Monday, August 16, 2010

The Making of Modern Australia

I've been hooked on Joey's Song by Bill Haley & His Comets since seeing the first episode of the six-part documentary series The Making of Modern Australia.

The first episode is entitled The Australian Child and case studies are presented to explore a range of experiences of childhood in Australia since WWII. Donna, an Aboriginal child, was taken from her family and rural mission, and her recollections were heartbreakingly evocative. One was the memory of her family community relaxing after supper listening to her uncle play Joey's Song, her favourite. Later, as she stepped into her adoptive mother's home for the first time, the song was playing on the radio.

It's provoking to consider the spirit and significance of music to culture and identity. Joey's Song now evokes in me Donna's poignant experience of childhood.

I wonder about the Australian childhoods that are being formed today, and the music connected to them. What stories will tell themselves in another fifty years? How will we understand what we are doing and what is happening to children now?

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