Karla Hart

              Karla Hart

Well what can I say...

Wailing, timing and universal love

Della and I standing in front of the Mulan community sign.


Nana and the cutest kid Kelti


Nana Veronica or as everyone calls her 'Lulu'


It's been a while since I wrote and I have had a lot to write about, but I haven't had a moorditj  koort (strong heart).

I have had many loses this year and it's been young men in my family that have really rocked my family to its core.  

The last death only a few months ago was my dear loving nephew only 32 years old.  I grew up with him in Gnowangerup, on the same street and many times in the same house as he was raised by my Aunt and Uncle  (his nan and pop) who was my Mum's (my grandmother but also my mother) oldest daughter and son-in-law.  We were always around eachother and only four years apart.  As we grew up and left the town we were raised in and moved to different places we always had the love and the connection...and often right up until the week before, we fondly reminisced about how we were raised with our elders and how our childhood was so much fun...running around the town, hanging out in bush and practically living at the swimming pool when it was open in the summer.  I always looked to him as a little brother even though his mum is my cousin/sister,  but then as we got older he became like a protector to me and all of our family.  A strong man who would always stick up for anyone being wronged or disrespected.  I could go on and on talking about him but the simple fact is i loved him so dearly and to have him taken from us, the way he was and in the prime of his life is something I'm still in physical pain over.

Having been raised in the country around my elders, i remember the funerals.  

We as Aboriginal people hold attending funerals high in terms of respect for families, respect for our Aboriginal communities and our bloodlines.  

Many of our family are buried in the one little corner of the Gnowangerup cemetery and this little corner has become a place of heartache and healing over the years as we visit and take flowers and clean up around the graves of our loved ones.  

I remember how our people would cry, they would wail and wail.  I can hear them now thinking about it.  They would wail loudly and together and people would go out to it at times, with their grief.  As a kid when I was old enough to start paying my respect it was sometimes overwhelming.  And now it is something I am looking to do, to heal, to let it out and now I think i know, why we as a people need it.

With big families and so many cousin/brothers and sisters, aunties and uncles and nans and pops and the way we were all brought up together - we have the capacity to love so many and love we do...deeply.

I went to my nephews funeral, one that I never dreamed I would be standing at with the heaviness in my heart for the loss of him that I would never grow old with.  For the pain my old uncle who raised him, for my sister his mother, for his father, for his kids, for his brothers and sisters and for our family and his dads family.

I was numb with grief, exhausted and I cried with everyone...but I came away feeling like I never mourned properly.  I feel like I need to go back and scream, and wail for my nephew, wail for that great loss, wail till I can't stand anymore and let it all out, right there at his graveside.  I came home and found myself crying daily at different times, sometimes so bad i couldnt breathe, but then if someone came over or my son came home at a time like this, i'd cap it so i didnt alarm anyone or freak anyone out.  Sometimes i found myself getting to the point where my whole body and heart starts letting my grief take control but then i quickly become aware of where i am and that my neighbours might wonder whats going on and so on. 

WHY dont we wail together anymore at funerals?

WHY are we going away with it all built up, back to places where its not 'appropriate' to wail?

WHY isnt it common anymore?

IS IT that we are embarrassed because no one wails anymore and we don't want to stand out?  Think maybe, well if his mum or brother or sister not wailing then what gives me the right? Are we being too judgemental on ourselves and others?  Is it just not a 'civilised' thing?

"you heard how she was crying, anyone think it was her kid"

"choo why she wailing, just want attention"

"she like she was going out to it"

"she want everyone to think she loved him the most"       Is it any of these or can you tell me why?

I want to go and wail because we have had a great loss that will never be replaced.  Because a link to our family chain is gone, to our Gnowangerup roots, to our childhood, to our youth, to our elders...I want to wail because he deserved us to let our spirits know how much we are in pain at his loss on earth, i want to wail to let it out in the place where our sorry business should be.  Not at home alone back in the city or wherever we haved moved to, not when we hear a song on the radio whilst driving, not when we see something that reminds us of our loved one, even though we will still get sad I believe if our sorry business is done together how it used to be with our elders on our country then we are better able to deal with what comes our way after...I see the wisdom in the process of the old ways of sorry business, i see it now with my own healing process at the terrible losses that we have suffered this year.  I am longing, I am aching to go home and wail at the foot the graves of the people who helped make me who i am.  I feel it is my right and my responsibilty from my grandmother, my mother to cry proper way for the great losses to our blood. 

YESTERDAY i was blessed with love.  

I was in the very remote Mulan community in Western Australia.

Myself, Della Rae Morrison and Charley Caruso went for a walk in the morning to the art centre to see some of the ladies that came to see my play Fifty Shades of Black the night before.  We sat around and yarned with these ladies named Veronica (an elder), Noonie and Karen.  They were beautiful ladies sharing with us whilst we looked around at the beautiful art and telling us dreaming stories of their stunning country.  After some time deciding on what art we had to have, and could afford, the other women left to pack up our stuff to head back to Balgo and  I stayed because Noonie hadnt finished writing out their stories on the back of my paintings.

I was meant to stay as life is all about timing, the universe was taking care of me, i truly believe.

We talked of young deaths and shared about heartache and I shared my heartache about my nephew and my families pain.  As I've been so busy I hadnt had much time to stop and reflect and sharing in a circle of love came easy and so did the tears.  I had to stop as my heart was so heavy, I put my head down and sobbed, all the way on top of Australia from the bottom of Australia, with people that didn't know me apart from the night before and the few hours that day.  It didnt seem to matter where I was, my chest was heaving and salty tears streaming when I felt a hand on my head.  I looked up and it was Nana Veronica the elder holding me and crying with the other women, with me.  Then they started to sing softly in their language a song that will stay with me forever, they sang and sang and sang...while I cried.  Old girl or Nana Veronica touched me while they sang, she touched me, on my head, on my chest, on various places around my face and asked in language (whilst she explained to me at times in English) for the spirits to take away my worry, to make me stronger...they then changed tune that I recognised to be Amazing Grace in their Walmajarri language.  Never had I heard anything more beautiful than these women touching me and singing to me and grieving for my loss with me.  It was the most special moment, a gift from God, a gift from my ancestors, a gift from the angels watching over.  These women, these strong women, they gave me love in a way that i never thought i'd experience, although it didn't shock me because i know how big the hearts are of our people, i know that our people give and give even when they got nothing to give they give their last.  I wish all Non Aboriginal people could see the love and healing that i see of our people...especially the ones still living out on country, still practising Lore, still listening to the spirits.  I hate many of the stereotypes of remote community people.  Their knowledge and love is uncomparable.  These ladies told me that grief will make me sick, that I need to be strong, to get strong, to let it go...these ladies touched my heart  to the point that when old girl held me i felt like my mummy, may she rest in peace, was holding me and in a way she was like a mother to me then and there...all those women were, they mothered me, they nurtered me, they touched me, they loved me like I was one of there own...as long as I live I will NEVER forget that.

These women are hope, they are strength, they are love, they are the world and when I grow up (still growing up una)  I want to be just like them.

It's all about timing una and believe me the universe really does take care of you if you open your heart.

Blessed and proud to be Aboriginal, we are one but we are many and from all the land we come...

Let us never lose touch with the things our elders left us with for the sake of what others think...we need to wail.

Travel, meet and experience these beautiful people in the remote parts of our country, part of the oldest living culture in the WORLD...they told me that they do a lot of healing in their country and happy for anyone to visit, they even gave me something to remind me in their words "they are there for me always and will always be there"...ALIWAH WOOLAH - BLESSED - THANKFUL - FOREVER GRATEFUL FOR A WONDERFUL LIFE...  

This is dedicated to Regan, Ricky and Mark - 2013 a year we have lost that has changed us forever...may you rest in peace, forever in our hearts and to all our people who have lost someone they truly loved, I am thinking of you...be strong

Although I know many would want to to send their condolences, i know you will be thinking of love and light I didn't write this for that purpose...I more so wanted to share my experiences and ask what you think about our wailing traditional...

Thankyou for taking the time to read xo




Yonga Stew

Big day yesterday.

From my normal job at Central in Leederville, to my artsy world - voiceover recording in Subiaco to Perth city to Yirra Yaakin Aboriginal Theatre for a meeting.

So started at Central and FINALLY handed my last assessment in for my Cert IV in Lecturing.  Let me tell you i'm not a paperwork person so handing that in and knowing it was the last was a fist pumping to the air moment.  Think i skipped back to the car - seriously! (Do me a favor and skip to your car tomorrow - it's so fun)

Went from Central to Subiaco to do the voiceover stuff for my documentary, got picked up by my editor and dropped off at Yirra Yaakin for a meeting.  Avoided public transport, moorditj...winning ;-)


Meeting went well, saw many faces i've grown to love and had little yarn up.  Best part though was the food after (choooo can i say that) KANGAROO STEW and DAMPER cooked three different ways. (Never mind it was from the pet shop - us city Noongs gotta get it any way we can at times) Mmmmmmmmmmmmm yummy yummy yonga in my tummy. Tried Aunty Judy's first it was curry and cooked with coconut cream -  sooooo yummy.  Mmmm what to do?  Have a second serve of the lovely Aunty Judy's or try the next?  Well gotta try my brother boy Kyle's (Yirra Yaakin director AND deadly kangaroo tail stew maker) mmmmmm what a treat another stew just as good.  Really wanted to try the next dish but was nice and full so figured i had my fix.  Needless to say my little 'i'm going off bread' did NOT last when i seen the damper.  And i got to take some home (you shoulda seen us mob hunting around in Yirra Yaakin's kitchen for containers to take home our yonga stew) - thought i was deadly too because noonie one wrapped the damper pieces in foil and placed it on top of the stew in the container to keep the bread warm.  Nerver mind coonyee one wasn't gonna eat it that night.



But alas disaster my phone went flat when I was in the city about to come home, WHAT all the way to Thornlie with no entertainment.  No Facebook.  No Instagram.  No internet.  No yarning up.  No editing photos.  Not even a frickin magazine or book, what a terrible predicament.


So entertaining myself was on the agenda and must admit i'm great at talking to myself, i mean i'm great company and when you need a expert opinion of course i go to me. (Stolen from somewhere but so true)


So.  Phone flat.  Decided to walk to St Georges terrace to find my bus stand all the while giggling thinking who would have thought that me, that i...would be walking in the evening on a weekday to catch the bus home how random.  


Get to the bus stop apparently bus left at 6.09PM, it was 6.12PM and next bus was 6.33PM.  Like...total...buuummmeeerrrr.  So i stare determindly (don't think that's a word but I'll take it) at the traffic and think bus you are late or you are very early tonight.  Next minute NEK MINUTE - aahhhh hate people saying that it's contagious una!  Anyway more like 3mins later my bus coming yeah, winner!  Oh the power of positive thoughts.

Get on thinking 'Oh Man' a 30min trip no phone, what to do Lord?  So I people watch of course thinking oh so let me see Asian, Indian, Noongar, Aussie, Maylasian and many more...we all getting a lift together how sweet - a bus bringing the community together.  Bit corny I know BUT I was bored!


Then I start seeing my life flash before me I see me in my corporate gear heading to the BankWest tower.  I remember the money, 9 to 5, city lunches, window shopping, the coldness of the shadows of the buildings in the city, navy blue (uniforms), pubbing, clubbing and most of being without child - not a mummy - another lifetime it seems now.  I see different rental property suburbs and remember how I was, what my life was, my heartaches and triumphs (mostly heartaches).  My life was flashing by, all in my night time bus trip.  


Time to think is a powerful thing.  Reflect, compare, wonder, be grateful and all those things - just time to think WOW.  With so many worlds at my fingertip I'm ashamed to say my mind always needs to occupied - oh there's a ad on I'll check FaceBook or Twitter or Instagram or I'll google this, I'll watch that ahhhhhh it's never ending and it's so hard to resist.  Public transport and time without my phone forces me to be alert to my thoughts and to just be in the moment for a change and boy do I need it.


Oh a couple got off all lovey dovey looking deadly in a businesslike like way.  I notice a elderly Noongar man sitting in the seat behind where they got off.  I'm thinking 'is he a Nannup, nah looks like a Narkle mmmm what mob he from?  Then being raised by elders I have a overwhelming urge to go yarn to him, to say hey Unc where you from, tell me some history.  I'm a sponge - I do love yarning to elders.  He saw me looking nodded his head then he got off at next stop so there went that idea.  Wonder if I would have had the courage, he looked deep in thought.  Nyorn reminded me of my elders all gone now.  A face with lines that have lived a big life, seen a lot of things.   


Not long now and it's my stop.  


Sooooooo Karla what about the dark street with the bush land across the road.  You know first and last time you walked that street you guana'd...proper muddy bum.  Well If someone approaches me Karla I'll swing my bag with kangaroo stew at them that'l throw them off.   Noooooo not the stew!!!!!  OK, OK I'll scale the fence. Bahahhahaha yeah that'll happen. OK, OK, OKAY I'll just get my drivers license out that way when I'm abducted I'll drop it and people will know the last place I was.  Oh the imagination and on that note I was on my street. Sweet!


Oh the swag in my step knowing I had yonga stew to put in the fridge....awwwwttt MOORDITJ!!!!!!!!


Look out for more corny, more laughs, more life of Karla coming your way xoxo




What gives me the right...?! ;-)

So I have been public transporting it and as much as I thought I'd hate it I'm loving it.

But one day I didn't love it was yesterday.

So I'm travelling from Perth city to Leederville and a group of young Noongar boys aged approx 12 - 14years were in the same carriage as me, a couple of whom were faintly recognisable from there facial characteristics from families down south.  ( Us Noongars we can pick each other out from looks at times )

Anyway the boys were obviously cruising, school holidays and all and no doubt entertaining themselves.

One boy sitting across to my left started talking very loudly about how 'black' a young African girl was who was sitting about 5 seats down from him.  Most of us could hear.  I saw in her face although she showed no reaction I saw the flicker of hurt through her eyes only momentarily as she really did have the best poker face.  But to a woman who knows pain I saw it.  

I hoped he would stop but he didn't, he got worse -  much to the loud amusement of the other boys who probably thought he was pretty daring to be so blunt about his thoughts and no doubt his not caring attitude would have lifted his popularity in the group momentarily.

So those that know me know what happened next.

I asked him how could he be so racist to another person on the basis of their dark skin when our people face racism everyday in regards to our skin colour and bad stereotypes.  He replied he was Noongar so I replied so was I, he replied he would say what he like, I replied that so would I and I proceeded to tell him how ashamed I was of his behaviour and how disgusting it was when our grandparents fought for our rights only to have a silly boy like him be mean and nasty and racist on top of it.  (And his skin was brown???!!! why be saying how black she was??!!) I then gave him the stare to say don't respond you have been told son. 

So it went something like that, I had the other boys start to call me Aunty and a couple say "ay shutup man" or "hey Aunt you from Albany una, we know you I'm sure".  I'm sure they would have however I had my glasses on and no doubt they would have recognised my voice from radio etc and definitely would have recognised my face had I taken my glasses off (Noongar community very small everyone knows everyone).

Had a couple of thanks looks and caught the eye of the beautiful young African girl ONLY for seconds as I was getting off and she was still playing deaf but she gave me thanks too.

I didn't do it for thanks I did it because if this was my son I would hope someone would tell him straight too in a straight out Aunty kind of a way. 

Most young Noongar kids I meet and I work with - And I work with  hundreds (probably thousands) of kids across the state too - are beautiful, caring souls.  I'm sure these boys are too deep down hence the Aunty later but probably just bored and trying to get some street cred for the wrong reasons.

Many kids act silly together and often don't know the pain they can cause.

Was I right to pull him up? I felt I had no choice.

Would I say something if it was a different nationality - damn straight.

I think we as local fullas know how to talk so they know we know them and that helps get respect and be listenened to and even if this one child didn't act as if he cared he was pulled up and I bet he will think twice next time ( well I hope so ).  

We say nyorn in Noongar how sad and that's how I felt for this young girl with no one saying anything like it didn't matter or too uncomfortable incase of babd reaction or hate turning on them.

I think God put me on that train at that time because I can and I did say something because I'm Noongar and I know deep down these kids respect that. (hence the Aunty later)

So I got off the train boiling mad at the kid but proud I didn't say it like I'd tell my son (I'd have really put him through the mill-lecture, educate, grrrrrrr you name it) but enough to give it meaning and him a jarring up.

Anyway coonyee (dag) that I am didn't tag off so walked up the stairs, down the ramp and up the street till I realised.  Then I called my niece "hey babe i didn't tag off does it matter" then walked back up the street, up the ramp and down the stairs to tag off.  Then you guessed it started again.  I found my 20mins of excercise which I bloody need the lazy ass I've been.

Anyway what can I say lots, another day in the life of Karla Hart.

Lotsa love to ya xo


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