26 October 2011

David Unaipon

David Unaipon in the late 1920s
(see Wikipedia)
One of the challenges with George's letters is getting through the density of information and trying to make sense of all the names.

Another challenge for me is that I'm not Australian, so I can easily miss some cultural references.

For instance, in Letter No. 12, I totally overlooked a reference about one of the residents living in the YMCA.
"You will remember David Unaipon, the aboriginal who has been living in the building. We have had a splendid lot of service from him in addressing groups of our members. Hundreds of them have been told the story of aboriginal life in the Northern part of South Australia."
It turns out that, according to Wikipedia, David Unaipon was "a preacher, inventor and writer. He was the most widely known Aboriginal in Australia, and broke stereotypes of Aboriginals. Unaipon is featured on the Australian $50 note in commemoration."

David Unaipon on Australia's $50 note.
(see Reserve Bank of Australia)
I only figured it out after reading ahead in George's letters and seeing a reference on 28 Dec 1931 when George mentions that he is sending "Uniapon's book on 'Aboriginal Legends'" to Noel.

Makes me wonder what other gems I'm missing. Should I be Googling every name that George drops? Perhaps.