In the heritage of Indigenous Australians a GOONDEEN is ‘ a father figure; a very wise, smart and respected person, a clever fella who shares his life with others and cares for all.
Let me tell you a story that began in 2016 when I accepted with humility an invitation to become GOONDEEN EVERALD.
A respected friend of mine is Bill Synnot, as fine a citizen as I have come across, who has had a successful career as in Change Management. He decided to organise and finance the publication of a book called ‘Goondeen’ and establish the Goondeen Institute which would promote the spirit of Goondeen.
The first decision of the Goondeen Institute was to appoint three modern Goondeens.
*UNCLE ALBERT HOLT, a distinguished Indigenous Elder from Cherbourg in Queensland.
*HENRY PALASZCZUK, a migrant from war torn Europe who became a Member and Minister of the Queensland Parliament and whose daughter, Annastacia, is Premier.
*Me, a young lad from the bush who has tried to make a difference.
Bill then appointed an author, Sophie Church, to write the book, and Andrew Schulz, organiser of the Year of the Outback, to become the advocate of the project.
Many working lunches followed in Bill’s office where the six of us discussed many aspects of our lives and our work and our vision of Australia as a caring and sharing nation.
The book was launched in 2017 at Old Government House at the Queensland University of Technology by Annastacia and it has sold well, to the extent that there is now a Chinese translation of it which helps mould a better understanding of Australia by China.
Bill then had the book adapted as an educational resource for use in Primary Schools and now more than 50 schools are using it. Some are taking it very seriously by implementing a study program. On completion the students become GOONDEEN GUARDIANS, after making a commitment to live as sharers and carers in helping to create a cohesive society.
So it is that yesterday I was invited to the Springfield Central State School to individually declare 22 students to be GOONDEEN GUARDIANS and make a graduation address by giving examples of people who showed us how much more we can achieve in our vocations if we work in teams rather than as loners and how life reaches the highest level of quality where we daily share and care.
So, you can see me above doing my bit in bonding with my fellow Goondeens at Springfield (and their parents and teachers).
Actually, I could show you more photos, especially one of the GOONDEEN GARDEN that the students have created with an splendid indigenous mural containing sketches of Albert, Henry and me.
So, why am I telling you this.
I am proud to be involved in a movement where all who belong to it are creating caring and sharing communities in which they dont just talk about it, they become personally involved.
My day ended on a high note, when one of the new GOONDEEN GUARDIANS (female) said to me,
‘Are you indigenous?’
(I am very much a white man, so here is the subsequent conversation)
‘What makes you think I am indigenous?’
‘You tell wonderful stories and indigenous people are great story tellers.’
‘I have no indigenous ancestors, but I am spiritually indigenous as every one of us is an Australian.’
‘So am I and I hope that I will grow up to be like you and be able to tell great stories about it.’
‘I am sure you will do better than I have.’
Over and out,
A proud GOONDEEN,
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