Tuesday, February 19, 2013
Bringing Bessie Flowers Home
Something special is happening on Sunday in Albany's St John church gardens ...
Welcome to the country of the Minang people. The homeland from where Bessie Flowers and five other girls left 146 years ago. They left not knowing how long they would be gone or if they would ever return. We at last welcome them home.
Uncle Ezzard Flowers.
Bessy Flower, or Bessie Flowers, she was a clever girl, spoke fluent French and once defeated the Victorian chess champion at his own game. She left Albany in 1867 for Gippsland, where she worked as a teacher, an amanuensis for her new Aboriginal community and as a domestic servant. Bessy always anticipated her return to Albany. She missed her home-country and wrote, 'never mind, I won't have very long to stay'.*
Bessie married in Gippsland and had eight children, two of whom died. She never returned to Albany. She died in 1895, aged 43. This Sunday her Koori descendants are coming from Victoria and Up North to congregate in the gardens of the Anglican church, the same church where Bessie once worked as an organist.
So if you are in town, join the local Noongar community for a moving ceremony of song, smoke and sand as they welcome home the spirit of Bessie Flowers.
1.50 pm, Sunday, 24th of Feb. St John's Anglican church lawns. After that we'll walk up to the town hall where Ezzard Flowers, the Aunties and Sharon Huebner from the Monash Indigenous Centre will be talking about Bessie's life and sharing some stories about their own.