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Jewish Students Society
ANUJSS and the Nulla Nullas
The Nulla Nullas was a children's Club run at Wallaga Lake Aboriginal Reserve, south coast of NSW, during 1964-1966
There is a "sense of shared experiences between the Jewish community and Aborigines,
epitomised by the pioneering legal work of the late Ron Castan QC and Jewish
involvement in the key High Court land-rights cases of Mabo and Wik."
The first notable interaction between Jews and Aborigines occurred during the 1840\'s when Isaac Nathan, - known as \"the father of Australian music\"- began collecting Aboriginal music and recording their ceremonies and customs. The image is of Nathan\'s score for War-Goon-Da Min-Yah-Rah, a song of the Maneroo tribe.
Isaac Nathan\'s book, Southern Euphrosyne, published in both London & Sydney in 1849, is a compilation of aboriginal music, and of aboriginal customs and ceremonies. Includes a very strong statement by Nathan of the educational potential of aboriginal children.
Wallaga Lake is on the far south coast of New South Wales, just a few km north of Bermagui, and circa 110km from Twofold Bay (the whaling area near Eden). In 1891 the Wallaga Lake Aboriginal Reserve was established with a population of just 91 Yuin people.
The sixties were the era of the civil rights era in the USA. This prompted much concern in Australia as to the situation of our Frst Nation. In Sydney the SAFA bus tour was being organised in late 1965. Offered a place on the SAFA Freedom bus Harvey Cohen refused and instead lead ANUJSS in a non-political approach. His scheme was to run an aboriginal children's club to enrich the children's experience and provide then with links to middle class mentors.
About 1860, the large Solomon family commenced trading and farming in the Eden Monaro district. At Eden, the Solomons joined forces with a Mr Davidson, running a shore-based whaling station at Twofold Bay, employing mainly aboriginal workers in this demanding industry. The Solomon/Davidson whaling operation ceased about 1916.
One of several posters placed about campus to advertise the inaugural meeting of the ANU Jewish Students Society, on March 21. 1963. 14 attended - a large number for the ACT Jewish population of about 150 - but very small for a viable society.
The spiritual beliefs of aboriginal whalers were recognised by the Solomon Davidson management. The Yuin refused to kill whales and established a partnership with the orcas (or killer whales) in which the orca pack herded whales which were killed by Yuin whalers, who fed choice parts to the orcas.
Younger kids outside the meeting hall at Wallaga Lake. This building had been Wallaga Lake Aboriginal School until 1963, but children now attended Bermagui Public School, about 12 km away.
View at dusk of the ridge on which is Wallaga Lake Aboriginal Reserve Village. Galuga Mountain looms above, Wallaga Lake below.
Those coming down from Canberra to run the Nulla Nullas became aware of more general community needs. In January 1966 an appeal was made in the local Canberra newspaper for sewing machines for the women of Wallaga Lake; about twenty were donated carried by ANUJSS to Wallaga Lake. with 4 taken to an Aboriginal Reserve near Yass. Over subsequent years these served as basis for craft, until ultimately replaced by overlockers.