Two Australias: One a Fantasy, the Other Gruesome Truth

The Voice referendum, for the umpteenth time, has demonstrated how there are at least two Australias: the inner cities and Canberra, and everywhere else. But, more importantly, there are at least two Aboriginal Australias.

It is initiation season in West Arnhem Land in the Northern Territory. The elders of the various settlements gather 12-year-old boys and take them bush for the ceremony. Actual ceremonies still happen in Arnhemland – not the Disneyland ones that inner-city types and Aboriginal graduates might fantasise about.

The upshot of initiation is that when the boys come home – they are regarded as men – and may drop out of school.  Authentic Aboriginal culture, not imagined in the signature blocks of workers in the inner cities and Canberra, ensures that the cycle continues to create a dependent people, not a coloniser in sight.

Not only do the purveyors of imagined Aboriginal culture insult us, but they also make us pay for it. Initiations are a crude affair; although medical doctors provide kits for initiation, they often cause significant injury to the child. If they are lucky, initiates seek medical care paid for by the taxpayer.

Meanwhile, in comfortable inner city Melbourne, especially in the electorate of Melbourne, there is ‘support’ from the University of Melbourne deputy vice-chancellor (Indigenous). He wrote on October 9: ‘As the referendum vote fast approaches, I would like to take this moment to remind you all of the strain this long campaign has placed on our Indigenous colleagues and students … The increasingly polarised and vitriolic campaign has caused enormous dismay and distress to our University Indigenous community.’ Perhaps he had Professor Marcia Langton in mind.

He says, ‘The University has implemented some special leave provisions for Indigenous staff for the remainder of 2023.’ Are ‘No’-voter staff provided leave despite being considered racist?

The vice-chancellor continued, ‘Many University colleagues have shown ‘allyship’ [support for Aboriginal self-determination] to Indigenous staff and students throughout the long campaign … This is a pivotal moment in this country’s history. I encourage everyone to recognise their responsibility in making an informed decision on voting day.’ [hint– vote Yes].

Meanwhile, in northern Australia, the other Australia, those who will never attend university or perhaps ever have a job continue more traditional ways …

Initiations are not illegal, and mothers can refuse, but we suspect that many blind eyes are turned to the practices that take place under the rubric of ‘initiation’. Indeed, initiation circumcision is increasingly undertaken in hospitals. Still, university Aborigines may want to contemplate the attitudes that come with initiation, the manliness to lord it over women, and the disregard for a more comprehensive education. The fact that medical interventions may have civilised the ceremonies underscores the changes that must occur in Aboriginal society.

Indeed, our university types may care to read Spencer and Gillen’s The Arunta: A Study of a Stone Age People, based on their research by direct observation between 1894 and 1902 in Central Australia. They devote at least 128 pages to initiation practices and ceremonies. The Arunta tribal ceremonies, for example, are in four parts: painting and throwing-the-boy-up-in-the-air ceremony, circumcision, subincision, and the fire ceremony.

The air-throwing ceremony may also accompany a nose-boring ceremony, where the boy’s nasal septum is bored through, and he begins to wear a nose bone. As for the circumcision, Spencer and Gillen report that the operation occurred before their time using a fire stick, but many had died; in their time, a stone knife had been used for circumcision. How wonderful that Western doctors now provide a kit for such procedures. How it is used is uncertain.

Spencer and Gillen describe a part of the ceremony: ‘Two young men opened veins, first in one arm and then in the other, and allowed the blood to flow out in a stream over the heads and bodies of those about to participate in the ceremony.’

I will leave it to the reader to research the delicate matter of subincision (right). This painful, dangerous and debilitating cut impedes a man’s urination and ejaculation for the remainder of his life. Sometimes men come forward for a second subincision, ‘extending the slit to the root’. These practices have not entirely died out.

Less remarked upon, and described in very general terms by Gillen and Spencer, is the initiation ceremonies of women; ‘an operation of the opening of the vagina’ is performed, the equivalent of male subincision.

These practices are related to the age-old business of mating. Gillen and Spencer point out four main ways of obtaining a wife under Aboriginal marital custom: charming using magic, capture, elopement, and arranging with some other man his daughter’s hand. Take the example of the eloping couple. If caught, ‘the woman is, if not killed on the spot, at all events is treated in such a way that any further attempt at elopement on her part is not likely to take place.’ In other words, severely beaten.

None of which is to argue that these ceremonies and rites were not highly significant and sacred and that while they have been primarily abandoned, elements remain. What is it that public servants and university types acknowledge? How distant are the little flowers at the University of Melbourne from the initiates of Arnhem Land that they recoil from an electorate which disdains the crude practices of the past and are sure they do not want them buttressed by law in the Australian constitution?

There are two Australias, and they will remain divided until university types condemn the last of the brutal initiation rites.

Gary Johns is the principal of Close the Gap Research

14 thoughts on “Two Australias: One a Fantasy, the Other Gruesome Truth

  • ianl says:

    My view of the fallout from the Voice campaign is that the divide between indigenous city activists and the clearly disadvantaged regional indigenous groups has been starkly highlighted.

    Langton, Pearson etc vs Price, Mundine etc.

    Could not be clearer.

    The MSM, as despicable as always, are fully aware of this and so treat Price and Mundine (especially Price) with undisguised disdain. The purpose of that is to discredit their message, which is: improving the lot of regional indigenous groups will not occur by gifting the city activists with perpetual power. That will most likely channel into immoveable ATSIC-type corruption.

    Price in particular is a gifted politician with integrity. So rare. Her pressure point of auditing and re-shaping the current indigenous programmes strikes a great empathic chord. Perhaps the voting tallies today will reflect that. Elbow is incapable of dealing with that effectively.

    • Daffy says:

      As I’ve mentioned in other comments, for the Left, the issue is never the issue, the issue is always power. Given the number of people who promote the voice with Communist links, I have to conclude that the show is being scripted by them.

    • Brian Boru says:

      I agree, “improving the lot of regional indigenous groups will not occur by gifting the city activists with perpetual power”. Well put Ian.

    • mrsfarley2001 says:

      Gary Johns understands what the real issues are here. Their so-called “culture” actively holds development at bay. And, living in those outback hell-holes, well, it’s time to stop all that. It’s simply not sustainable.
      Jacinta Price commands respect – hope she keeps pressing for accountability.

  • Stephen Due says:

    I don’t know the stats, but certainly most boys of my acquaintance in my generation were circumcised (I’m 75). Then circumcision became frowned on medical circles, and in recent times it has been considered to be unnatural and medically unjustified. Interestingly, however, another form of male genital mutilation – sterilisation of married men by vasectomy – has become all the rage in modern medical circles and is highly favoured by trendy wives.
    Then there is the ultimate surgical horror, performed on minors at such eminent institutions as the Royal Children’s Hospital in Melbourne, where boys are castrated as part of a semi-magical rutual to turn them into girls. By these standards Aboriginal circumcision rituals seem rather tame. Just add anaesthetic and all will be well;. No wonder the trendies in the Fitzroy cafes and the Universities see nothing wrong with Aboriginal cultural practices in this regard. They themselves have long since devised improvements and blessed them with the name of ‘science’.

  • john.singer says:

    One must ponder, even question, the virtue of a continuous culture and its practices, in that the stone-age culture only advanced to a stone-age culture in 65,000 years.
    The last 241 years have proved that the people had all the capabilities for rapid advancement, so it probably the culture that held them captive. However they will never follow their half million or so relatives into the 21st Century whilst they live on remote homelands under customary law.

  • Paul.Harrison says:

    I am hard-wired by Autism to view my world in basic black and white, there can be no other way for me. I’ve been a conservative person since late 1973, when I was horrified to watch Deputy Prime Minister Jim Cairns being greeted by the Commissars of North Vietnam with beaming smiles because Cairns was bearing gifts. All this while our good friends the Americans were battling a rear guard action towards the end of the war. In the comments above, ‘Daffy’ has voiced his concerns re: Communist influence, and he is completely correct in his comment. To the point I want to make, and it is black and white. The entire Voice effort aids and comforts our old enemies, the Communists, and serves to further divide and conquer our lovely country. For me, the war to conquer Australia began the day Whitlam accepted his Commission as a new Prime Minister, and God help us, that war was lost to us a very long time ago as a result of his election. We have to find a way to beat through the propaganda of the Left and the Communists to get the message of the danger we are facing out to our young people. At present, our Conservative leaders are in a conga line of suck holes toadying up to the left lest we be seen as offending some surreal ideal of aboriginality. I hope and pray that there is a future conservative Prime Minister coming along with the balls to steer our ship of state back to a steady course, but my feeling is that we have already abandoned the will to do so. In closing, the reason I voted ‘NO’ to the mongrels today, apart of course, from being a conservative with zero trust in anything a Socialist tells me, is that the Minister for Aboriginal Affairs called me ‘a stupid racist’.

    • Stephen Due says:

      “We have to find a way to beat through the propaganda of the Left and the Communists to get the message of the danger we are facing out to our young people”. Yes. So ‘we’ will have to start by dismantling the socialist education system. When I worked in a State school in Victoria 40 years ago, the staff and the union were already socialists. Of course they were – because state education is the system is that used in communist countries. Inevitably ‘we’; get the same results: the child is indoctrinated with socialist values, and the school starts to assume the role of the parent. Thus we already see, for example, schools standing between the parent and the child on issues relating to the child’s sexuality. This is communism precisely. The child becomes in effect the proprerty of the state, and parental authority is undermined. At the very least ‘we’ must work to protect the existing private schools from government interference. The battle is on now for the survival of genuinely Christian private schools, as governments work on ways of bringing them into line with Woke (i.e. communist) ideology. In the end, Christianity will be the only sure defence against tyranny, as history abundantly demonstrates.

  • James McKenzie says:

    Visited the Lanyon Homestead today and a Marriage ceremony was taking place, then noticed white smoke in the background. Conclude, this sacred event has an option of a smoke ceremony, to be fair was unsure if it was a Christian service or what? The previous week endured ‘past, present and most galling future: will stop there ‘for eternity”? As it is a No to the Voice can we have a bottom-up audit where say a community is supported by ‘x’ dollars for a particular service, then identify the agency providing and how it explains its expenditure, follow the same logic to the next level: no doubt an unwelcomed investigation. Then, given the potential horrors unfolding worldwide, our affairs in comparison are chicken shit.

  • Allan says:

    Thousands of years ago my ancestors were also hunter/gathers.

    My children now include an economist, a computer software engineer, and a maxilo-facial surgeon.

    Times change.

  • cel47143 says:

    Yes Brian, not just looking for perpetual power, but who are perpetually indignant (thanks PJ O’Rourke).

  • abrogard says:

    It’s all BS.
    We have lost the ability to think clearly and the ability to talk clearly.
    No one talks sense any more.
    Take the Ukraine thing for instance: perfect example. Everyone – ‘everyone’ – talks about ‘supporting Ukraine’ or ‘Supporting Russia’ – Right? Everyone. From idiot Biden through all the other idiot ‘leaders’ all the way through the MSM, through the alt-media right down to threads like this. Right?
    It is true isn’t it?
    They all say that.
    And they ALL have it wrong. ALL. Because the ‘Ukraine supporters’ are not supporting ‘Ukraine’ – Ukraine is being torn apart – they are supporting ‘Kiev Ukraine’ only. Right? Forget the secession business and so on: red herrings, confusion: the fact is the 40 million Ukrainians includes the 10 million Donbas Ukrainians and they are universally – universally – discounted, forgotten, ignored.
    See? I won’t argue it any further. Explore it for yourself. There’s a total lack of rigour, total.
    And here we have it with this blackfeller thing in Australia.
    See? Were you shocked I said ‘blackfella’ ? That’s part of it right there. ‘Abos’ are ‘blackfellas’, plain and simple. Like ‘poms’ are ‘poms’ and ‘whitefellers’ are ‘whitefellers’ and ‘yellafellas’ are ‘yellafellas’. BUT: it is universally understood those words must not be spoken. Right?
    See? That’s the nonsense. That’s the ‘new speak’. That’s the lack of truth and reason beginning right there.
    Next: there ARE NO blackfellas. None. There are none.
    There are only people with memories of them to some degree or other.
    Like we all have memories of our forefathers. But we are not our forefathers and we do not and never did live like our forefathers and NOR SHOULD WE and NOR DO WE WANT TO.
    And it goes on: we don’t even know how our forefathers lived, what life was like for them.
    That’s us. European, modern, true of us, true in spades redoubled as regard to blackfellers.
    And now I’m tired.
    I won’t belabour it any further because a word to the wise, you know? And pearls before swine?
    We need a return to truth, reason, honesty and our professional scribbler classes need to lead that return but I think they never will while they are paid according to the establishment conventions by the establishment.

  • lhackett01 says:

    Sanity has prevailed. The overwhelming majority of Australians have rejected the concept of dividing Australian society into racial groups.
    Now, we must stop all other moves that can result in division; no treaties and no special treatment because of race.
    Those relatively few Aborigines experiencing the ‘gap’ are doing so largely because they are trying to cling to outdated cultural practices. Living ‘on country’ when there is no real possibility of ever having a productive community able to support itself to at least the levels considered normal in Australian towns, where living is possible only on government and other subsidies, must stop. This might take time, but those people must be brought to understand reality and the need to integrate, not stand apart.

  • Twyford Hall says:

    I would like to acknowledge again the intelligence of your suggestion: “If you want a voice,, learn English”. It was one of the most perceptive things said during the entire campaign. It is no wonder the Aboriginal industry was so outraged as, if followed en masse, it would destroy their careers.

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