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The Frontier Wars and Colonial Violence

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  • Eumeralla: A War Requiem for Peace

  • Eumeralla: A War Requiem for Peace

    'There is no memorial to the Eumeralla War. No Australian Prime Minister has ever visited the battleground. The history of battles fought over a period of 23 years have drawn a deafening silence in the 170 years since the last shots rang out. While the Gunditjmara people have language and ceremony to honour their fallen heroes those on the other side of the conflict have no language to describe their ancestors fate. Unlike other conflicts in which Australians have fought and died no peace was ever declared in the Eumeralla War.

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    "The process of composing Eumeralla, a war requiem for peace began with the structure of the traditional Latin text and my original plan was to translate directly from the English into the Gunditjmara dialects. It became obvious the work required a text which reflected seventy thousand years of spirituality and ceremony. In the tradition of Benjamin Britten, who augmented the Latin text with the poetry of Wilfred Owen in his epic War Requiem (1961) in order to capture the gravity and horror of the Great War, I found I too needed to expand and in many cases go well beyond the original text. Whilst the structure and purpose of the traditional mass served my purpose, the substance and spirirituality needed to be taken further in order to honour seventy thousand years of ceremony and the battles fought in the resistance wars. A critical turning point for me in arriving at the decision to write my own expanded text came as I approached a setting of the Angus Dei. As I considered the meaning and imagery of the Lamb of God, sacrificed in order to take away the sins of the world - I was confronted once again by the inescapable truth of our shared history. It was, after all Aboriginal families - men, women and children - who were sacrificed for the lambs...

    Deborah Cheetham AO

    Source: University of Queensland's Vice Chancellor Concert Series

  • It will be called Eumeralla and named in honour of one of the most brutal resistance wars fought on this continent. It will be sung entirely in the ancient dialects of the Gunditjmara people and it is designed for non-Indigenous Australians to sing along-side Indigenous brothers and sisters. We need a way to ease the troubled spirit of the battlefields of the Eumeralla.

    Deborah Cheetham

    Source: ABC

  • The Eumeralla War (1884)

  • Convincing Ground by Paul Mitchell

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