Freshwater Healing (Taking Stock Series) and more art by Jenny Fraser

Freshwater Healing (Taking Stock Series)
35 x 45 cm (h x w)


Taking Stock Series:

Where would we begin if we were to report to our Ancestors, or our Descendants, on the past 250 years of living under the Bully Man? There is just so much history that has been covered over.

In its early years, the Native Police Force was overseen by New South Wales, even as the edges of settlement pushed up into the area that is now southern Queensland. In 1859 Queen Victoria signed letters patent to form the Colony of “Queensland”. Jidda from the Migunberri Tribe had already been working in indentured servitude for William Barker at Tamrookum Station and she was offered as a courtesy to a British Native Police Lieutenant, Frederick Wheeler as a thank you for a massacre, committed at the request of other local pastoralists in 1860. In the same year her daughter was born into indentured servitude, and at the age of 8 she was taken away and walked up to Far North Queensland, around 1500 kilometres away. During her life she worked for many white families as a domestic and carer, and even though she had an English name, Elizabeth Wheeler, she was often just referred to as “Half Caste”. Her many descendants know her as Granny Clark and even with white husbands, she was still required to live separately on the fringes of society, such as the Coppermine Creek River bank in Cloncurry. She worked as a Lay in Nurse for a doctor, delivering Black and White babies, and she willingly participated in some of the legal ways of the new society, being one of the first Aboriginal Women to vote, even though that wasn't legal until long after her death. Granny made sure that she had a birth certificate registered, listing Tamrookum and the Logan River, which is like leaving specific latitude and longitude coordinates on a map.

Similarly, as an artist, I am leaving a code for future healing and legal reference, a visual code that can be read or interpreted in Truth Telling. Carving topographical maps into the Masters Housewares and sharing our visual literacy is something that we have had to reclaim and develop at the same time.

Those massacres on our tribal homeland were 160 years ago. We were there on The Frontier when our land was taken in the name of the British queen, and our tribes were decimated, yet here we are today surviving through climate change, plague and pestilence across generations of the Monarchy and Squatocracy rule of the new society. Just like some of our old Scar Trees that are still standing, we are here with our own scars too, but still, we have never ceded our sovereignty and we were born for this.

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other works by Jenny Fraser

Saltwater Healing (Taking Stoc...
24.5 x 44 cm (h x w)
self portrait (photographed by Nadeena Dixon)

more from Boomalli Aboriginal Artists Co-operative

Scruffy and Lex
61 x 61 cm (h x w)
Acrylic on canvas

Bellbrook Horses
60 x 75 cm (h x w)
Acrylic on canvas

Coolamons in the Sky
51 x 61 cm (h x w)
Acrylic on canvas

Eurah Leaves
30 x 21 cm (h x w)
Limited Edition Print

My Totem My Home: Coming Home, 2020
59.5 x 84 cm (h x w)
Ecoline ink on paper


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