Care for Country in a crisis

by Knowles Tivendale, friend of City of Greater Dandenong Interfaith Network

I believe that we should live in peace, and in harmony in with nature.

Diverse opinions are the essence of creativity.

True knowledge comes from scientific approaches, shared wisdom, and genuine two-way engagement.

As climate change impacts on our liveability, I reflect on a story told by Aunty Carolyn Briggs that is proven by glaciologists and carbon dating to be over 10,000 years old.

The full version is titled The Filling of the Bay – The Time of Chaos and can be found on the Culture Victoria Website ( ).

Briefly paraphrasing Aunty Carolyn I hope to do justice to her insight:

A long time ago, the land beneath Nairm (Port Phillip Bay) was a fertile and productive plain.

The Bunurong and other Kulin Nations had plentiful access to everything they needed but bickered about trivial things.

The Bunurong were custodians of the fertile plain but were not living within their means, hunted animals were left uneaten, yam daisies were neglected, fish were caught in their spawning season and eels were not harvested.

The people were not abiding by the laws of Bundjil (the creator) and Waang (the protector).

Bundjil was angry with the people and the sea rose destroying the most fertile land by increasing temperatures, thereby increasing water levels to flood the Bay.

The sea threatened to inundate the whole of Bunurong Country and flood all of Greater Dandenong. Bundjil told them they would have to change their ways to save their land. They needed to care for Country and care for each other or lose everything.

The Bunurong committed to caring for Country and caring for their neighbours.

They taught others how to respect and care for Country.

The ancient highway now known as Nepean Highway has a name that literally means “walk in single file” – so as to protect the sand dune.

Spiritualism helps communities to agree on moral and virtuous approaches to decision making.

In my view there is only one higher power, greater than humanity – Mother Nature.

It is clear that She, Bundjil and Waang are not happy with our progress and the only true way forward is to care for Country and each other.

As the latest climate crisis is upon us, I know many residents would ask everyone to how they can heal Country and care for others.