Ace Bourke with Christian, 1972

BIRTHDAY: It is now 50 years since Christian was born in a zoo in Ilfracombe, Devon in the UK on 12 August 1969!!!!
I appreciate so many of you still being interested in Christian’s story, and there seems to be renewed interest in him again at the moment.

I have never been able to accurately articulate or understand exactly why Christian’s story has had such an appeal…for so long. Oprah Winfrey asked me this when we appeared on her program, and I went on and on! There are quite a few factors. He was gorgeous, lovable, charismatic and photogenic. He loved us and demonstrated that a human-animal relationship like this was possible. He had a friendly and outgoing nature, unlike his sister who was with him in Harrods Department Store in London where we first saw him. He drove his own destiny – he charmed his way to the department store and charmed us, and then later Bill Travers, Virginia McKenna and George Adamson of Born Free fame. He was “rescued” from captivity and, miraculously, taken to Kenya where he was set free and lived a natural life, for a few years at the very least. He was “rehabilitated” by the wonderful George Adamson who created a pride around him. His story reminds us of a time when life was a little more natural and unregulated, and adventures like this were possible. Not that I am recommending anyone do it now! We were extremely fortunate.

His continuing popularity is also due to the fact that his life was so well documented: in two initial documentaries; a later one, plus featuring in various others; several books; and Derek Cattani’s photographs. The available footage led to our reunion with him in Africa becoming an internet phenomenon. Watch it again here.

We have actually had very little criticism for our actions, although with the unpleasant practice of Canned Hunting in Africa – the petting, handling and patting of cubs in particular is definitely not to be encouraged. Some say the ease of Christian’s rehabilitation supports the argument – from the hunting lobby – that the catastrophic decline in numbers can be reversed, by “rewilding”, the way Christian was in Africa. But there are several major factors responsible for the decline, especially over-population and diminishing habitats.

NEW BOOK ON CHRISTIAN: If I had had the opportunity, I would have added some of the above comments, and some analytical and reflective depth to the recent book Christian the Lion: The Illustrated Legacy by John Rendall and Christian’s photographer, Derek Cattani. There are some previously unpublished photographs of Christian which gave me the most pleasure.

Having received so many often fascinating and moving emails over the years, I think your own experiences with animals, your endeavours on their behalf, and feelings about Christian, are also part of Christian’s “legacy”. Many of them are recorded in my earlier blogs and on our website alioncalledchristian.com.au, although I must apologise for not keeping it as up to date as I should.

WORKING FOR ANIMALS: Christine Townend, her husband Jeremy and hard-working vets and staff run 2 animal shelters in Darjeeling and Kalimpong in India. She has been my mentor in the fields of animal welfare, animal rights and conservation. I have often blogged about her – and I am on the Committee of Working For Animals. The shelters primarily cater for dogs and cats, and the programs she has initiated with dogs have eliminated rabies from the communities, although this is ongoing.

Christine is revered for her work in India, and this year she received an Order of Australia Medal for “service to animal welfare”. She of course modestly commented “I’m glad animals have been acknowledged”.

INDIA: I have been invited to speak at many conferences relating to animal rights and welfare, but I especially like going to India. I have met the most wonderful people from all over the world, often academic leaders in their fields. Christian has inspired many of them – some when they were young, so I feel they are also part of Christian’s legacy.

Tiger in Ranthambore National Park, 2016. Photograph by Ace Bourke.

TIGERS: India provided a highlight I will never forget: seeing tigers close up in the wild at Ranthambore, Rajasthan in 2016. Creating sanctuaries in national parks, making it a crime to kill them, and prosecuting poachers, has seen an increase in tiger numbers from 2226 in 2014, to 2967 in 2018. 80% of the world’s tigers live in India. I felt a little guilty becoming so enamoured of tigers, but I had, however, visited Indian lions in Gir, Gujarat previously, and blogged about them at the time.

We celebrated International Tiger Day on 29 July 2019, and World Lion Day on 10 August 2019.

HARRODS DOCUMENTARY: A few months ago friends alerted me to the fact that Christian was in the advertisements for the documentary Inside Harrods: The World’s Most Famous Department Store. Our story was given considerable time and I had no idea Christian was such an important part of the Harrods history. It is an uncomfortable feeling when you don’t have any say over the use of your shared story or image. Again, however, it was enjoyable to see good footage of Christian, and after watching, I decided that 50 years on, it is probably not a good idea to appear up against footage of oneself when one was young!

Disney’s The Lion King movie

MOVIE: The recently released The Lion King movie (Disney) is proving very successful – mixed reviews not-with-standing, taking $US185 million on the opening weekend in the USA. I have only seen the advertisements and the lions look beautiful. Sony own the rights to Christian’s story but seem to have no intention of ever making a film. Looking at the success of The Lion King, a film about Christian and the many aspects and lessons illustrated in his story, could also have been, and should have been, a part of his legacy.

AUSTRALIA: David Attenborough recently spoke before a British Parliamentary Committee on Climate Change – and singled out Australia and the USA for a lack of action. He said the deterioration of our Great Barrier Reef was a “vivid” example. Our conservative government was unexpectedly re-elected with virtually only one policy, “tax cuts”. We are still arguing if climate change is real and we have no energy policy and consequently unnecessarily high electricity costs. The contested Adani coal mine may still go ahead, and the International Monetary Fund recently estimated that global fossil fuel subsidies have grown to around $US5.2 trillion a year. According to Nature magazine recently, global temperatures rose faster in the final decades of the C20th than at any other time in the past 2000 years. Earlier temperature variations were influenced by volcanic activity, and human-caused climate change was now “overwhelming” natural variability.

ANIMALS: A recent UN Report states that a million species are at risk of extinction. These are rates that are unprecedented in human history and are caused by human expansion and the exploitation of habitats. Australia has the highest rate of mammal extinction in the world, and seemingly inadequate recovery plans. We have among the world’s worst deforestation record, and even one of our most iconic animals, the koala, is at risk.

New government legislation is more interested in prosecuting animal activists, than protecting animals or our environment.

I have tried to discuss and blog about these issues for years and despair at the lack of leadership or action. This is why I don’t really want to blog and comment these days, and I strongly object to the fact that scientists and experts are ignored, and creative, imaginative, innovative and progressive ideas are disparaged. The extremely dangerous President of the USA has succeeded with his lies in making it very hard to discern fact from fiction (over 10,000 false or misleading claims while in office so far), while Boris Johnson also has a reputation for lying.

BOOKS: I loved Boy Swallows Universe by Trent Dalton, a novel based on his tough childhood in the suburbs of Brisbane. I have now read everything by Helen Garner, one of Australia’s best writers. I was amused by Less by Andrew Sean Greer.

I am reading This Land Is Our Land: An Immigrants Manifesto by Suketu Mehta. This examines how colonial powers ruthlessly exploited the resources of various countries and their people, drew arbitrary boundaries, and particularly at the moment, have an undeserved “fear” of immigrants. When asked “Why are you here?” immigrants can justly respond, “We are here because you were there”.

I was very impressed with The Colonial Fantasy: Why White Australia Can’t Solve Black Problems by Sarah Maddison. It summarises our appalling mistreatment since 1778 of the Aboriginal population who have lived in Australia for at least 60,000 years. Again, “their dispossession underwrote the development of the nation” (a quote from the 1992 Mabo Judgement). Some of you kindly ask what I am working on, and this book has partly inspired me to write. The Aborigines have never been asked to advise on their own issues, and there is a current contested debate about Aborigines having an advisory Voice to Parliament. This was part of the Uluru Statement of the Heart by Aboriginal people in 2017 which offered an intelligent, reasonable and modest way forward towards “reconciliation”, although some argue reconciliation is for white people to feel better about themselves. The Statement was summarily dismissed by the government.

As many of you know I have been privileged to be a curator of Aboriginal art and have known or worked with some of the very best artists. I am also descended from several colonial Governors who impacted on Indigenous lives. I’m trying to write about my relationship with all of this, to clarify my feelings and thoughts for myself, and my efforts may be worth publishing one day.

PERSONAL: On a lighter note, my cat is wonderful although I still miss her brother who we lost several years ago, and I am looking forward to my first trip to Morocco. I hope you are having happy and fulfilling lives with your families, friends and animals, and let’s wish for some unexpected new leadership which will make our lives and the world a better and more sustainable place for the future.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY CHRISTIAN!

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Happy Birthday Christian!

August 12, 2011

Christian, January 1970. Photograph by Derek Cattani.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY CHRISTIAN!  Christian was born in a small zoo in Ilfracombe, Devon, U.K. on the 12th August 1969. For some mysterious reason so many years later his story is still capturing people’s hearts and imaginations, and I get even more mail about him now describing the effect he has had on people’s lives.  His extraordinary personality and loving nature remain so fresh in my mind.  Memories are kept alive and revitalised by the superb photographic record which so easily conveys to others Christian’s magic.

We have been asked what we think the revival of interest in Christian means.  In an interview, 0ff the top of my head, I said I thought it was “a cry for Africa”  from Christian – perhaps a cry from an animal world under threat, and a world facing great challenges through climate change, water shortages and shrinking animal habitats etc.  There are 70% fewer lions in Africa since Christian’s time and through him we have been given the chance to talk about frightening statistics like this – happening to species everywhere.

Looking back, Christian seemed to have been  marked for a special destiny and we were all just stepping stones along his journey – back to Africa and his freedom no less, after 5 generations of captivity in Europe.  He has become a symbol of human-animal relationships, an ambassador for conservation and animal welfare, and a heart-warming story at a time when there is great economic uncertainty and people need cheering up.  I don’t entirely understand all the psychological aspects of the phenomenon  – perhaps I’m too close to it, but primarily it is about the reciprocated love for some humans that Christian felt, demonstrated, and remembered.

Christian's favourite spot on the stairs. Photograph by Derek Cattani.

Many emails or comments on the blog mention that we “rescued” Christian, or how sad we must have been to leave him.  We joke he was an “impulse buy”, and for me it was part adventure and fun, part pushing one’s luck, part rescue.  We thought we could look after him as well as anyone else at his young age, and we did.  More naively, we thought we could secure his future as well as anyone.  Bill Travers and Virginia McKenna were certainly “rescuing” him, from London, from a possible life in a zoo, and probably from us!  We did come to realise how by buying Christian we were participating in and perpetuating the trade in exotic animals, which became illegal in the U.K. in 1976.

With Christian growing too big for us to physically handle, it was a miracle that the opportunity to return him to Africa, to George Adamson, occurred.  So while leaving him there – three times – was very upsetting, this was absolutely the best solution – him taking his chance at a natural life, although it was very dangerous for him.  We thought we would be continuing to visit George and Christian.  While it was indeed a great adventure, a joy and a privilege, it had also been a huge responsibility and a 100% commitment to ensure everyone’s well being and safety.

Christian and Ace at Dorking 1970. Photograph by Derek Cattani.

DEREK CATTANI:  One major reason why Christian is still so vivid in my mind, and why Christian is loved so widely, is in addition to the two documentaries made about him at the time, his life in England and return to Africa was so beautifully photographed by well known London photographer Derek Cattani.

The media was interested in Christian, but invariably a photograph of a yawn would appear like a snarl, and we were very fortunate to meet Derek Cattani in January 1970 who became Christian’s friend and photographer.  Derek has had the most illustrious career, including photographing the Queen, PMs and Presidents, Nureyev and Elizabeth Taylor, sporting stars and historical moments at Olympic Games.  He has said however, that by awakening his concern for animals Christian “changed my life”.

I asked Derek would he choose a favourite photograph of Christian for this birthday blog.  He responded that it was too difficult – he loves them all!  He described how he just gradually got to know and be trusted by Christian by quietly and patiently spending time with him.  He began when Christian was 5 months old.  I have enjoyed looking at the photographs through Derek and Christian’s eyes and the lovely relationship that developed.  Christian is often looking directly at him, and not just out of curiosity.  Indeed, he always seemed “ready for my close up Mr. de Mille”!

Derek wrote “Christian had the most penetrating eyes I have ever experienced either animal or human.  It was as if he was looking beyond a space in time, an adventure yet to unfold, we would make eye contact and he would at times focus through me, as if to be watching the next episode of his life in Africa, which we were all to experience later on that year.”  This is why I particularly like the photograph at the top of this blog. It shows Christian’s all seeing, all knowing, enigmatic and beautiful eyes. It is also one of the earliest photographs of him – at five months old he is just about to leave his baby cub days behind, and beginning to grow into his big ears and paws.

I have always loved the photograph of Christian sitting on the stairs at Sophistocat. This was his favourite spot and we could get on with our jobs nearly forgetting he was sitting there, watching everything.

I have included the (bottom) photograph of the garden at the Moravian Close because of so many great memories. He loved playing there every afternoon and was completely safe, so we could also relax and enjoy it. He looks boyish, with his soccer ball at the ready, if punctured.  The “hug” photograph at Dorking has only been seen rarely and is showing its age after being pinned to my mother’s kitchen wall for many years.

KIMBA THE WHITE LION:  I have finally watched some episodes and I love Kimba!  I didn’t watch Kimba when I was growing up in the 1960s when it was the first animated television series made in Japan in colour.  I suspect it was very innovative animation, and I love some of the influences, like Japanese wood blocks.  Unlike much contemporary animation, Kimba is just so nice and conciliatory, yet firm.  Christian too was like a prince and although the centre of attention, he was very cooperative and friendly.  Kimba and Christian were both very smart. They both wanted to live in peace, make friends, “doing good, doing right”.  There are some uncanny narrative and visual overlaps – their returns to Africa, Kimba with Roger, Christian with us, Kimba in Paris, Christian in London etc.

Craig Andersen’s Kimba website which now has a lot more information about Christian, is where Lisa Williams first found Christian’s footage, and she posted it on YouTube.  Later TadManly2 added the Whitney Houston backtrack and edit which contributed to sending it viral.

Craig wrote to me last year (Late Feb 2010 blog) and told me that the creator Osama Tezuka wrote the story in 1950 to explore the idea of animals and humans living as one society.

“Ever since I first read Christian’s story back in 1972 I felt Christian had an important place in the world, as an “ambassador” from the animal world to the human world.”  It seems that Christian was the personification of the bridge between the animal and human world that the Japanese creator had envisaged with Kimba.  And it was on Kimba’s website that Christian was rediscovered in 2006 which lead to Christian’s story being told to new generations.

NEW WEBSITE:  To celebrate Christian’s birthday we have developed a new and more comprehensive website www.alioncalledchristian.com.au.  There are many Derek Cattani photographs of Christian, Christian’s story, information on books, films and TV appearances, recent news updates and interviews etc.  We’d love you to leave any comments about Christian – or tell us your own animal stories! You are contributing to Christian’s story still unfolding by your interest and we thank you.

But most importantly today, Happy Birthday Christian!  There is no way we could ever forget you or stop loving you.

Christian in the garden at the Moravian Close 1970. Photograph by Derek Cattani.

April

April 23, 2010

NEXT WEEK: 2 FUNDRAISING AUCTIONS

27th April New York: this classic photograph of Christian by Derek Cattani has been invited to be in an auction to raise money for the Humane Society auction to raise money for an animal shelter and refuge.

“On Tuesday, April 27, 2010 from 6:00–9:00 pm the Humane Society of New York will be holding our Third Benefit Photography Auction at Diane von Furstenberg’s new gallery, DVF Studio, New York City.  Photographers, participating by invitation only, include Nick Brandt, Annie Leibovitz, Bruce Weber, Michael “Nick” Nichols, Gregory Colbert, Howard G. Buffett, Milton H. Greene, Mary Ellen Mark, Elliott Erwitt, Mikhail Baryshnikov, William Wegman and many more.  We have just discovered your amazing images of Christian the Lion and all of us at the Society were overwhelmed!  We would be truly honored if you would agree to donate one particular photo showing Christian lying on stairs in support of our work.” Humane Society of New York

Congratulations to Derek for deservedly being in such prestigious company, and good luck for the cause.

29th April Sydney: a reminder that the auction of artworks by leading Australian artists for voiceless is at the Sherman Galleries in Sydney.

AUSTRALIAN ANIMAL STUDIES GROUP

One of the many surprises of my re immersion in the world of animal and wildlife conservation over the last year, has been the fascinating and pioneering work being done at an academic level in relation to many issues relating to animals, their rights, the ethical perspectives on animals, and human/animal relations. I have mentioned that I spoke at the Minding Animals Conference in Newcastle last year. I was the light relief! I’ve just been reading the March 2010 eBulletin of the Australian Animal Studies Group, and it is very comprehensive and international. There are fascinating Conferences all over the world, mostly at Universities, on many different aspects of human/animal issues, and articles, profiles and book and documentary reviews. A website is underway. The many listed events include Global Animal: An Animal Studies Conference at the University of Wollongong 27-28 September 2010, and Animal Rights 2010 15th-19th July in Washington D.C. There is very useful information such as the World Animal Net – the world’s largest network of animal protection societies.

Marine life in Sydney Harbour – SMH environment
Photographs of marine animals in Sydney Harbour: Richard Vevers from underwatersydney.com.au

COAL

Sydney Harbour may be getting cleaner and healthier, but you would not want to live near a coal mine. Australia survived the GFC extremely well but this is primarily due to the demand for our minerals from China especially.  We have lots of uranium, iron ore and coal. Our governments at Federal and State and Local levels (yes we are overgoverned, and it is expensive), are hostage to this income, and while coal mining is having a ruinous effect on the health of residents in previously idyllic rural areas, the government is reluctant to acknowledge the possibilities or even fully investigate. In one area alone there are 30 dusty open cut mines surrounding residents, and in Gunnedah, another very fertile area of NSW that produces a lot of food, some unlikely conservative/landed gentry landowners are mounting a serious blockade and protest, while some neighbours sell their properties for huge sums. Last month the NSW Supreme Court found in favour of these farmers who were blocking BHP Billiton from exploration, and the NSW Government with their usual cavalier attitude to planning regulations, has just changed the legislation to favour the mining industry. Google Tim Duddy and the Caroona Coal Action Group.

Two new coal-fired power stations have also been announced in our state – just as there were coal mine disasters in both China and the US, and at a time when we should be backing away from coal, and other countries are recognising the economic opportunities offered by alternative and more sustainable energy sources. One estimate has these power stations increasing the State’s total emissions of carbon dioxide by 22.9 million tonnes each year – a 15.1% increase.

This does raise the questions of both our aging city infrastructures – run down in relatively prosperous times by most governments around the world, and population numbers. I think we have about 22 million people in Australia – mostly huddled around the coast and in a few big overstretched cities. There is a projection of 36 million people by 2050. These debates often turn racist here as it concerns immigration targets and asylum seekers, who have been arriving lately primarily from Sri Lanka and Iraq in not inconsiderable numbers. Unfortunately the Federal Opposition has been predictably shrill (there are votes in xenophobia and racism), and our government has caved in and introduced tougher and less humane restrictions on them, and made the asinine comment that it is now safe to go back to their countries of origin!

UPDATE ON CLIMATE CHANGE

Jonny Lewis’s Kiribati photographs highlighting rising sea levels is now on exhibition at the Wharf Gallery, Sydney Theatre Company, Hickson Road until the 21st of May.

Isn’t it hard deciphering the different opinion pieces about Climate Change, and whether Copenhagen was a success or a dismal failure. The skeptics are quieter, but worryingly so are the politicians ……. and the public are unaccountably less concerned than they were. But 114 countries have backed the Copenhagen Accord, 74 have submitted targets to cut or slow greenhouse gas emissions, and China and India volunteered to slow emissions. Our Prime Minister, after initial great enthusiasm for one of the great challenges of our times, failed to explain the complexities, and hasn’t uttered the word for months. I’m particularly offended by him at the moment anyway, after reading he had not attended an art event since becoming Prime Minister in 2007!

Unfortunately Australia is also dependent on uranium exports – we own 30% of the world’s resource. I just can’t embrace nuclear power, especially given the problem with waste disposal. A clan of Aboriginal people in the Northern Territory have been offered 12 million dollars for nuclear waste to be dumped on them. Fortunately neighbouring clans are opposing this, not wanting their land, shared Dreaming sites and water contaminated.

BIRTHS

A baby elephant presumed to be still born surprised everyone by surviving at Taronga Zoo, Sydney. It has been named Pathi Harn which is Thai for “miracle”. It was fascinating watching the mother and other elephants have total faith and patience in the zoo staff working to save the calf, and their loving, casual touching and entwining of their trunks with each other and the staff.

There is a new rhino calf at Taronga Western Plains Zoo in central NSW. Their press release said only 4,230 black rhinos survive in the wild, and since the 1990s the Zoo has produced 11 black rhino calves. Other recent births include four cheetah cubs, three giraffe calves and a Przewalski’s horse foal.

I’M CONCERNED ABOUT

The conditions of designer puppy farming which should be under a lot more scrutiny; Australian sheep wool may be boycotted internationally if mulesing continues (a cruel practice that does however prevent deadly flystrike); the on-going slaughter of elephants in countries like Tanzania because of the black market trade in ivory, as the growing Chinese middle class, especially, want to buy ivory trinkets such as chop sticks; the annual seal “harvesting” in Canada, which is always highly emotive – their blood on the snow, and does raise interesting and difficult questions of culling, traditional practices and all the other animals we eat quite happily, let alone industrial chicken meat production; cruel experiments on animals; a giant new dam in the Amazon and the trees being cut down in the far south coast of NSW, the habitat for the last little colony of koalas there. Don’t we humans ever learn?

SUSTAINABLE EATING

There were some excellent tips in the newspaper the other day for “sustainable eating”: buy local, buy seasonally, minimise packaging, choose unprocessed or unrefined foods, grow your own, eat less meat and consider organic. Easy! Also, think what we could do with all the water we just lose in the cities, and all the uneaten foods or scraps, especially fruit and vegetables, that could be used as compost. What is encouraging is that quite a lot of uneaten food is now distributed in a well organised way to the hungry.

CONGRATULATIONS

Legendary David Attenborough has reached the North Pole for the first time, at the age of 83. He is filming for a BBC nature series highlighting the effect of global warming on the earth’s extreme regions. Apparently the Arctic winter ice has recovered slightly, but long term loss is continuing.

FAVOURITE VIEWING

Beautiful People; Australian “psycho dog man’s” performance now on YouTube (I saw the original footage as I am uneasy about those Staffordshire dogs myself having had a “run in” last year with one; American Ambassador to Australia Jeff Bleich on Australian television – impressively bright and sophisticated  – after the neo cons we have been sent in the recent past.

Born Free - Joy Adamson

Last month was the 50th anniversary of the publication of Born Free first published in March 1960. I recently bought a copy (14th Impression) signed by Joy Adamson. I have never read it or seen the film, despite them being such huge hits at the time. Watch out for the upcoming documentary on Born Free, as Joy was a fascinating if difficult woman, and her work with George Adamson was so prescient, and I’m going to finally read Born Free…

Early March 2010

March 12, 2010

UK Paperback cover 2010

UK Paperback cover 2010 - due for release soon. Photo by Derek Cattani, Dorking, UK 1970

The paperback edition of our book A Lion Called Christian is about to be released in America, followed by Australian and UK editions (pictured), and I am going to Los Angeles for some interviews. A film on Christian’s life is in negotiation and I hope there is some news soon.I love this photograph on the cover. Someone contacted me last year and commented that I always seemed to be talking to Christian, and what was I saying? I replied that I was probably just saying what I have always said to my various cats: that I love them, they are beautiful, probably the most beautiful in the world etc – the sort of things cats love and expect to hear! I then watched our old footage more closely, and realised I was ALWAYS talking to Christian, especially on our return visits to Kenya in 1971 and 1972. This now big lion seemed to listen to me with great patience. I then monitored my own behavior at home more closely, and as I live alone except for my two cats, I realised I did give them a running commentary on my day, life etc, but I also had the manners to ask them how they were!   

A comprehensive catalogue of irresistible photographs by Christian’s “official” photographer Derek Cattani can be seen – and purchased – on www.christianthelionprints.com.  

Last year I was sent many photographs and stories of people’s pets, and I welcome them being sent to me and may post some of them on this blog – but please make sure they are good photographs, and the stories brief and original! 

I would also welcome any suggestions about causes or campaigns that I should be aware of or consider for support through this blog. For example, Voiceless is an independent non-profit think tank dedicated to alleviating the suffering of animals in Australia, and on 29 April there is an auction to raise money with artworks donated by many of Australia’s leading artists see www.voiceless.org.au/voa

Feeling Good 2009 oil on canvas, Daniel Boyd

Feeling Good 2009 oil on canvas, Daniel Boyd

Just opened in Sydney and on until 23 May is an exhibition Wilderness at the Art Gallery of NSW. The exhibition “is not about observed landscape, but about imagined regions, psychological landscapes, creatures both natural and unnatural, the importance that ideas of the ‘wild’ still play in our minds and lives, and how we inscribe nature with memory and meaning”. Daniel Boyd is one of my favourite artists. I have included previous work by him in exhibitions I have curated, and as an Aboriginal person he has questioned romantic notions of our foundational narratives (especially the arrival of Captain Cook in 1770), and Eurocentric perspectives.