THE RAGMAN’S SERENADE

' The Ragman's Serenade tells the story of four families- one from North Shields and the other three from Wallsend. It is a story of relationships- The Davis family are up to their eyes in debt - The Stewart family have a daughter who has downs syndrome– The hagarths who’s husband owns a bookmakers shop and his wife is a midwife at the RVI- and the Higginbottom's have a father with the on set of Alzheimer's. How do they cope - read this fascinating story i'm sure you will enjoy.

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The film started by showing the art of the aborigines both body painting and art work on canvas as well as sculptures.

The lads all had a chuckle as it showed some bare breasted women around a camp fire cooking a kangaroo. It had been killed using a boomerang and spears. The kangaroo was then skinned and body parts used to make twine from the sinew.

Then it was placed over an oven dug into the ground then covered in leaves and then buried for a couple of hours. When the meat was cooked it was then dug up again and the tribe shared in the meat. “This was the way cavemen must have lived during the Stone Age.’ Michael Clements explained; “hunting, foraging, and using skills to make tools.’

“Man has come a long way in over 2000 years said Tom.’

When the film was over and someone stuck two fingers up at the projector light which was then shown onto the screen; It brought more laughter from the boys,  Mr Clements told them all to calm down then asked the class to write something about the film.

“I want you all to imagine that you are a native in Australia and lost in the bush. How would you survive? What skills could you use in order to keep yourself alive?’

The class all got out their exercise books and began to write as Michael Clements told the class to get on with their work whilst he slipped out to the schools extensive library.

When he returned he had with him four books which he gave to Tom at the end of the lesson.

“These should help you Tom; make sure that you return them to Mr Stephenson once you have gleaned all the information that you need from them.’

Opening the first page in the dinner break Tom read about the history of Wagga Wagga. He read how the town was founded near the Murrumbidgee River. Canberra the largest city in New South Wales was the regional centre on the Riverina.

The first inhabitants of Wagga Wagga were the Windjuri tribesmen. The name Wagga Wagga referred to “Many Crows” other translations refer to it as “Dizzy or sick man dancing.”

Captain Charles Sturt 1829 during his expedition along the Murrumbidgee River founded the Wagga Wagga. The first Australian settler was Charles Thomson a convict. It was Thomson who established what became known as the “Eunonhareeyha Run.” It was situated on the north side of the river.

George Best, another settler founded the “Wagga Wagga Run” on the south bank. The tribesmen protested strongly about the intrusion of these settlers, saying that they were squatters and were on their land illegally. The government regulated their tenure and brought about a licensing scheme. More and more settlers came and this caused conflict with the tribesmen who attacked the shepherds and their stock.

The tribesmen became ill after the settlers brought with them diseases like tuberculosis, small pox, and influenza. Eventually the tribesmen were defeated. They had lost their lands. However; they kept their culture and their traditions which were passed on from generation to generation; in the form of stories, song and dance.

A magistrate’s court was set up in Wagga Wagga which was the nearest township to the city.

In Turmut and Binalong the first Shops were established and the town became a living working place with blacksmiths, a cobbler shop, a hotel, and a post office. In 1860 plans for a bridge to span the Murrumbidgee River came to fruition. The bridge was 25ft wide and seven feet high. By 1862 it was completed. This bridge was demolished in 1895 and a new bridge built.

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