… but I won’t be there for it!
Was invited to a free lunch tomorrow at The Tattersall’s Club in Brisbane for the presentation of this year’s “Excellence in Rural Journalism Awards” … but sadly can’t take it up.
Seems my image of young indigenous girl “Mowisha from Jumbun” has been selected as the Winner of the ‘Excellence in Rural Photography – People’ award. The pic was made whilst I was working in the Jumbun aboriginal community in the Murray River valley near Tully, North Queensland for an SBS story “The Town at the End of the Road” by Mark White.
Jumbun residents, like little Mowisha, are predominantly from the Girrimay and Dyirbal Aboriginal clans. Her community of about a hundred are battling the controlling Indigenous Land Council to resurrect a farming industry. The 200ha Jumbun property is still listed on the ILC’s books as Jumbun Farm, despite nothing currently being grown there by its residents. That wasn’t always the case. Jumbun was founded in 1975 as a farming community under the Whitlam government, By the 1980s it was growing produce including bananas, pumpkins and zucchinis and exporting to Sydney and Melbourne. However, changes in farming practices, crop blight and cyclones meant the industry dried up.
Residents are desperate to revive the community’s fortunes but have received no support from the ILC to help them restart farming produce and running cattle. The community needs to produce to stave off the prospect of disappearing completely. For little Mowisha Jumbun is her home, history and possible employment … but without farming the future of her community is, indeed, bleak.
This was the first time that I’ve won anything whilst working for SBS … but hopefully not the last. Gratifyingly, this is the third year in a row that I’ve been named the ‘People’ category winner (here … are this year 2018, 2017, 2016). Don’t know if I can keep that one up …!
Below – the Winning “Mowisha from Jumbun’ image – © Brian Cassey