Posted by: Colleen Ens | February 20, 2010

And it RAINED….

And it rained…

From my vantage point safe within the walls of the Faculty of Education, I watch as clouds plummeted into a deepening blue, attended by a more menacing green churning from the south to the north – a foreign concept to an observer from the Northern Hemisphere.

As it was ‘Market Day’ on campus all the services presented within various booths along the way created a carnival atmosphere to the accompaniment of a gifted duo playing a brilliant guitar in the sultry breeze with its mounting closeness.

Since my departure from Fiji, I have been drawn to the symbol of the turtle, representing ‘oneness’ or as the French suggest – Je suis bien dans ma peau – literally- I am good with the skin I’m in.

At this early juncture, I have had the pleasure of acquainting myself with the notion of the  impact of grasping a new concept and seeing it crystallized through exhaustive research. No matter what the timing, embracing this with a beginner’s mind pulls my tenuous hold on today’s truth in a different direction:  To go with the flow – as if I had my sights channeled through a kaleidoscope, blending in a facet of my joy at a time of discovery for my new ‘uni’ life.   

Next on the agenda is to set aside a golden hour absorbing the indigenous culture on campus. The site of the university campus is situated on indigenous (previously termed aboriginal) land. 

 The scene opened on ‘Henry Neill’ – of the Murri ‘mob’. The setting is ‘dream time’ with insights into one of the stories that shaped the ancient history of this wonderful land through the local legend of the Rainbow Serpent. See photos included here of the ‘mob’ and our chance to ‘shine’ in volunteering to take part in the recreation of the myth for the benefit of the international students.  Henry requested volunteers. Might you guess who it was who stepped up to join in?

Reference below taken from:

According to Australian Aboriginal culture, all living things were created by ancient spirit ancestors. These stories of creation are known as the Dreamtime, or Dreaming.

Dreamtime according to the Aborigines, describes the creation of the earth and how all living things were created. It is said that in the Dreamtime (the beginning), ancestral spirits inhabited the earth. As the spirits travelled over the country, their movements created the mountains, rivers, animals and plants.

Today the Dreaming is still seen by the Aborigines as a living force that comes from the land to which they belong. Different communities or individuals may have differing Dreaming, which is instrumental in maintaining the structure of Aboriginal society, governing its people’s behavior.

Aboriginal paintings dating back more than 6000 years depict numerous Dreamtime stories about the creation of sacred places, people and the many aboriginal languages. One of the most well known is the story of the Rainbow Serpent.

The Rainbow Serpent

The Rainbow Serpent (Ngalmudj) was an enormous snake who created rivers, creeks and lagoons as it moved across the country. It protected the land and its people, but it could also wreak revenge if it was disrespected, symbolic of both the creative power and destructive abilities of nature.

The Rainbow Serpent features in many Dreaming stories, but it is always associated with water – the rivers, creeks, lakes and billabongs. One of the most common interpretations of this story tells when the world was bare and cold, the Rainbow Serpent slept under the earth with all the animals in its belly. When it was time to give birth, the Rainbow Serpent rose from underground, calling to the animals to awake from their sleep. As she rose up, the land was pushed into mountains and hills, causing rivers and lakes to form. It forced itself through rocks, creating valleys and water holes.

Read more at Suite101: Aboriginal Culture and the Dreamtime: The Beginning of Creation

The Rainbow Serpent is believed to bring the monsoonal wet season to the northern parts of Australia each year – the beginning of the breeding season for all forms of life in the area, and creating a rainbow across the sky. The Rainbow Serpent also has the ability to punish those who do not follow Aboriginal law by drowning them in great floods.

The spirits of Dreamtime never die, but manifest into mountains, rocks, or other forms of nature. This is one reason why Aboriginals today hold many places sacred. The Rainbow Serpent is said to live under a waterfall in Kakadu (Gagudju) in the Northern Territory.

Today, Aborigines express the Dreamtime through storytelling, paintings and dancing – maintaining their rich cultural heritage by passing their knowledge and values onto the younger generations.

Read more at Suite101: Aboriginal Culture and the Dreamtime: The Beginning of Creation (link here) Maroochy River/ Coloured sand and Glass mountain.


As life takes a more familiar routine there seems to be a revelation on a daily basis – by the way, that rain – 48 hours later continued to ‘soggily’ plod on….

It actually did stop raining on Friday Feb 19th,  the day of a student bus tour to cover a Friday (Feb 19) tour where we visited Mary Cairncross Park, Maleny and Kondalilla Falls.

The finishing touches of a hectic week were incredibly balanced in making a connection with a lovely lady from ‘Dicky Beach’ by the name of Jennifer Purse. She is a high achiever, recognized through a group at the Uni called ‘The Golden Key’ and currently studying for her Bachelor of Communications at The Sunshine Coast University. Jenn is on her way with a plan to team up with a publishing house in Melbourne when she graduates in a year’s time. She takes pleasure in the benefit of a very enjoyable and adventurous life. 

As we headed into the ‘Hinterland’ our morning stroll turned graduated into an invigorating hike as we traversed the 80 metres down some slightly slippery steps and were fully in awe of the unique trees such as the Strangler Fig, known best for its murderous intent with a method of growing around a host tree and taking on the nutrients of its host, killing it off in the process of reaching above the canopy to bask in an eternal sun. Kondalilla Falls was tremendous.

Our lunch stop was in Maleny which is a very ‘alternative’ town including a food cooperative and workshops on economizing on energy consumption which thrives on its collective consciousness. The citizens of Melany have their own banking system for local access and a focus on ethical investments – some barter their expertise with others through a currency of nothing more than a locally grown nut called the Bunya nut.

We passed through Monteville, which had a flavour reminiscent of Niagara-on-the-Lake a la sheep herder. Finally our afternoon adventure brought us to the Mary CairnCross nature preserve with a view of the Glass House Mountain. I was reminded of the feelings I had during family trips to the beach when as a child, the day ended far too soon. On the route back to the Uni we agreed that a return trip was in order and set a plan to return in March.

So the first week, affectionately called ‘O’ Week, has come to a close. Next week we get to the heart of the matter commencing with Education 101. It really has been an eye opener through learning to benefit from new approaches to note taking and effective essay writing. You may guess who put off the ‘time management’ piece, ah, I’ll get to it.

No worries!



  1. Thanks for taking the time to write these wonderful pieces. They allow me to live your dream with you, vicariously.
    Looks like you are immersing yourself in the richness of the culture. Kudos to you, girl! Go after this with all the gusto you approach anything else in your life with.
    Thank you Ms. C for releasing Colleen to live this adventure!

  2. Hi Colleen! It sounds like you are very much enjoying your adventure. I had no doubts, that with you outgoing and freindly personality, that you would feel at home immediately. I am so proud of you for taking this leap and going after your dreams with such vigor. I love reading your posts and look forward to seeing them pop into my inbox. Take care of yourself and best of luck in your studies. Big hugs to you!!! Kim

    • Thanks for your support Kim,

      I may have to find time to tell you about my next journey – running a 5 k in Brisbane with ‘Chicks in Pink’ – fund raiser Sunday March 7th.

      Take care


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: