A Day with Norman
This week we had the pleasure of going to Scrub Hill Farms and meeting an Aboriginal male named Norman. He is a member of the Butchella tribe and was kind enough to talk to Caprice, Brittany, Cierra and myself about the history of his people and some of the issues they faced while living in Hervey Bay.
In the past, land ownership did not matter to the Aboriginal people. However, it did matter to one particular party—the Europeans. The Europeans took the Aboriginal’s land because they believed in land ownership and wanted to claim the property for themselves. Farmers were not allowed to own land that Aboriginals lived on, so they made excuses to kill them. Aboriginals were treated as outcasts and were not allowed to vote until 1967. As the result of many unjust murders and the heinous crimes that occurred, most Aboriginal people are still distrustful of the Government.
Because Aboriginals were forced into hiding, the first question they ask one another is: “What country are you from?” They ask this because each group was forced to go off into different territories and given different names for where they were. The tribes broke into family groups and were certain not to travel by tribe. Fortunately, they never had to stay in one place because they were always surrounded by food, provided by the land.
The final estimated resident Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population at 30 June 2006 was 517,000 people or 2.5% of the total Australian population. Of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population, 90% were Aboriginal people, 6% were Torres Strait Islander people and the remaining 4% were both Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.
“Growing up in Hervey Bay was bad,” expressed Norman. “Things have changed a bit, but not a lot.”
Norman’s mother and grandfather were both boxers, so he is a natural born fighter. In fact, during his short career at Queensland University he was kicked out of the school for an altercation with a teacher. Unlike most outlaws, he did not act out without reason. He was raised believing that you are supposed to defend yourself when you are disrespected, so he did.
“Some people won’t come back here because they have nothing to come back to,” said Norman.
Norman and others fought to and from school because they were always targeted for being Aboriginals. “It was not because we were black, it was because we were Aboriginals,” stated Norman. Along with age came maturity and Norman no longer fights as much as he once did. However, he will never forget who he is or what he was taught.
Norman’s mother purchased Scrub Hill Farms for $250,000.00 in an effort to help Aboriginal people rebuild their lives. At the time of her purchase, the farm was unwanted because there was not much one could do with it. Scrub Hills is about “bringing Aboriginal people together.” The goal of the farm is to teach Aboriginal people the skills they need to survive in society and to make sure they are skilled.
Though Norman’s life as an Aboriginal has not been easy, he still manages to be a very jovial person and is always happy to share his story with others.
“Don’t Worry. It is heartbreaking, but you have to move forward,” encourages Norman.
Fun Fact: There are three ways to spell the name of Norman’s tribe.
“Until Next Time Mates!”