#441 Back To The Shore

Gus Fitzgerald, a surfer and swimmer and commercial diver, describes a life of lessons learnt from the man who taught him to swim. And Timmy Burarrwanga tells the history of pre-colonial contact between Makassarese of Indonesia and the Yolngu people of Arnhem land — a history rooted in sea cucumber.

This week, knowledge gained and bonds formed by the ocean.

‘In The Deep’ by Gus Fitzgerald

Many of life’s lessons Gus learnt in the sea. But his dad’s cancer diagnosis when Gus was only a small child meant a father-son relationship in the shadow of loss; one that would eventually teach Gus the most important lesson of all. How to stay afloat when you lose the people you love the most; how to survive in the deep.

Gus Fitzgerald. Photo by Justin Kennedy.

Gus told his story live in May 2018 at SPUN at Garrmalang Festival at Darwin Entertainment Centre.

You can subscribe to the SPUN Stories podcast, and find out more about the SPUN storytelling project by visiting spunstories.net. You can also look for Spun Stories on Facebook and Twitter.

If you need support after listening to this story, you can call Lifeline on 13 11 14 or the Suicide Call Back Service on 1300 659 467.

Storyteller: Gus Fitzgerald

Producer: Sam Carmody

‘Trepang’ by Bridget Chappell

Bridget Chappell interviews Yolngu cultural leader Timmy Burarrwanga of Yirrkala about his community’s connection to Makassan sailors from Sulawesi, Indonesia.

Producer: Bridget Chappell

Supervising producer: Mell Chun

Music: ‘Trepang: an Indigenous Opera’, ‘Gapala Bawaka’, songline sung by Timmy Burarrwanga.

All The Best credits:

Executive Producer: Ryan Pemberton

Victorian State Coordinator: Mell Chun

Host: Maddy Macquine

Episode mix and compile: Ryan Pemberton

Community Coordinators: Chloe Gillespie and Danni Stewart

SYN Community Coordinator: Lee Robinson

Social Media Producers: Matilda Fay and Angela Moran

Photo: The Mulka Project.