An Elder’s Passing

An Elder’s Passing by Jonathan Hill

The library of this land
resides within your mind
a tapestry of knowledge
spanning from the dawn of time.

I ponder all the secrets
you've taken to the grave
the stories and the songlines
of how this land was made.

The location of sacred places
including ceremonial sites
traditional bush remedies
and endless bush tucker delights.

To convey these ancient truths
many languages you used
but with your death they're diluted
with one less teacher for the youths.

I reflect on the cultures crushed
in the creation of this nation
and wonder how many Australians
know the extend of devastation.

Only one source of solace
soothes the growing grief
as you descend into the Dreaming
you are finally at peace. [1]

Explore this poem

  • What is ‘the library of this land’?
  • Which means did Aboriginal people have to record their history?
  • What are the consequences of their situation?


View article sources (3)

[1] Koori Mail 473 p.23

Please note that Jonathan is not Aboriginal to Australia, but has Indigenous ancestry from the Southern Philippines - the Mandaya and Kalagan Tribes located near Davao.

Cite this article

An appropriate citation for this document is:,
Aboriginal culture - Arts - An Elder’s Passing, retrieved 22 November 2017