Pacific portraits; Dame Daisy Bates
Men and women whose lives times and places in the. Story can withstand. Took them for a walk and held their hand a giant goad.
Hey Daisy big program 10 in a series of Pacific court rates produced by a radio station WAGA of the University of Wisconsin under a grant from the Educational Television and Radio Center in cooperation with the National Association of educational broadcasters. It was 19 20 on the rim of the great Australian desert two thousand miles across as wide and almost as empty as the moon amid the burnt out craters eroded rocks spinifex bushes and rivers of red sand stood a circle of black Warriors women and children in the center stood two tall men naked save for streaks of white clay. Each armed with a long tapering shields and a handful of spears as they confronted each other silently. A little elderly white woman strolled resolutely between them from the waiting blacks came a cry.
The woman was a stranger as the encircling blacks. She wore an ankle length blue serge suit a mid-Victorian blouse with a starched white collar a straw boater happy with a chin pale black woollen stockings and white gloves. She held up her hand as the shouts died away. Yes. This is your grandmother. I have. Just said is that me. His wife says that the woman came willingly. You see me you see. He has broken your law and by the same they must fight you wish them well. When I do. Let you know that you may be taking out a white handkerchief. The woman held it at arm's length and daintily dropped it on the sand.
Rising leaping hurling and evading the barbed weapons the two naked Warriors churned up the sand in the violence of their battle. Then one spear scored a deep channel in the side of the wronged husband. He flung his last spear in fury and it pierced Meniere's forearm where it hung like a picket on his lance. Both men reached for Fallen Spears. You. Know Daisy Bates a justice of the peace had settled another tribal dispute. Not according to the white man's laws but by those of the tribe. And this is what she had been doing for most of her long life a life which began in a wealthy Irish home. And which ended amidst the most primitive of native races. The Australian Aborigine.
You know the world alive with spirit voices and magic signed dominated by totems the Aborigine Roland in his tribal area which is keen senses tracked his trail his boomerang and spear killed it. He built no villages cultivated no land but make it as Adam. Time for the punches sharp. I know and he needed to be strong to survive in the Australian desert. Four hundred miles by four hundred and fifty of weathered salt brush where for years no rainfall tessellated pavement of sun dazzled waist searches the great not about plane. Here is a weird world where the bones of prehistoric animals bleach in the salt lakes where the earth shines like a lunar sea with gypsum and Mica. In this land without horizons empty earth merges into empty sky.
Through this awesome loneliness came the young Daisy O'Dwyer. I was born in Tipperary in 1859 but my parents died when I was three. I was reared in England by Sir Francis and lady who tremble gave me a fine education. Those were happy days for a young girl I liked to fall in love. Nothing Serious much just meat then pot perhaps never to see each other again. It was fun that way. But when she was 25 Daisy O'Dwyer was found to have a long complaint and was sent to recover in the warm dry Australian climate. Here she led a gay life in a society whose ways were freer than in Europe. Daisy was an exceptionally pretty lively girl. She was reared in the typical Victorian chamber but she was no prude. She loved life and she loved people. She liked to flirt and she did flirt. She had boyfriends by the dozen. One of these boyfriends Jack Bates a wealthy farmer swept her off her feet.
They were married in a country church and went to live on a sheep station in New South Wales. But the marriage failed. Jack Bates remained with his sheep and they say Bates returned to England in the Windjammer. She was 35. Her youth behind her. But after the vast and free spaces of Australia the bustle and noise of London depressed me. I decided to read. Turn to the Pacific. Just before I left a letter had been printed in The Times alleging cruelty to the Aborigines. The news paper accepted my offer to investigate the charges. There was matter to investigate the gap between the stone age men of Australia and the European was so great the trouble was unavoidable. There will be no peace until the blacks have been shot. They are too primitive to civilize They steal our gardens and spear our cattle. Last month I lost five of my best steers. The Aborigines aren't people they're wild animals and we must treat them like animals.
Many of the settlers did talk like this punitive expeditions hunted the natives down and shot them. Fear and ignorance were the roots of hatred among the scattered farmers outnumbered by the blacks. Elsewhere the white man left his pitiful legacy of half castes others exploited them as labor. The only friends the blacks had was the missionaries and some dedicated government officials. The Aborigine was passing smooth his dying pillow was the comfortable rationalization of many whites. In the far northwest in 1900 in a Trappist mission I gained my first knowledge of the remnants of a race. I was perhaps the first woman in history to sleep in a Trappist monastery the abbot
gave me his bed bag and seaweed pillow. I woke to hear the native singing in the chapel half closed. They were for all the monks devotion less than half civilised. They spent three months learning all the Trappists good teachers about the Aborigines. Then on the broom her she came closer still to the last natives riding across the plains accompanied by the boys and women of the station. I would camp out sometimes for days sharing my food nursing the babies gathering food with the women and making friends with the old men. I extended my knowledge until I gained a unique insight into the whole northern Aboriginal system. A good idea.
As I sat in a neighboring creek bed or boiled the billy by an old tank the men would gather round taking infinite pains to tutor me in their rippling impressions and difficult double volumes of their tongues a series of vocal gymnastics which I am sure you know all my years of juggling with them have altered the shape of my larynx. Daisy Bates was calm and sharp and articulate. Later. She recorded the tragedy of their contact with the points the Aborigines needed above all a friend. They were dying wherever they came into contact with a white man. It was the same story everywhere. A kindness that killed as surely as cruelty would have done. The Australian native can withstand all the reverse of nature fiendish droughts and sweeping floods horrors of thirst and starvation. But he cannot stand civilization. Who shall say what despair an arm rest into those primitive minds as the natives beheld their cherished homing
spots ruthlessly swept away in the winding track to their food grounds obliterated by houses and streets. There is no hope of protecting the stone age from the 20th century. At the request of the government the indomitable peered deeper and deeper into the black mind long scrupulously neat hands always sleeping in a native shelter she had made herself Mrs. Bates was visited by a naked man chest scarred with ceremonial Trix's by tottering elders women and children. She became their nurse doctor and healer. Their companion and friend are part of her self-imposed task
was caring for the sick on two tiny coastal islands by government wisdom. All the diseased natives were isolated islands. There is not in all my set a member a one half so harrowing or a name that contrails up such a picture of an alleviated horror is these two grim islands that were the tombs of the Living Dead. These poor people had been transported some many thousands of miles to our natural surroundings. They were afraid of the hospital. They were afraid of each other living and dead. They were afraid of the sea. There was no gleam of hope. I became their grandmother and they died. It. Is a couple of good will but only my
father sitting down we're going to run in this soon as I let go your hand. My father will catch hold of it. He will take care of you until I kill you father only then I shall be safe. With that she settled down to sleep. I did not know that she was dead until her hand grew cold in my room. That is all the religion that I ever spoke to them. I tried to give them the only Christianity I knew they understood. They had my example my love and devotion through the years they trusted to be in through me they understood a little life of the Father. On the island Daisy Bates made her great decision for eight
years she had studied the Aborigines. She was now a respected authority. She knew hundreds of dialects. She had witnessed ceremonies. No woman had ever seen let alone a white woman. She had sailed on their strange psychic ocean of timeless imaginings. But this was not enough. It was now impossible for me to give them. I realized that they were passing from Earth. I must make their passing easier. I decided to devote the rest of my life to them. At 55 Daisy Bates made her decision as simply as that left behind for ever was the comforts of civilization. The lights of cities she would be in all things save charity like the Aborigines. Love was she believed the only thing that could bridge the two races. She would live amongst them and teach them love. And they made her one of themselves.
From a bundle beside him Gog Allah the old patriarch drew a magic Bambara love light yellow AKCA wood exquisitely with a crude figure of a woman a centerpiece that you were not of the dream time. I know that Kelley grandson I am old. I give you my magic and you will keep it in they bombard you. As he said these words he placed his hands upon my breast and I placed my hand on his. Then he placed the bombero between us with its blunted ends pressed against our bodies and with his black hands gathered the magic of his heart and stomach drew it slowly along with one closed hand at the other end to catch it and impregnate it into my breast. At last I saw that he was old. Now I have your magic and we too strong
for all time. These spawn Baro will never leave me. It will sit down with me day time and night time such ceremonials gains the freedom of all the totems and became the first white blood sister of the natives. At night this prim Christian and imperialist read Horace in her tent under a kerosene lamp while huddled close outside was a naked destitute cannibal natives drawing warmth and comfort from her presence. Sunsets blazon fade and plays again in these great empty whiles and Dawn cetera diadem over them the light loitering winds carry delicate perfumes here they're in theater but all these planes that once echoed with song War Cry are now left to the birds and animals whose forebears witnessed the arrival of the humans and who themselves are now witnessing their departure. Night comes to us with shadows and
Misty their wings. What night life there is moves noiselessly and this is the time for Legend and tradition. The natives voices that tune themselves unconsciously to the hushed immensity around us and lower and lower their words are added until the story in between words and silence like a native Tracy Bates hunted rabbits and lizards for cannibal friends cut wood for their fires cook their meals and took them for walks. She buried their dead with their own hands. The first world war was nearly at an end when she made her first permanent camp at old air a lonely outpost not far from the Transcontinental Railway which passes from southern to Western Australia. The railway was the end of the native groups for hundreds of miles. They straggled down in tribes drawn by the abundance of food and the new fire drink. The railway settlements became centers of vice and prostitution. The natives lived off the whites and starved when they moved. My past
was to set them at ease and clothe them learn their names explain the whiteman's laws and tell them of the dangers and resources of this new age. Korea became a mecca for the bewildered natives and one thousand twenty Daisy Bates was asked to arrange a display of Aborigines at Oria in honor of the Prince of Wales who was to pass on the railway. It had been a tri summer camps where hungry and disgruntled as I went about my work for the city. I could hear the banging of boomerangs and clubs and loud chatter in the men's quarters. Then down through the sandhills came an angry mob of 80 armed men. I sat them by the fire ranging themselves according to their totems kangaroo bingo Eaglehawk and Molly. They took four fire sticks from my fire. A sign of blood relationship. I then addressed one of the leaders. But public King but on this country we don't want war footing here.
We want somebody who has said I have said what was right in our game away I take our water. This is our country. You'll say OK we're going to govern and tell them we don't want Michael Leahy what do you want for your key number. I think Goma Yes old whale. Will be the man of the great man who's 600 You know we're the men of ego a lot of the money here in this group for the government steal our country we do it right. Look Ali here Colleen are the young wife. He might be your true grandfather right back. The smile I hear he gives me give you when the young king comes he give you plenty of flour sugar
blankets tobacco but you want to keep my car then. Was she been Malaki. Do you read my wife. Are they not. Goodbye. You see a policeman take them away. You know nobody can be that his own water. He be all country. He looked after DA while. WHITE While Justice Gambale looked out for you. They trailed out over the sand hills and that night the camps were quiet. When the Prince of Wales passed by there was nobody to give him a more heartfelt welcome than the cannibal rebels.
But for an 8 years grow year after year little or no rain fell upon the parched earth the mighty plain was but a shadow of the pale empty skies native foods vanished and root and bury all the rain songs were in vain. I have often watched the heavy curtains of rain falling from a cloud or somewhere in the heart of the plane and many a heavy and coming storm mill away in the wind like the steam of a railway engine. She had long ago sold her holdings and spent most of it on her children in a drought years the last crumbs of her private fortune were blown away in the burning wins where nothing remained. She lived on a starvation diet feeding her blacks with money gained from newspaper articles written in the 100 20 degree temperature of a tent in sixteen tireless years old. She left her charges infrequently
to lecture to Learned Societies to publish some of her unique knowledge to do what she could to stir the lethargic conscience of the whites. If I had another fortune to spin I should not build a hospital but would extend my services keeping my people in their own environment as I myself would shrink from illness under a tree surrounded by dogs and unwashed humans. So does the wild need to have supper in the white men's beds and discipline my system was primitive but so were my patients. All was not over yet. She gave her cases of documents and records to the archives and incomparable treasure of native lore. And at the age of 76 returned to make a new camp in South Australia. She could not live without her blood brothers in 1045 her sight began to fail however and forced her to Adelaide. The last years were spent in private hospitals waiting for the end. She was sick and lonely away from her Aborigines. In
1951 at the age of 92 Dame Daisy Bates the great protector slipped gently away in her sleep. She had spent over forty years living at one with the Aborigines. She had never failed them. And as on the lonely plains on the low hills through the spinifex bushes through the forests of the north so the limestone caves of the South the news of her death was carried from tribe to tribe. A cry of desolation arose. The sickle moon rose in the moon's shadow so slowly he grows and he is there at the place of the evening star. But Bali does not see the old moon die. She is gone to a far away camp. Listen she goes along the road.
She will never see the old moon died to grow new again to rise up out of the sea. The. News. Speaking to you from Auckland New Zealand here is the planner and writer of the series Professor John Reed with a few closing words. The process of understanding the native Australian has not ended in the footsteps
of Daisy Bates anthropologists have come to terms with their customs and helped them to make themselves full citizens of Australia while still Aboriginal in many ways the natives are becoming full and responsible members of the Australian Commonwealth. Out of their own treasures they are beginning to enrich Australia and so will the other native races of the Pacific. There was a period of stress struggle misery and misunderstanding as two widely differing cultures clashed as the vices of each race overshadowed their virtues. There are still problems still clashes but in a new equilibrium. Brown races black races and white races move onwards in the Pacific towards the goal of an integrated society in which the insight gentleness and vision of the natives will provide its special leaven in the new Common weale. And when this is accomplished Daisy Bates will be remembered as one of its prime occupant. It's.
With. Those who think portraying radio sketches of men and women whose lives illustrate times and places south of the equator in the Pacific Ocean these programs are produced by radio station WAGA of the University of Wisconsin under a grant from the Educational Television and Radio Center. PROFESSOR JOHN REED of Auckland University Auckland New Zealand is the writer and planner of the series the Aboriginal songs and the facts were from the Columbia world library of folk and primitive music orchestral music by Don vaguely. Production by Carl Schmidt. These programs are distributed by the National Association of educational broadcasters. This is the
- Pacific portraits
- Dame Daisy Bates
- Producing Organization
- University of Wisconsin
- WHA (Radio station : Madison, Wis.)
- Contributing Organization
- University of Maryland (College Park, Maryland)
- AAPB ID
- Episode Description
- The relationship between whites and native races in the area.
- Other Description
- This series explores various aspects of the Pacific region through dramatization, narration, commentary and music.
- Broadcast Date
- Social Issues
- Media type
Producing Organization: University of Wisconsin
Producing Organization: WHA (Radio station : Madison, Wis.)
Production Manager: Schmidt, Karl
Subject: Bates, Daisy
Writer: Reid, J. C. (John Cowie), 1916-1972
- AAPB Contributor Holdings
University of Maryland
Identifier: 58-41-10 (National Association of Educational Broadcasters)
Format: 1/4 inch audio tape
If you have a copy of this asset and would like us to add it to our catalog, please contact us.
- Chicago: “Pacific portraits; Dame Daisy Bates,” 1965-05-14, University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed August 17, 2022, http://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip-500-639k7b7n.
- MLA: “Pacific portraits; Dame Daisy Bates.” 1965-05-14. University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. August 17, 2022. <http://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip-500-639k7b7n>.
- APA: Pacific portraits; Dame Daisy Bates. Boston, MA: University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from http://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip-500-639k7b7n