Australian opal necklace.

This beautiful Australian opal is close to 20 carats. Yes, that big. The stone necklace was hand designed and handmade by me and was one of the prizes raffled at the annual fundraising luncheon for the Jessie Street  National Women’s Library at the NSW Parliament House. This is probably the 4th year that I have been designing and making a prize.

The guest speaker this year is Deborah Cheetham AO, a Yorta Yorta woman.

Opera singer, composer, and educator.

Deborah has been a leader and pioneer in the Australian arts landscape for more than 25 years. Her talk was titled: Woven song, the journey from knowing to understanding.

A moving, strong and clear vision of her heritage is (growing up she was unaware she was part of the stolen generation) how she connects and how through the arts we can understand the heritage of this land. Debra has composed the first Indigenous requiem.

"What I'm trying to move us towards in Australia is understanding," Cheetham says of the work. "The very best way to do that is through music, and to have non-Indigenous people sing this work is the best way I can think of to help Australia not only know the history but understand it. Music conveys truth better than any other means, because it taps into something much deeper, beyond analysis.

Today, I realized that I have understood my Greek heritage because my parents have told countless stories of my heritage through, song, food, and music so that I know them enough to understand who and what is the core of our family and the history attached to each.

To understand my Australian heritage I must know more about the indigenous stories that Deborah Cheetham and other artisans are telling through the arts. In experiencing these stories I can know my heritage and understand who I am.

It really was a moving speech. We must change how we tell the stories of our beautiful country, painful or not, we have to know them all.

Jessie Street National Women’s Library is a unique specialist library dedicated to the preservation of Australian women’s work, words, and history. 
The Library’s charter is to collect, preserve and promote knowledge and understanding of the cultural heritage of all women; social justice for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples; international friendship and peace.

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