Back to Nature: Sept 7

This week Aaron & Holly visit NE Tasmania, exploring kinship on the stunning Bay of Fires coast.

This week on Back to Nature Aaron Pedersen and Holly Ringland visit Northeast Tasmania, tebrakunna country, exploring kinship on the stunning Bay of Fires coast.

Inland they visit the lush Blue Tier Forest and are introduced to ancestors.

At the Bay of Fires, the intense orange lichen is a marriage of fungi and algae: the fungi provide structure, and the algae photosynthesises food. Together they flourish. Aaron and Holly venture onto sea country to St Helen’s Island to encounter the area’s last remaining seal colony, contemplating our bond with these curious creatures.

The Bay of Fires was given its English name in March 1773 by Tobias Furneaux. It wasn’t because of the vivid orange lichen, but the many campfires along its beaches and headlands.

First Nations people have lived here for at least 42,000 years. Aaron and Holly meet academic and trawlwulwuy woman Emma Lee. She tells them women are of the sea, men are of the land, and everyone is from the night sky. For the trawlwulwuy there’s no notion of humans as separate from anything else in nature: everything is connected by the thread of kinship.

Venturing inland to the forests of The Blue Tier, Aaron and Holly discover rock carvings which elders believe were once part of ceremony. They visit an old tin mining tunnel, where Chinese migrants lived and worked. In the forest they encounter an enormous Swamp Gum that’s believed to be the widest tree in Australia. Holly pens a message to this gentle giant.

Near Anson’s Bay in the Black Peppermint Gum Forest, we meet Jamie Graham-Blair, a trawlwoolway pakana and science student. He tells Aaron and Holly that the trees are his ancestors, his kin. He leads us to a Gathering Site, an enormous hill composed entirely of seafood shells, where his ancestors met for at least 10,000 years. Together they imagine the gatherings here.

8pm Tuesday on ABC.

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