Graham Clarke + Mungo Man’s Return

There’s nothing like the feeling of being invited out to country by a traditional Aboriginal leader and custodian.  My family and I enjoyed this honor as we drove the 11 hours from Sydney to a small community on the Darling River, near Wentworth and Mildura.  We were driving out to see our friend Graham Clarke and his sister Leone.

On the banks of the Murray River, south of Mildura
Mulberries for days!

Graham has owned and operated Harry Nanya Tours for 30 years.  He’s the traditional custodian of Lake Mungo and is a proud Barkindji man who carries his storylines, songlines and dreamtime through his mother and father’s bloodlines.  He and his siblings are  traditional Barkindji.


Graham and I have had a documentary project brewing and this was a great time to fire up the camera and see what would transpire.

Reviewing our footage of the NSW Minister for the Environment, Gabrielle Upton as she squirmed and refused to answer Graham’s questions about corruption in the ranks of her department.  You’ve never seen someone disappear so quick!  Incredible.  Especially on a day of “healing” at the return of Mungo Man’s bones.  No answers for these citizens.

We were invited to the ceremonial return of Mungo Man and over 100 other skeletal ancestral remains on Friday 17 November.  This was fascinating.  We stood on a ridge line above Lake Mungo as the long black hearse with the Aboriginal flag on the doors and a license plate that read MUNGO1 slowly drove into position, holding the remains of these ancient people.

Forty years they’ve been held by scientists.  Locked away in boxes and drawers to be studied.  This was the day they finally came back to their people and their lands.

Mungo Man
Steve Fitzpatrick, Indigenous Affairs Editor, The Australian

Then Graham goes and makes the cover of the Weekend Australian newspaper! Love it!

Front cover of the Weekend Australian – 18 November 2017
Standing in the back with Graham and family


Photo from @sydneymorningherald.  They captured an Alaskan crouching in double denim up in the top right corner 🙂
It was a long drive back.  So worth it.

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