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Painting and Story by Garry Purchase.
Every Sunday my family would gather at my Grandmothers house in La Perouse. All the Aunties and Uncles would be there and a lot of my cousins too. She lived right across the road from the mission on Elaroo Ave. The adults would spend the day talking and relaxing and all of us kids would run wild together all over the suburb. We'd play footy (Rugby League) on the mission. Good, hard footy too. We'd try to put on big hits and smash each other. Any arguments would be settled there and then, the way boys do... with a few punches. We'd be sweet after that, like nothing even happened.
Whenever it was too hot to play footy, we head down to the beach which was literally at the end of the street. We'd climb out on to the end of the break wall and try to catch baby crabs or anything else that was lurking there. It was a great time, we'd swim all day and buy some hot chips to share with each other from Yarra Bay Sailing Club when we got hungry.
It didn't dawn on me until a few years ago when I had my kids on the beach there what the significance of it all was.
As I was looking at my kids running around on the sand, it brought back my own childhood memories of doing the same thing, but then the penny dropped.
I realised that my kids were walking in the same footsteps that I did, my mother before me and our ancestors have walked for thousands of years on that same beach on the shores of Botany Bay. It made me feel very humbled and happy that I could continue it. It was important for me to tell them that too. It was a really, really strong connection to country. I felt it, and it's something that'll stay with me forever.
© Garry Purchase 2017