Áine, why did you move to Mullumbimby and why do you now find this place home?
On my first tour through the northern rivers I felt a deep sense of place and respect for the land in this area that I hadn’t felt in many other parts of Australia. The diversity of the area, the activism of the community to protect everything that is special about this area, and the forward thinking of so many in this area are even reflected in the everyday conversations in coffee shops.
That sense of connection to land is something I had really missed when I moved from Ireland. The land and culture of my home in the Burren in County Clare is so very much part of my identity and being welcomed into a community where the traditional landowners are respected and where the traditional landowners also welcome newcomers to make this place home was something I was drawn to. Australia made more sense when I moved here.
I just released a song on this very thought called In This House. The song was partly inspired by a conversation I had with my dear friend and Arakwal custodian, Delta Kay, where we discussed the deeper layers of a Welcome to Country. The conversation touched me deeply me as another woman from a country that suffered so much at the hands of colonialism. I don’t even feel like the song is mine. It feels like it came through me as a message from my ancestors and hers, which is why I asked Delta and The Bunyarra Dancers to dance in the video for the song. The song wrote itself likening a Welcome to Country to a knocking on a door, a waiting for an invitation into someone’s house. The video evolved in the same way and naturally just became this ceremony where we created a beautiful piece of art from different colour dirts from the northern rivers. Other parts of Australia I have lived in never felt like a knock was acknowledged, the land not celebrated, whereas in the northern rivers community it feels like a community that would knock first and that is a community I want to raise my children in.