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Scholar Highlight for Week Ending September 6, 2014

September 15, 2014
Photo credit: Cheryl in Australia

Photo credit: Cheryl in Australia

Cheryl Triplett

Our class today takes us to Wategos for our welcome to Kuntri.  Wategos Beach (NSW 14) is a popular, picturesque beach up to 600 m in length and backed by an amphitheater shaped valley near the tip of Cape Byron. The valley was settled in the mid-1930s by the Watego family who grew bananas and vegetables where houses now stand.  We walked from our apartments in Byron Bay to Watego where we were meet by N. our Aboriginal guide and one of our professors for a tour of the Byron Bay Lighthouse and history of Aboriginal people of Australia.  Aboriginal people of Australia have a rich, living culture stretching back at least 50,000 years. N. spoke about the land, the people and their rich traditions; Aborigines have complex social and marriage laws, based on the grouping of people within their society. They also have a complex kinship system where everyone is related to everyone else. With much of Australia having a mild climate, Aboriginal housing mostly consisted of simple shelters made from a framework of straight branches, then covered with leafy branches or sheets of bark. N. explained that Aboriginal religion, like many other religions, is characterized by having a god or gods who created people and the surrounding environment during a particular creation period at the beginning of time. Aboriginal people are very religious and spiritual. Our day ended with going to the top of the Cape Byron Lighthouse constructed  in 1901of prefabricated concrete blocks, the Cape Byron Lighthouse stands on the most easterly point of the Australian mainland and is Australia’s most easterly lighthouse.

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