Emily (14 years), TAS
Flinders Island is my home, and has been the home to many Aboriginal people for thousands of years. I am directly from the pair-a-beena people and Manalargenna and his people as well. The connection of me and Aboriginal culture and history is why I love where I live.
My story of my family’s connection to the last great Tasmanian chief, Manalargenna, is just one of them. I love living on Flinders Island because it is filled with so many amazing activities to do, no matter what your age is. Our community to me is one of the nicest communities to be in; if you need help they will help you. Flinders Island is just one of the 52 Islands in the Furneaux group. One of the traditions of the women from the pair-a-beena people is making shell necklaces. Shell necklace making is very close to my heart. Shell necklace making has been passed down from many of my Elders, which makes me proud to be an Aboriginal woman. My Aunty has passed on the tradition to me.
Some people misunderstand what shell necklace making really is. It is definitely not just something that you rush and definitely not just shells on string. It is a tradition that Aboriginal women wear and cherish. There are many patterns that have been passed down from my Elders and many different shells to remember. Some are black crows, maireeners, rice shells and gulls. Making shell necklaces takes time so you need to be patient and the end result is beautiful. On Flinders Island we do not have cinemas, malls and big activities, but we teenagers entertain ourselves. We have many things to do such as pony club, gun club, karate and much more. My big brother has recently left and gone away to school. When he went, I was gifted with some amazing shells.
My good decision was to start making shell necklaces and it has connected me to thousands of years of my history. This has made me feel that I belong and very happy that some day I will pass this tradition down to my family.