“The Beginning of the First Murphy Memoirs, in the Aboriginal Community of Woora Warra”
As he left the Aboriginal town of Woora Warra, that had been his home for almost a year, Murphy pondered that, in life, we make many mistakes. Some of us wish we could change the things we have done; Murphy thought he wouldn’t change anything, because all his experiences in life had made him who he was, and he was happy with that. The fact that he had just destroyed several careers also made him happy.
Most people seem to live their lives hoping for something better. Murphy’s philosophy was “learn from the past, live in the present, and hope for the future.” He thought about his younger days, growing up in rural Australia. The small city he was born in, Goulburn, reminded him of the movie Groundhog Day.
Every day was the same; the same old men sitting outside the mall. The same old faces were in the same old pubs. And the town elders were still arguing that the only way the town could survive was to convince the government to reopen the railway workshops; a fruitless demand they had been pursuing for twenty years.
Nothing ever changed. In his later travels around Australia and the world, he would see many communities embrace the incredible changes that are going on in the world. They progressed with time, and evolved in step with the world.
Others set themselves above the mainstream, and become leaders in their own right. Armidale in New South Wales is synonymous with higher education. Bathurst is renowned for its car race each year. Tamworth is world famous for its country music festival.
Yet Murphy’s home town, like other rural areas in Australia, has failed to come to grips with the modern world. They wanted things to be the same as they were fifty years ago, and never change. They have spent the last fifty years watching industry and government services being taken out of the towns. His home town had once been the fine wool capital of the world, but now was virtually unheard of.
Instead of finding alternatives to replace their loss of status, they simply spent the limited resources they had trying to force the return of the lost businesses and services. Murphy also thought that most people tend to be at least some way like this. They don’t like change. At least, in Woora Warra, they had made a choice to remain isolated, and the reason wass justifiable.
Looking back, he realised that he had been exactly the same when he lived in Goulburn. It was great visiting, and meeting up with family and old friends, but he could never live there again.
He had had the chance to reflect while travelling the world. While living in his home town, he had been, like most people there, cut off from the changes going on in the rest of the world.
They all seemed to know what was happening, but had convinced themselves that it didn’t affect them. They were happy just to try to isolate themselves. Murphy had gone along with that, but had never been happy about it.
The poet John Donne wrote words that Murphy now saw as a major force guiding his life: “No man is an island, entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main.”
Yet too many people, and the communities they live in, try to isolate themselves from the rest of the world. To deny the changes that are going on.
With such denials, the individuals and communities fail to grow as people and part of a wider society.
Murphy had come to terms with who he was, and had been able to accept the short comings he had. He was also aware of his own life achievements, no matter how trivial they might seem to others. By taking both of these into account, he had been able to make solid plans for his future, but allow for flexibility due to unforeseen circumstances. And in Murphy’s life, “unforeseen circumstances” were an almost daily occurence.
Murphy was a writer, and had told his stories to many around the world. Some were about him; others stories about the incredibly strong and brave people he had met. People who had overcome unbelievable hardship to make better lives for themselves and their communities.
Some stories are positive, others are negative. The one thing about all these stories is that each and every one of them is an experience that has helped form Murphy as a person.
And be it good or bad, he reflected that he wouldn’t change a thing that had ever happened to him. He was quite happy with who he was, and happy with what he had done at Woora Warra. He smiled, and started writing it down.