Our Elgin Marbles come home (the marbles of the Parthenon). Only for a moment. These treasures of aboriginal cultural, sacred objects, will be shipped to the British Museum. Again. The first people of Australia have no say in this. Again.
These objects were stolen, along with the land we now call home. Yes, a Treaty was never signed. If there had been one, would the men and women whose ancestors walked the land for 60,00 years have understood its consequences?
We are almost tripping over the anniversary of that fateful date, January 26, when the nation officially celebrates Australia Day. Many of us now know it as Invasion Day, the day when 11 ships arrived in Sydney in 1788. Others prefer to call it Survival Day.
Wiradjuri woman, Mayrah Sonter explained,
“It’s a tricky day. We don’t celebrate ‘Australia Day’ today. We celebrate the survival of our people. It was the beginning of the end of a lot of Aboriginal culture and people. There were lives lost. Our culture has not been able to fully recover from the things that have happened.”
‘In 2003, Murray and Gary Foley, the Victorian scholar, author and activist, hatched a plan to seize the barks when they were loaned by the British Museum to the Melbourne Museum to mark the Australian institution’s 150th birthday.
The pair convinced a court to use a little-known provision of the National Aboriginal Cultural Heritage Act to secure the artefacts. Faced with pressure from the British and legal action from Melbourne Museum, the clan lost the case, but they found a friend in the Greek community, which is lobbying for the return of its Elgin Marbles.
“Our view has never changed. We want them home,” says Murray.’
The National Museum in Canberra is hosting an exhibition of 150 beautiful, hand-crafted spears, shields, necklaces and personal objects from the British Museum. They are here until March 28 and then the British take them away. Again.
Thanks to The Sydney Morning Herald and SBS for the quotes. You can read more: http://www.smh.com.au/entertainment/art-and-design/encounters-at-national-museum-of-australia-our-elgin-marbles-come-home-20151104-gkp0nv.html#ixzz3y19V7IB1