Eumeralla, a war requiem for peace by Deborah Cheetham
On-counrty world premiere Sunday October 14, Port Fairy Festival
About the Eumeralla war
There is no memorial to the Eumeralla War. No Australian Prime Minister has ever visited the battleground. The history of battles fought over a period of 23 years have drawn a deafening silence in the 170 years since the last shots rang out. While the Gunditjmara people have language and ceremony to honour their fallen heroes those on the other side of the conflict have no language to describe their ancestors fate. Unlike other conflicts in which Australians have fought and died no peace was ever declared in the Eumeralla War. In providing the opportunity for a largely non-Indigenous choir to learn a major choral work entirely in the ancient language of the Gunditjmara people, Eumeralla will create a powerful way to engage and enlighten those unfamiliar with the history of the resistance wars. Unlike other Australian war heroes, those who died in the resistance wars are not acknowledged in contemporary Australian society. This work will recognise the lives lost on both sides of the fighting and allow peace to be declared. In the long term, the work will become a resource for language preservation, historical data and education. It will become a vehicle for other musical organisations to present a work that engages with Australia’s Indigenous history, exposing the wider Australian community to our shared history by expressing Indigenous culture in a meaningful and powerful way. The traditional languages of the continent are the key to understanding our connection to this land in 21st century Australia.