. Research such as this provides a priceless asset to all Taungurung people and not just to the Franklin family.

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Update - Stone Secrets

The opportunity for Dr David Chalmers to present his findings was well received at the recent Franklin family reunion with many people hearing about his research and findings for the first time. His research and hypothesis sparked much interest by many of the older ‘Franklins’ who expressed a desire to visit the sites and gain first had experience of the landfall and environment.


Two years ago Bernadette Franklin and Loraine Padgham (as representatives of the Taungurung) were invited to attend the launch of the culmination of six years of research undertaken by Prof. Chalmers at his Strathbogie Ranges property.


Prof. Chalmers had been researching the unusual arrangement of stones on his property and concluded that they could have been established by the Nira Balug people (a clan of the Taungurung) to herd kangaroos up the hill, into a race, where they were trapped and separated for slaughter or breeding. He compared the 'Euroa men' rock drawings found in the Strathbogie Ranges and theorised that the rock drawings could actually depict the local Aboriginal people herding and corralling kangaroos.



Other interesting stone arrangements were shown to the group and speculation was made that one stone arrangement was in fact a calendar made in the shape of a giant bird - possibly Bunjil - with it's beak pointing eastward towards the rising sun. Through cavities in the adjacent caves, sunlight could penetrate and shine on the back wall of the cave accurately depicting the time of the year.



Continue reading "Update - Stone Secrets" »

March 29, 2011

VALE Aunty Irene Lawrey - The passing of a valued Elder

Irene Lawrey.JPG

It was with deep regret that Franklin descendants were informed of the recent sudden passing of Aunty Irene Lawrey. For many years Aunty Irene was an integral part of the family’s search for the history behind the Franklin’s relationship with the Kilmore - Yea region. There was no stone unturned or article unread as Aunty Irene pursued her knowledge about her Aboriginal heritage. Her move to the nursing home at Kilmore in 2010 provided a wonderful location to continue her story. She confided that she was glad to be living in Kilmore as she felt she was ‘home’ as she was on Taungurung country.

Aunty Irene’s quest for her history started as a young girl and was willingly shared amongst many Franklin descendants. Documents, in the form of letters and official correspondence as well as photographs and anecdotes were readily exchanged with other family members to help compile and assemble a true history of the Nira Balug clan of the Taungurung. Sadly, just as family members were in a position to help Aunty Irene document her findings she advised she needed time to regain her health and consequently this project was temporarily placed on hold.

Fortunately many of her files, photographs and notes have been archived but it is her interesting yarns and stories she retained in her memory that will be lost to the rest of the family.

She will be sadly missed by her family and by all those who worked closely with her. It is hoped that her work will be continued by other members of the Franklin family.

July 25, 2008

Aunty Jean Receives Rave Reviews on Her Welcome to Country

Aunty Jean Williamson recently delivered a welcome to Taungurung Country at a Department of Human Services conference presented recently at Kilmore.

Aunty Jean Williamson at Conference

Here is some of the feedback from the organiser of the conference.

What an amazing woman Aunty is and you have to know that she drew everyone in the room close to her with her beautiful natural Welcome from the heart. There were a lot of people from large Organisations and Managers from the Department of Human Services who have all seen a lot of Welcome to Country's - but Aunty impressed every single one of them with her honest and sincere Welcome. I spoke with a number of the delegates from the meeting both at the conference itself as well as back here at the office yesterday and every single one of them smiled and said how amazing Aunty Jean was - hearing Aunty talk of her personal life was just so refreshing, and wow, you should have heard the roar of laughter when Aunty made a funny comment, she captivated everyone's attention.

You can contact Aunty Jean via (you will need to remove the _ before the @ sign.

June 23, 2007

NAIDOC at Monash University

NAIDOC celebrations will be conducted at Monash University between the 16th and 19th July and as a Taungurung Elder and a member of the Monash Indigenous Advisory Committee I was honoured to be invited to attend the official Acknowledgement of Wurundjeri Country. The University has organised Vicki Nicholson-Brown to deliver a speech acknowledging that the University is situated on Wurundjeri land. Staff and students have been invited to participate in the formal Smoking Ceremony following the official welcome. The theme for this years NAIDOC is 50years - looking forward looking blak.

The program for the week include an Indigenous Film Festival, guest speakers talking about reconciliation and land rights. Along with Bernadette Franklin I have been invited to demonstrate possum skin cloak making. I understand that other workshops include traditional basket making and wood burning. A group of young dancers from the Dandenong area will perform.

Continue reading "NAIDOC at Monash University" »

February 25, 2007

Cloaking Making

Members of Taungurung Clan participated in the making of a traditional possum skin cloak. The cloak project is sponsored by Monash University's Centre for Australian Indigenous Studies and the finished cloak will be used in ceremonial activities at the University. With the ban on obtaining Australian possum pelts, the pelts used in the cloak were obtained from New Zealand where possums threaten the New Zealand indigenous wildlife.


Irene Lawrey and others modelled the partially completed cloak for a group of volunteer workers also present at the venue. It was explained that each pelt represents a teaching area of the University. Completed pelts include depiction of pharmacy, geology, archaeology, business, computing, hydrology and neurology.


Margaret Martino is shown burning in the design onto the pelt. After first sketching the design using either charcoal or light pencil, the pyrographic burner is used to carefully trace over the design leaving singed lines.


Jean Williamson, Loraine Padgham and Sandra Smith from the Museum Victoria were intensely concentrating on the stitching of the cloak. For this cloak, blanket stitch was selected because it created an interesting definition between pelts.


September 19, 0012

The First Astronomers

In the course of my work at Monash University I recently came in contact with Paul Curnow a renown astronomer at the Planetarium in Adelaide. Paul is passionately involved in promoting the Indigenous people of Australia as the very first astronomers.

Paul will be presenting a talk about Indigenous Astronomers at 8pm on Wednesday 8th October 2008 at the National Herbarium Building, Birdwood Avenue, Botanic Gardens, Melbourne. All are invited.

Find out more about Indigenous Astronomers from the following websites.

Aboriginal astronomers see emus in the sky.


Aboriginal Skies