Life at The Bluff
Life at The Bluff, Film
Vincent Lamberti, 2013
Not to be reproduced without the permission of the copyright holder.Copyright
Lakes Entrance Aboriginal Health Association
Aboriginal Elder Betty Hood Bryant shares her story of being forced to move off the Lake Tyers Mission and her families survival in a bush camp at the Red Bluff.
-We go down to the mission until we had to move from there. My grandparents moved first, and I couldn't understand why they had to move. But I found out later on that because they had fair children. The dark ones in the mission, that was their plan. And the half casts in the middle, like us, and the whites in town, they all lived all three separate lives.
We just lived a happy-go-lucky life in the bush out there. where we was at the Bluff. And never had a single worry in our lives, 'cause we was free from the mission. And we survived there by my grandfather used to make boomerangs, and my dad to take into Lake Entrance to sell for food for us. We knew they'd get money for it to bring in food for our kids.
So we was all happy with what they brought home-- loaves of bread, couple of shillings worth of meat-- just to make a pot of soup for us, feed us all. And plan to make damper for us to eat. We use quite contented with that, and we were so happy.
And we just went on a daily little bush walks and, you know, followed Grandpa around digging water holes to keep us clean. Yeah, we had water to wash with and water to wash our clothes with. And we was happy that we found a spring. Then we'd go on to another place and find another spring. So we had plenty of water to puddle enough that we got muddy and we was playing around in it. So that's how we survived in the bush up here at the Bluff.
Sometimes we ate porcupine-- which I never ate, but I knew that my uncle cooked it in a kerosene tin. Oh, it really juicy and yummy. Sometimes I'd come home with rabbits from other properties around the Bluff, and we would have rabbit stew for a change.
My grandpa had a old tootie-tootie, a little truck. And we used to push it up and down, up and down 'til we got her started. Could drove the little [INAUDIBLE] down up the road for a burn and back to the Bluff. And I don't what happened to it, but I think it's still up in the bush here. I'm sure because it never went anywhere else. And that was our fun. We got nothing. My dad used to drive it halfway into Lakes and hide it in the bush to get back home. [CHUCKLES]
Some white fellows seen me and my auntie in town and said, oh, what a nice-looking girls these are. We did like, would you like me to take for a holiday? Went for a holiday with them, and they wanted to keep us. But me and my auntie, we went and stayed with 'em. We thought it just a holiday. This is good. We're going to stay with some white people.
When we got there, they was keeping us. And we said, we're not going to stay with these [INAUDIBLE]. We want to go home. So I said, how're we going to do this? Said, we'll go to church and we'll talk about it. We'll get to the toilet. What are we going to do? We're going to run away? We wasn't-- Didn't know where we were going to run to anyway.
So we said, we'll talk to them. Tell 'em we want to go back home. Said, we want to go back home to the Bluff to Nan and Pop. So around midnight, we going home. Chucked our [INAUDIBLE] off-- that was their white way, chucking their [INAUDIBLE]. No, we're going home. They keep saying, we'll take you home. They wouldn't 'cause they knew we were going to stay home.
We weren't going to stay with white people. We wanted to go home to our own people.