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On this page we offer resources published by the Blue Mountain Education & Research Trust an outreach of the Catholic Parish of Our Lady of the Nativity at Lawson in the Blue Mountains of New South Wales and the Rev Dr Eugene Stockton. BMERT facilitates publication of the the work of the Blue Mountain Centre for Religious Enquiry and the Greater Blue Mountains Aboriginal Studies Forum.

NEW TITLE! The Aboriginal People of the Burragorang Valley
by Jim Smith

The Aboriginal People of the Burragorang Valley by Jim Smith
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The Aboriginal People of the Burragorang Valley

ISBN: 9780994155559
Price: AU$50.00 +p&h
Authors: Jim Smith

PRODUCT DETAILS:
The Burragorang Valley situated West of Sydney in the Blue Mountains is famous today as the site of Warragamba Dam, one of the prime sources of water for Sydney. It is a beautiful valley that was flooded in the 1950s to become that water rupply for greater Sydney. For decades, the author of this book, Jim Smith has been researching and documenting the history of the Aboriginal people who were the original inhabitants and custodians of this land. This richly illustrated, expanded and updated edition of his earlier 1991 book titled Aborigines of the Burragorang Valley is the fruit of that work.

The Aboriginal people of the Burragorang Valley were the first in Australia to enrol to vote and were among the first to make land claims.

The mainly Irish Catholic settlers of the Burragorang Valley were able to establish good relationships, based on mutual respect, with the Gundungurra people of the Burragorang Valley and there were a number of marriages between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people who have many descendants living today.

The Aboriginal People of the Burragorang Valley includes a detailed study of St Joseph's Farm, established by Catholic priest Father George Dillon in the 1870s near the junction of the Cox and Wollondilly Rivers. Dillon intended that the Aboriginal people of the Burragorang Valley would become independent farmers on this land but the experiment was eventually a failure. The Aboriginal people of the Valley told Father Dillon "If we left the Valley our hearts would break." For various reasons, every family but one eventually did leave the Valley at a time of their own choosing, with only the Rileys being forced to leave by the Water Board.

The life stories of remarkable people such as John Joseph Riley, William Albert Shepherd, Mary Longbottom, Alice Cooper, Clara Hilton, Annie Sherritt and many others are told in detail for the first time. Jim Smith has been assisted in his research by Gundungurra elders including Gloria Ardler, Ivy Brockman and Jean Murphy. Elderly former residents of the Valley helped with their memories and interpretations of the photos.

The Aboriginal People of the Burragorang Valley has 332 pages with 198 illustrations. There are many photographs showing the magnificent beauty of the Burragorang Valley which was flooded in the late 1950s to provide the main reservoir for Sydney's water supply.

MORE INFORMATION:
Watch the video from the Book Launch which provides a good overview of the contents of the book...

www.youtube.com/watch?v=v=S49-7YfkVzc

FROM THE PREFACE by Fr Eugene Stockton:
In the Blue Mountains today residents of Aboriginal descent hold an honoured place. Without loss of special identity and solidarity, they move confidently in general society, take part in communal affairs and are respected by others. This community includes families whose forebears belonged to the Gundungurra "tribe" who long resided in the Burragorang Valley and then, by several moves, came to settle in Katoomba at the Gully until their dispersal in 1957. Their stories are included in this book.

From my years working as a priest with urban Aborigines, I noticed that city dwellers retained links with their country place of origin by regular visitation. It was noticeable that an individual's values and attitudes were largely shaped by the contact history of their home community. To know the person one had to know the place and its experience of race relations. To understand Blue Mountains Aborigines today it helps to be aware of the experience of race relations in the Burragorang Valley in the 19th century. Jim Smith tells a story of what was, for the most part, a benign relationship between black and white.

For me, as a resident of the Blue Mountains, the Burragorang Valley, before it's flooding for the Warragamba Dam, always seemed like an idyllic 'Shangri-La', hemmed in by encircling cliff lines, isolated and difficult of access. There developed a coming together of poor white settlers (many ex-convicts) and the original Gundungurra residents. Jim Smith tells how the latter, though dispossessed of their land by the property rights of the new farmers, retained their language, culture, leadership, bush skills, sacred sites and solidarity, while coexisting productively in the employ of the farmers. Their bush medicine, especially the expertise of midwives, was at the service of black and white. They readily enrolled to vote in elections, participated in cricket matches, and applied (most often in vain) for land claims.

A catalyst for the good relations in the Valley was Saint Joseph's Mission, which was unique in the history of Catholic missions in Australia. In Australia, as in other European colonies, overseas missions followed the colonisers and were often seen as an arm of colonisation. Generally, a mission was established by a religious order imposing itself on the local community, channelling goods and services of an outside entity (both Church and State) and managing affairs of the community and individuals. In the Burragorang Valley the initiative came from a' maverick' Catholic priest, Father Dillon, and the local laity. Most of the farmers were Irish Catholics who made it their business to encourage Aboriginal families to have their children baptised and instructed in the faith. Jim Smith highlights the key role played by black and white people entering into godparent/godchild relationships, with the responsibilities that flowed therefrom. The Catholic hierarchy and local laity clubbed together to raise finance to set aside a property at Pocket Creek which became Saint Joseph's Farm, a base for Aboriginal residence, education and the learning of agricultural know-how. Father Dillon could hardly make more than infrequent visits to the Burragorang Valley from his distant parish centre of Camden, but he did press the authorities to set up schools in the Valley, for the benefit of black and white children attending alongside one another.

From 1883, Aboriginal people of New South Wales suffered the most dire oppression from the State under the Aborigines Protection Board (and its successor the Aboriginal Welfare Board, 1940-1969). The APB came to regulate most aspects of life - place of residence and work, child rearing, social security, even diet. Families ran the risk of having their light-skinned children removed under the policy of assimilation. Many were forced to live on government missions under white management. In a normal society the precious skill of learning to take charge of one's life is passed down from parent to child. Under the APB, generations of Aboriginal people were denied this heritage, leaving communities debilitated and vulnerable to alcoholism, drug addiction, family instability and dependence on social welfare. Apart from rations to the very poor, the Burragorang people skirted the worst aspects of paternalism under the APB. Consequently, their descendants, including residents of the Gully in Katoomba, later displayed a more independent character. The latter community's humble shacks were noted for being clean and tidy. They showed concern for the education of their children and for staying on good terms with the general community.

Jim Smith has documented in this book, in great detail, a unique community in a unique setting, the like of which I know no other. For the people of the Blue Mountains it provides a rich background to understanding the Aboriginal members of our community.
 

The Aboriginal People of the Burragorang Valley

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Aboriginal Rock Art in the Blue Mountains
by John Van der Have

Aboriginal Rock Art in the Blue Mountains by John Van der Have
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Aboriginal Rock Art in the Blue Mountains

ISBN: 9780994155542
Price: AU$50.00 +p&h
Authors: John Van der Have

PRODUCT DETAILS:
Blue Mountain Education and Research Trust is proud to bring to the public its latest title, Aboriginal Rock Art in the Blue Mountains, 250 pages, 4 colour gloss, written and photographed by John Van der Have.

This is a book about art. More specifically, it is about Aboriginal art. More specifically still, it is a book about Aboriginal art from a limited geographical area. It is a book about artworks created, for the most part, long before the first Europeans ever set foot in that geographical area (to which we refer today as the Blue Mountains of New South Wales). These artworks were, furthermore, produced in a cultural context that could not be more different to the western cultural context in which we find ourselves in Australia in 2016. ...John Van der Have, author

REVIEWS:
"These sites are important places for all people, but particularly for local Aboriginal people who hold a responsibility to care for them as their ancestors have done. We therefore ask people to treat these sites with respect. They are a legacy from the Old People and one of the beautiful links that we still have with them and the country's traditional culture..." ...Chris Tobin

"The Blue Mountain Education and Research Trust, which aims at promoting local research and writing, is proud to bring to the public its latest title Aboriginal Rock Art in the Blue Mountains. John Van der Have is an architect who specialises in harmonising design with the landscape. Here he has approached the subject of local rock art, not from an anthropological or archaeological view point, but from an artistic and aesthetic one. Over and over again he stresses the sense of place in which the art is found. These artworks are inextricably and forever connected to their location."

"These figures, whether painted on rock shelter walls or engraved on open rock platforms, may be presented to the public in isolation from their setting, perhaps framed on gallery walls or photographed in a book such as this. But the author, with sensitive text and superb landscape views, emphasizes that the locations were already in themselves sacred places which made an impact on the soul of the artist. These settings were grand in scale, vast and spectacular — undoubtedly storied places, which the artist has drawn out with a lightness of touch and agility of hand. The artwork is not itself monumental but suggestive of deeper meaning and motivated by the artist's special feeling for the land. Together, artwork and setting constituted what could be termed landscape architecture, an open-air temple.

"Fittingly this book has been dedicated to the Aboriginal People of the Blue Mountains, living descendants of those who had been here for thousands of years. It is a warm endorsement and respectful acknowledgement of the treasures which their ancestors bequeathed to them and which are now given to all to share. It has been estimated that about 1,000 rock art sites are known in the Blue Mountains and undoubtedly many more to be discovered. It is high time to record all we know as some artwork has almost faded away and all are vulnerable to the ravages of time, and even more so to vandalism.

"John Van der Have tells the story of the modern Aboriginal art movement which sprang up in the Central Desert in the 1970's. 'There were artworks that drew upon the richness of Aboriginal culture extending back thousands of years. The artistic outpouring that began at Papunya in the early 1970's captivated the world, and within a few years led to passionate worldwide interest ... These contemporary Aboriginal artworks struck a deep cord with many people, not only in Australia, but also throughout the world.' Art critic for Time magazine, Robert Hughes, is quoted as calling it 'the last great art movement of the 20th Century.' John points out the common tradition behind the contemporary art world and the simple figures displayed in this book are sourced from the same feeling of identity with the land. " ...Eugene Stockton
 

Aboriginal Rock Art in the Blue Mountains

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UPDATED EDITION RELEASED MAY 2015!
the Aboriginal gift: Spirituality for a Nation by Eugene Stockton

the Aboriginal gift: Spirituality for a Nation by Eugene Stockton
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the Aboriginal gift: Spirituality for a Nation

ISBN: 9780994155535
Price: AU$20.00 +p&h
Author: Eugene Stockton

PRODUCT DETAILS:
In this book, priest and archaeologist, Fr Eugene Stockton, explores the spiritual wisdom of the Australian Aborigines, still persisting into the present. He offers the proposal that the Aboriginal perspectives on spirituality might enrich the spirituality of other Australians. He highlights the themes of Life in Common; Reverence for Life and Land; Celebrations and Sacramentality; and Dadirri Mysticism. The aim is not to appropriate Aboriginal Spirituality but to let the Indigenous insights challenge the rest of us to search their counterparts in the treasury of the Christian Tradition.
 

the Aboriginal gift: Spirituality for a Nation

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UPDATED EDITION RELEASED MAY 2015!
This Land, Our Mother by Eugene Stockton & Terence O'Donnell

This Land, Our Mother by Eugene Stockton & Terence O'Donnell
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This Land, Our Mother

ISBN: 9780994155528
Price: AU$10.00 +p&h
Author: Eugene Stockton & Terence O'Donnell

PRODUCT DETAILS:
With the text by Fr Eugene Stockton accompanied by beautiful colour paintings by Terence O'Donnell, this small book explores the spiritual journey of the newcomers to the land of Australia. "We newcomers to this land, whether ourselves or our forebears, have physically crossed the sea, but many have not completed the crossing spiritually. We need to learn how Aborigines feel for the Land and so come home to Our Land, Our Mother".
 

This Land, Our Mother

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This Tortuous Ridge: Linden to Lawson
by Eugene Stockton (Editor)

This Tortuous Ridge: Linden to Lawson edited by Eugene Stockton
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This Tortuous Ridge: Linden to Lawson

ISBN: 9780994155511
Price: AU$35.00 +p&h
Authors: Eugene Stockton (Editor), Gil Jones, Chris D. Whiteman, Kelvin Knox, John Low, John Merriman, Elizabeth Burgess, Ken Goodlett, Julie Stockton, Jim Tulip.

PRODUCT DETAILS:
In the heart of the Blue Mountains of New South Wales is a distinct canton. It is a cluster of five villages. These villages are close neighbours, running one into the other almost continuously, but separated from other settlements east and west by some kilometres of uninhabited bushland. We are not, as some would see ut, "as mid-Mountains residents", as if we existed at some vague point betwixt and between the Upper and Lower Mountains. Ours is a distinctive identity, the Central Mountains.

This Tortuous Ridge: Linden to Lawson takes us on a journey exploring this distinct canton as outlined in the Chapter headings below. We trust you will enjoy the journey.

CONTENTS

  • INTRODUCTION: Eugene Stockton
  • 1. BLUE MOUNTAINS BACKBONE – Landscape and Bedrock Gil Jones
  • 2. THE FLORA OF THE CENTRAL BLUE MOUNTAINS Chris D. Whiteman
  • 3. THE FAUNA OF THE CENTRAL BLUE MOUNTAINS Chris D. Whiteman
  • 4. SACRED GROUND Eugene Stockton, Kelvin Knox
  • 5. IN QUEST OF THE CARMARTHEN HILLS – The Blue Mountains Expedition of William Dawes John Low
  • 6. FROM LINDEN BLUFF TO 20 MILE HOLLOW – The Western Road 1814-2014 John Merriman
  • 7. CHRISTMAS SWAMP – Blue Mountain Eugene Stockton
  • 8. WOODFORD ACADEMY Elizabeth Burgess, Ken Goodlet
  • 9. PEOPLE IN THE CENTRAL BLUE MOUNTAINS Ken Goodlet
  • 10. BUSHFIRES AND BRIGADES Ken Goodlet
  • 11. PROGRESS ASSOCIATIONS Ken Goodlet
  • 12. TRIPPING TO SCENIC GEMS Julie Stockton
  • 13. LIVING IN THE MID MOUNTAINS Jim Tulip
  • LOCAL AMENITIES
  • BIBLIOGRAPHY
     

MORE INFORMATION:

Watch the video from the Book Launch which provides a good overview of the contents of the book...

www.youtube.com/watch?v=_5Pa4oxtSh8

This Tortuous Ridge: Linden to Lawson

This Tortuous Ridge: Linden to Lawson:
Edited by Eugene Stockton: PAPERBACK
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UPDATED EDITION!
The Deep Within by Eugene Stockton

The Deep Within by Eugene Stockton
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Paperback

NEW UPDATED EDITION: The Deep Within: Towards an Archetypal Theology

ISBN: 9780646560793
Price: AU$15.00 +p&h
Author: Eugene Stockton

PRODUCT DETAILS:
Psychologists are familiar with the hidden depths of consciousness powerfully breaking out in ordinary life. This study looks at the influence of deep consciousness on a person’s religious expression and how it might be harnessed and co-ordinated for one’s spiritual wellbeing in the service of God.
Interest in this study arose out of the author’s long time exploration of an Australian spirituality. His conviction was that Aboriginal spirituality must eventually find its place in the mainstream and that the mutual engagement of European and Aboriginal thinking can only be possible at the deepest level of consciousness. This is equally true of interfaith dialogue. ...Eugene Stockton

CONTENTS

  • Introduction
  • 1. Truth of God
  • 2. Development of my Thinking
  • 3. Depth of Self
  • 4. Layers of Perception
  • 5. Emergence of Mind
  • 6. Denizens of the Deep
  • 7. A Personal Theology
  • 8. Ora et Labora
  • 9. De Profundis Clamavi ad Te
  • Appendix I: Prologue of St John's Gospel
  • Appendix II: Wisdom: Intuitions of Universal Mind
  • Appendix III: A Spiritual Journey
     

REVIEWS:
"In barely more than a hundred pages, Eugene Stockton - priest, writer, archaeologist, anthropologist, contemplative – launches his readers into 'the deep within'. His range of reference is astonishing, explained only by the interests that have filled his fifty years of thinking and writing, and then further back to his childhood in the bush of the Central Blue Mountains. From the depths of his own awareness, he invites us all into the depths of "the Kingdom of God within you', of the real self of connections and relationships, too often neglected and ignored by the restless ego of routine life. Guiding the descent into the depths of the true self are a wide variety of religious, philosophical and psychological markers, 'since it is difficult to describe on the surface what is shared in depth'. One constant resource and guide is the Aboriginal experience and Eugene Stockton's long familiarity with the spirituality of the original Australians. In short, there is something both homegrown Australian and genuinely universal about this book. The depths into which this author calls us will be a wondrous refreshment for all his readers." ...Professor Anthony Kelly, Australian Catholic University

"The Deep Within is an essay in 'depth theology'. The highly conceptualised theology taught in seminaries and universities has its place, but in the age of interreligious dialogue we realise that, however sophisticated, it remains on the surface. Stockton, drawing on a lifetime of biblical and archaeological research but also spiritual experience and a profound knowledge of Australian Aboriginal religion, invites us to embark on a journey within, beyond the constructed ego-self to a total unknowing immersion in the primordial 'I'. In touch with the unmanifest self, the transcendence within, in the medium of symbol and story beyond rational distinctions, we are set free for prayer in a way that is closely related to Aboriginal contemplation of the Land (dadirri) and Buddhist meditation (samadhi). The result is a spiritual journey corroborated by informed psychological introspection." ...John D'Arcy May, Trinity College Dublin and Australian Catholic University, Melbourne

"Eugene Stockton is one of Australia's most creative and visionary spiritual thinkers. A distinguished academic career in theology, scriptural studies and archaeology, imbued with a deeply sensitive and highly attuned spiritual sensibility, has yielded a distinct attentiveness to the deepest currents underneath the surface of life and recognition of the traces of divine activity that permeates the whole of reality. In The Deep Within Eugene's radically contemplative disposition presents an anthropological and theological framework for an 'everyday mysticism' informed by both his Western heritage and his immersion into Australian Aboriginal consciousness. Through a careful and considerate reading of this important contribution to a contemporary discussion about mysticism, I am confident that the reader will be led into that realm of deep consciousness which lies within each of us and from which springs of life wait to flow anew." ...Rev. Dr. David Ranson, Catholic Institute of Sydney
 

The Deep Within

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NEW EDITION!
Landmarks: A Spiritual Search in a Southern Land by Eugene Stockton

"Landmarks: A Spiritual Search in a Southern Land" by Eugene Stockton
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NEW EDITION: Landmarks: A Spiritual Search in a Southern Land

ISBN: 9780646910215 Blue Mountain Education & Research Trust (Oct 2013 PB AU)
Price: AU$15.00 +p&h, 152 pages plus Cover
Authors: Eugene Stockton (Editor)

PRODUCT DETAILS:

"Set up your sign posts,
raise yourself landmarks,
fix your mind on the road,
the way by which you go."

...Jeremiah 31:21

Landmarks is an exploration of an Australian spirituality. Drawing on the cultural influences now in our land, it offers a graded, comprehensive presentation of gospel teachings, with an Australian diction and imagery. The reader may find in it fresh insights into traditional spiritual themes.

Each theme is introduced in terms of an "Australian setting", focusing on one particular aspect of the Australian experience. The body of each chapter analyses that experience, exploring the parallels with its biblical counterpart. The bible is used, not as a book about God or a store of normative texts, but as the story of a people, who are our spiritual ancestors. The attempt is made to insert ourselves into that story, with all its ups and downs, to identify our own experience in its unfolding, and through it to catch the vision of God which the past projects onto our present and future.
 

Landmarks

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BEST SELLER: Blue Mountains Journeys
by Ken Goodlet

To celebrate the Blue Mountains Crossings Bicentenary the Blue Mountain Education & Research Trust is proud to offer this celebratory 256 page coffee-table book illustrated with over 380 photographs, illustrations and maps...
Blue Mountains Journeys by Ken Goodlet
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Hardcover

Blue Mountains Journeys

ISBN: 9780646595221
Price: AU$45.00 +p&h
Author & Publisher: Ken Goodlet

PRODUCT DETAILS:
The Blue Mountains is and always has been a place of journeying. As well as the tale of the wayfinders' traverse of the Blue Mountains barrier two centuries ago, this book includes accounts of many earlier and later mountains journeys, right up to the present time.

Here we read of:

  • The disinherited custodians and their long search for home
  • The wayfinder yeoman who recreated in this alien landscape his family tradition of enterprise
  • The Bathurst-bound settler mother of eight who thought how fortunate she was to be in this new land of opportunity
  • The Quaker who walked all over Australia on behalf of the disadvantaged
  • The naturalists whose curiosity and sense of wonder inspired them amidst the shuddering bumps of the road
  • The 'Celestials' who walked across the mountains in search of gold
  • The travellers who encountered bushrangers and lived to tell that story
  • The surveyor who championed the reserves for public enjoyment
  • The conservationists who tramped through the wilderness and sought to preserve it
  • The royal traveller who thought the mountains the most beautiful place in the Commonwealth
  • The engine driver who revelled in the might of his 57 class engine
  • The recent bushwalker who learnt life lessons while enjoying her bush experience.
     

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Ken GoodletKen Goodlet's two published histories on the Blue Mountains community are the National Trust award-winning Hazelbrook and Woodford: a story of two Blue Mountains towns and Mountain Springtime: a History of Blue Mountains Grammar School. Ken has had a long association with the Blue Mountains beginning with regular family holidays as a child. He and his wife bought a cottage in the lower mountains at Springwood in 1961. After their eight years in Malaysia, they moved to the mid-mountains village of Hazelbroook where they have lived since 1973. Their four sons and nine grandchildren have all lived in the Blue Mountains.

Blue Mountains Journeys

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by Ken Goodlet: HARDCOVER
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BEST SELLER: Blue Mountains Dreaming: The Aboriginal Heritage
by Eugene Stockton & John Merriman

Blue Mountains Dreaming by Eugene Stockton & John Merriman
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Paperback

Blue Mountains Dreaming: The Aboriginal Heritage (Second Edition)

ISBN: 9780646503868
Price: AU$40.00 +p&h
Authors: Eugene Stockton & John Merriman

PRODUCT DETAILS:
In 1788 the Aborigines of the Blue Mountains had had no contact with Europeans; within 30 years their traditional way of life had been irrevocably changed.

Increasingly however, widespread discoveries of art sites, occupation sites, stone tools, axe-grinding grooves and stone arrangements, research into the journals and early writings of European explorers and settlers, and the compilation of oral histories, are providing a rich, if incomplete, account of the traditional lifestyles and environment of the Gundungurra and Darug people of the Blue Mountains.

Beautifully illustrated with new and historic photographs, drawings, maps and charts, this volume is invaluable as a research reference for those interested in the history of Aboriginal culture and European settlement in the Blue Mountains west of Sydney.

This second edition of Blue Mountains Dreaming builds on the earlier one and presents new research and interpretation about the Aboriginal presence in the area from prehistoric times to the present.

CONTENTS

  • Introduction: John Low
  • About the Authors
  • 1. New Discoveries Eugene Stockton
  • 2. Environmental Conditions of the Past in the Blue Mountains Scott D. Mooney and Helene A. Martin
  • 3. Archaeology of the Blue Mountains Eugene Stockton
  • 4. Aboriginal Art in the Blue Mountains Matthew Kelleher
  • 5. The Mountain Darug Val Attenbrow
  • 6. Seeing Gundungurra Country Jim Smith
  • 7. Traditional Subsistence in the Blue Mountains John Merriman
  • 8. The Gully Aboriginal Place Dianne Johnson
  • 9. An Introduction to the Dharug Language Jim Kohen and Jeremy Steele
  • 10. Gundungurra: Language of the Burragorang and Wollondilly Jeremy Steele
  • Appendix: Baiame Eugene Stockton
  • Index
     
Blue Mountains Dreaming

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BEST SELLER: A History of the Blue Labyrinth: Blue Mountains National Park
by Bruce Cameron

A History of the Blue Labyrinth: Blue Mountains National Park by Bruce Cameron
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Paperback

A History of the Blue Labyrinth: Blue Mountains National Park (Second Edition)

ISBN: 9780646095417
Price: AU$55.00 +p&h
Authors: Bruce Cameron

PRODUCT DETAILS:
For anyone who likes bushwalking and good books, this second edition by Bruce Cameron is a must have item! Hard covered and 350 glossy pages long, it is packed with information, history, some maps and most of the text illustrated by adjacent, clear photographs.
 

Mountains' rich history revealed in new release, Blue Mountains Gazette, 25 June 2014
Read the story in the Blue Mountains Gazette from 25 June 2014. HERE.

The Blue Labyrinth is that part of the Blue Mountains south of the railway line, north of Lake Burragorang and between the Nepean River and as far up the mountains as Wentworth Falls. It is nearly all part of Blue Mountains National Park. It includes Kings Tableland, Glenbrook Creek and Gorge, Euroka volcanic neck, other volcanic necks such as St Helena and Tobys Glen, well know walking tracks such as Sassafras Gully at Springwood, Terrace Falls at Hazelbrook, Adelina, Junction, Federal and Cataract Falls at Lawson. Many aboriginal sites including the well known Red Hands Cave. Picnic and camping areas such as Ingar. A few small sandstone canyons. Through the heart of the Labyrinth flows Erskine Creek — wild and remote!

The Labyrinth is also perhaps the cradle of bushwalking in NSW. Much of the book is the bushwalking history of the labyrinth, the story of its appeal and exploration.

This is a beautiful and fascinating book. Bruce Cameron has been meticulous in his research. To accompany the fully documented text, he has unearthed a multitude of amazing historic photographs and maps. The book is well laid out and a pleasure to read.

It is greatly expanded from the first edition, which has long been out of print. This new edition is a great addition to the history of the Blue Mountains and to the history of bushwalking. The author has a strong affiliation with the area. He grew up at Glenbrook and has much experience bushwalking and rock climbing in the Labyrinth. His book is very clearly a labour of love.

It is worth every cent in your bookcase for the good reading, entertainment and many, many references.

A History of the Blue Labyrinth: Blue Mountains National Park takes us on a journey exploring this distinct canton as outlined in the Chapter headings below. We trust you will enjoy the journey.
 

A History of the Blue Labyrinth

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by Bruce Cameron: HARDBACK
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Wasteland, Wilderness, Wonderland: Getting to know
Sydney's Sandstone Country by Gil Jones

Blue Mountains Dreaming by Eugene Stockton & John Merriman
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Hardcover

Wasteland, Wilderness, Wonderland: Getting to know Sydney's Sandstone Country

ISBN: 9780646914961
Price: AU$30.00 +p&h
Author: Gil Jones

PRODUCT DETAILS:
Sydney city stands on the eastern rim of a shallow basin defined by deeply dissected sandstone plateaus encircling the lowlands of western Sydney and extending west to Lithgow, north to the Hunter Valley, and south to the Illawarra escarpment.

In this book we join surveyors, scientists, writers and artists in the physical and intellectual exploration of Sydney's sandstone country — its landscape and landscape history, and its distinctively Australian vegetation with its Gondwanan inheritance. And we recall the ruthless dispossession of its first people whose rock engravings and cave paintings give us a glimpse of a sense of country and belonging which is critical to a fulfilled future in this privileged place.

REVIEW:
"Wasteland, Wilderness, Wonderland — Getting to know Sydney's Sandstone Country is beautifully written by Gil Jones with excellent illustrations. This book is written from the heart, but with the clarity of a scientist who is intimately involved with the subject. It is full of hidden gems of knowledge with particular reference to pre-European history of the area. The chapter titled 'Bala, Boree, Bora' is full of information regarding indigenous history and culture. Gil Jones says 'The Aboriginal speaks of real identity. He says simply and without qualification; "I am the land". The Aboriginal person feels himself part of every other and every other as part of himself ... The land is a sacred place, a spiritual entity.' Those immersed in the European and egocentric culture now sweeping the world both in the east and west could do well to read this book and gain another vision for the world which is not about building the highest buildings and the biggest roads for so called economic development.

Knowledge is held within this sandstone of the Sydney Basin. The Sandstone is the 200 million year old fabric underlying the Sydney region. It is the fabric which brings the area together as a whole. If we can understand that we are part of that fabric we would certainly have an understanding of our true self and our relationship with the landscape. The sandstone with its attendant fauna and flora is the awareness that joins all of us together who live on this Sydney basin. We destroy it at peril to ourselves.

Gil Jones has adopted a rather eccentric manner in noting references for his work which indicates a great respect for the past sources of knowledge whether Indigenous or European. His sources appear no less important than the main text.

This is a book which once read can be referred to again and again at any time and any page for enjoyable contemplation and reflection on the Sydney sandstone country. It should be essential reading for all school children in the greater Sydney region, so that they have an understanding of the heritage that surrounds them."
...Chris D Whiteman
 

Wasteland, Wilderness, Wonderland

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Bruny D'Entrecasteaux and his encounter with Tasmanian Aborigines
by Dianne Johnson

Bruny D'Entrecasteaux by Dianne Johnson
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Paperback

Bruny D'Entrecasteaux and his encounter with Tasmanian Aborigines: from Provence to Recherche Bay

ISBN: 9780646570563
Price: AU$35.00 +p&h
Authors: Dianne Johnson

PRODUCT DETAILS:
Born in eighteenth century Aix-en-Provence to French nobility, Bruny d'Entrecasteaux enjoyed a distinguished naval career as an intrepid navigator and diplomat before family tragedy struck. Dispatched by King Louis XVI in 1791 on a quest to find the missing explorer La Pérouse and to conduct extensive scientific surveys, d'Entrecasteaux embarked on a mission which saw the two small frigates Recherche and Espérance eventually take shelter from a storm in south-eastern Tasmania in 1792. It is a vibrant, meticulously researched and richly illustrated narrative which unfolds against the turbulent backdrop of the French Revolution.

The re-imagining of the encounters, on the basis of available documentary sources, provides new insights into an important part of the story of Tasmanian Aborigines and into the role that early French navigators did have (and might have had) in Australian history. The litany of French names dotted around the southern Tasmanian landscape are here given a context and significance hitherto unexplored in such an entertaining and informative manner.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Dianne Johnson trained as an anthropologist gaining her PhD at the University of Sydney. Her initial research interest concerned women of the governing elite in Papua New Guinea. She has since published books and articles concerning contemporary Aboriginal issues as well as seminal material concerning Aboriginal astronomies. Diane died in May 2012 to the great sadness of members of the Blue Mountain Education and Research Trust but with deep appreciation for her lifetime's work.
 

Bruny D'Entrecasteaux

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Aboriginal Church Paintings: Reflecting on Our Faith
Edited by Eugene Stockton

Aboriginal Church Paintings by Eugene Stockton (ed)
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Aboriginal Church Paintings: Reflecting on Our Faith

ISBN: 9780646532387
Price: AU$20.00 +p&h
Authors: Eugene Stockton (editor)

PRODUCT DETAILS:
This unique publication provides an introduction to an aspect of Aboriginal spirituality that has not before been widely appreciated.

"The images illustrated (and discussed) in this book are unfamiliar and challenging to the western, Christian eye. They don't obey the standard liturgical or artistic rules of content and form. They certainly do not spring from any pre-conceived notion of how a 'religious' painting should look. However they do take us on a deeper theological and spiritual journey than any of the sentimental images that currently inhabit most of our churches." ...From the Preface by Terence O'Donnell

Generously illustrated in full colour, this book explores the varied responses by several Aboriginal artists, and groups of Aboriginal artists, across Australia to the Christian message, its relevance to their traditional culture and their firmly held beliefs. The result is a revealing insight into the depth of understanding of the Gospels by the artists and the important relevance this understanding has to Australian spirituality today.
 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Eugene StocktonFather Eugene Stockton has served as a parish priest and priest assistant to the Aboriginal Catholic Ministry (Parramatta Diocese). He has gained doctorates in theology and philosophy (Sydney) and a licentiate in sacred scripture (Rome). Lecturing for many years in the Catholic seminaries at Springwood and Manly, he has written widely on theology, spirituality, scripture, archaeology, anthropology and social issues.

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A Scriptural Way of the Cross
by Terence O'Donnell & Eugene Stockton

A Scriptural Way of the Cross by Terence O'Donnell & Eugene Stockton
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A Scriptural Way of the Cross

ISBN: 9780646528472
Price: AU$12.00 +p&h
Authors: Terence O'Donnell & Eugene Stockton

PRODUCT DETAILS:
This full-colour book, designed either for private devotion or with an assembly praying the Stations of the Cross, is based directly on the Gospel passages describing the Passion and Death of Jesus. The subjects for each Station are those chosen by Pope John Paul II when he officiated at a Scriptural Way of the Cross, at the Coliseum in Rome in 1991 and again in 1994. The traditional number of Stations is retained, but the events are only those referred to in the Scriptures. A Gospel reading and an appropriate Psalm upon which to meditate accompany each illustration.

In addition the book contains the full text of the Stabat Mater in English and a new translation of the song of The Suffering Servant of God, with commentary, by Eugene Stockton. Father Eugene has served as a parish priest and priest assistant to the Aboriginal Catholic Ministry (Parramatta Diocese). He has gained doctorates in theology and philosophy (Sydney) and a licentiate in sacred scripture (Rome). Lecturing for many years in the Catholic seminaries at Springwood and Manly, he has written widely on theology, spirituality, scripture, archaeology, anthropology and social issues.

The fourteen paintings of the Way of the Cross, reproduced in this book, are the work of Terence O'Donnell. They hang in the Catholic Church of Our Lady of the Nativity, at Lawson, in the Blue Mountains, New South Wales. Terence is currently a parishioner at Lawson. His other projects, concerned with religious subjects are located at Saint Brendan's Catholic Church, Annandale; Saint Paul of the Cross Catholic Church, Dulwich Hill; Saint Mel's Catholic Church, Campsie; and the chapel of the Seminary of the Good Shepherd at Homebush.

REVIEW:
"This little booklet brings together the Scriptures, the tradition of the Church on the passion of Jesus and the lives of Jesus' disciples today. All disciples of Jesus will find this booklet helpful in their everyday journey with Jesus" ...Bishop David Walker, Diocese of Broken Bay
 

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Sydney Rock : on the ways to the West
Edited by Eugene Stockton

Sydney Rock : on the ways to the West Edited by Eugene Stockton
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Sydney Rock : on the ways to the West

ISBN: 9780646905365
Price: AU$20.00 +p&h
Authors: Eugene Stockton (Editor)

EXCERPTS FROM THE WRITERS:
"Sydney Rock loomed large across the highway from my childhood home. In the 1940's we kids clambered over the Rock, imagining ourselves as early explorers who first crossed the Blue Mountains. Parties often enjoyed picnics on the Rock, savouring the far distant views and mountain breezes. During World War II one watched the search lights waving across the Sydney horizon and the fireworks at the War's end. In those years petrol rationing severely limited traffic on the highway, but since then increasingly heavy traffic has virtually closed access to the Rock and tree growth has hidden it from the view of passing motorists. Now, with the completion of the roadworks in 2012, Sydney Rock can be restored to public enjoyment, while the old railway cutting left partly unfilled allows inspection of the sandstone stratigraphy and of the pickmarks of the rock cutters (1867 and 1902)." ...Eugene Stockton.

"Sydney Rock is believed to be the westernmost outcrop of Hawkesbury Sandstone in the Blue Mountains. With the 2013 realignment of the road and railway, the now-abandoned and partly backfilled railway cutting on its southern flank exposes the contact between the Hawkesbury Sandstone (HSS) and the underlying Narrabeen Group rocks." ...Greg McNally

"After a severe drought during 1811 to 1813 on the Cumberland Plain, European landholders of the Colony based in Sydney wanted access through the barrier of the Blue Mountains to move stock to 'unoccupied' ground and pasture." ...Phil Mahoney

"Sydney Rock stands out highlighting the difficulties faced in constructing the road and railway, which passed around its flanks. With the Blue Mountains road well in place and much improved, settlement west of the Divide expanded rapidly up to the 1860's. Keenly felt more and more was the need of a railway for the mass transport not only for passengers but for the agricultural products of the West. Thought was given to a Grose River route or a horsedrawn tramway across the Mountains. A survey by the Royal Engineers concluded that extending the Sydney to Parramatta railway to Bathurst was impracticable. A different finding was reached in an independent survey by John Whitton. He was a young Yorkshireman with experience of railway construction in England, newly appointed Engineer-in-Chief of the state's railways. With singular vision and determination he overcame considerable opposition, both political and fiscal, to push for a route following the existing ridge-top road. Whitton's imaginative and technical powers were taxed as the route demanded that gradients and curvature came close to the limits imposed by trains at that time." ...Eugene Stockton

"Sydney Rock overlooked a precious pocket of bushland. About 3 acres (1.25 hectares) had been cut off between the road and the railway for almost 150 years, isolated from the timber cutters, grazing and bushfires that have regularly ravaged the bush of the Blue Mountains. This relict pocket of bushland has shown a remarkable diversity of plants." ...Chris Whiteman
 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Eugene StocktonFather Eugene Stockton has served as a parish priest and priest assistant to the Aboriginal Catholic Ministry (Parramatta Diocese). He has gained doctorates in theology and philosophy (Sydney) and a licentiate in sacred scripture (Rome). Lecturing for many years in the Catholic seminaries at Springwood and Manly, he has written widely on theology, spirituality, scripture, archaeology, anthropology and social issues.

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The Seasons in Haiku
by Jacinta Shailer sgs

Blue Mountains Dreaming by Eugene Stockton & John Merriman
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The Seasons in Haiku

ISBN: 9780646914480
Price: AU$14.00 +p&h
Author: Jacinta Shailer sgs

PRODUCT DETAILS:
The haiku are short poetic forms of three lines composed of five, seven and five syllables. This form of poetry originated in Japan in the seventeenth century, with Basho being the chief exponent. He wrote these glimpses of Nature in this form on his many journeys over the countryside in all kinds of weathers. Buson and Issa were also celebrated haiku writers. The haiku are each a kind of word picture and are inseparable from the changing seasons of spring, summer, autumn and winter. Sr Jacinta Shailer writes that: "in this booklet I have tried to capture some of the beauty of this poetic expression in English illustrated by photography of Australia, with the inclusion of a few photos from the country of the haiku's origin."
 

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Tossimo: Memories of Ethiopia
by Helena Gormally

Tossimo: Memories of Ethiopia by Helena Gormally
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Tossimo: Memories of Ethiopia

ISBN: 9780646569314
Price: AU$15.00 +p&h
Author: Helena Gormally

PRODUCT DETAILS:

The Dance of Creation (cover image of the book)
Painted by the author to mark the approach of the new Millenium. It was inspired by the dancing Maaza.

The Dancer
Eternal youthfulness in all persons, but
especially on the youthful continent of Africa
where rhythm, song and dance is so much a part
of daily life.

She treads lightly along the path of life, skipping
joyfully, dancing gaily in hope, like a child of
wonder.

Her hair flows into the hills, mountains, valleys
as she is a part of all of creation. It holds the
shades of all the hair colours of the peoples of
this Earth, with their holy origins, holy destinies
reaching to oneness.

Divine energy penetrates the three circles of
existence, as does the dancer. With her left hand
she beckons us to follow her in the dance because
we too, are the dance and the dancer dancing.

It is a delight to bring into public view this gem of writing. To most of us Ethiopia is a mysterious unknown. Embedded in Africa it yet has a unique geography, history, ethnic complexity and ancient Christian origins. Helena Gormally brings it to life for us in the stories of little people in the rural market town of Wolaita-Soddo. In the background we hear the turbulence of late 20th Century Ethiopia, the Communist Revolution, the Red Terror, the Famine of 1984-85, which often breaks into the lives of hapless villagers.

It is a story of joy and sorrow, of devastation and dancing, of misfortune and resilience. Woven into these threads is the remarkable story of a frenji, missionary, teacher and hermit. ...Eugene Stockton
 

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Will ye go, Lassie go: Celebrating the Life of Sr Bridget Harley D.C. by Sr Maeve O'Brien D.C.

Will ye go, Lassie go: Celebrating the Life of Sr Bridget Harley D.C. by Sr Maeve O'Brien D.C.
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Will ye go, Lassie go: Celebrating the Life of Sr Bridget Harley D.C.

ISBN: 9780994155504
Price: AU$20.00 +p&h
Author: Sr Maeve O'Brien D.C.

PRODUCT DETAILS:

I often heard Sr. Bridget referred to as 'a gracious lady' and that is what she was. I still remember a bit of advice she gave me once in a sticky situation: "Don't re-act. Act." It was wise advice. ...Sr. Helena Gormally D.C.
 

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FOR LENT: Days of Passion: Reflections on the Stations of the Cross
by Vic O'Callaghan & Susan Daly IBVM

Days of Passion: Reflections on the Stations of the Cross by Vic O'Callaghan & Susan Daly IBVM (ed)
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Days of Passion: Reflections on the Stations of the Cross

ISBN: 9780646567891
Price: AU$20.00 +p&h
Authors: Vic O'Callaghan & Susan Daly IBVM

PRODUCT DETAILS:
In this place many dramas have been enacted, so the torture and public murder of an innocent man should not have made a dint on the wheel of history. But the death of a certain Galilean cracked the rim. In theatrical terms, the story has everything; hero, villains, conflict, betrayal, denial, anguish, death and more...

"Attuned to moments of healing." ...Assoc. Prof. Anne Benjamin ACU

REVIEW:
This creative re-telling of Christ's passion is the fruit of a pilgrimage Vic O'Callaghan undertook to the Holy Land in 2010. In it he invites and accompanies the reader on a pilgrimage through the final day of Jesus' life to his resurrection, providing rich and imaginative texture to the historical context, the people and cultures, along the way.

He begins with a vivid overview of Jerusalem and its surrounding regions as a pilgrim would find it today and as imagined in Jesus' time, before introducing the reflections as speculations of what may have happened in the hearts and minds of characters who had significant parts to play during Jesus' passion.

Evoking the Ignatian method of placing oneself within the Scripture text, O'Callaghan takes poetic license in an effort to draw out prayerful reflection, including in the book the voices of fictional characters as well as those recorded in Scripture. For example, there is a moving description of Jesus stopping to talk to the women of Jerusalem (as told in Luke 8: 2-3) by Sarah, the imagined daughter of Joanna, the wife of Herod's steward, Chuz: "There is something wrong. If this man was a criminal, people would not be shedding tears. All my mother's friends and many more were wailing and crying out ... He fell. My breath stopped short as his head thudded into the dust. Soldiers hit and kicked and sneered."

Each station is arranged in five parts to facilitate individual or group reflection. The first part, Hold the Word, is the station as recounted in Scripture, second is Remember, the event as described through a witness, either real or imagined. The third part is Dive, which is a finely wrought poem reflecting on Jesus' own reaction to the event; the fourth, Dig, is a short story linking the station to a situation in contemporary life, and the fifth part, Rise, is a closing prayer.

Poignantly accompanied by jewel-coloured stained-glass illustrations by Susan Daily IBVM alongside dark, haunting graphics, Days of Passion explores themes of death and life, joy and sorrow, pain and pleasure, despair and faith.

This is a beautiful, searching book, ideal for use during Lent and Holy Week, and in enriching the reading of Scripture.

Marilyn Rodrigues is an author and journalist with The Catholic Weekly, NSW
 

Days of Passion

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FOR ADVENT: The Jesse Tree
by Vic O'Callaghan & Susan Daly IBVM

The Jesse Tree by Vic O'Callaghan & Susan Daly IBVM (ed)
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The Jesse Tree

ISBN: 9780646563121
Price: AU$20.00 +p&h
Authors: Vic O'Callaghan & Susan Daly IBVM

PRODUCT DETAILS:
This book has been written to reacquaint readers with characters who form the family tree of Jesus of Nazareth. The lineage is loosely drawn from Scripture and focuses on the theme of covenant. Having an understanding of how humanity discovered and lived out their agreements with the Lord, shines light on the meaning and depth of the 'New Covenant: It also depicts how ordinary people discovered the hand of the Lord in their daily lives.

Throughout the events in these stories, there are references to symbols of light and moisture. Light has been illustrated through the genesis of a spark, the accompaniment of candles, the employment of flint and the fulfilment of flame. Moisture has been depicted through mist and water.

The mist that surrounded our first parents still encircles the earth today, just as the water used in our own baptism could very well have been the same water used by The Baptist when he plunged Jesus into the Jordan.

This climb through Jesus' family tree is similar to folding through a collection of pictures from a family album. It is a getting to know you' time. Like coming home for Christmas. Our connectedness with our heritage is both deep in our psyche and laid on the skin of our consciousness. It is hoped that these reflections will inspire fertile learnings to bridge this gap.
 

The Jesse Tree

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Praying a Scripture Rosary in an Aboriginal Way – compiled by Helen-Mary Langlands fcj for the Aboriginal Catholic Ministry for Victoria

Praying a Scripture Rosary in an Aboriginal Way compiled by Helen-Mary Langlands fcj
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Praying a Scripture Rosary in an Aboriginal Way

ISBN: 9780646920641
Price: AU$15.00 +p&h
Author: Helen-Mary Langlands fcj (editor)

PRODUCT DETAILS:
The rosary beads pictured on the front cover have been made from gumnuts which have been gathered, drilled, processed and crocheted by Sr Helen-Mary Langlands FCJ and friends of Aboriginal Catholic Ministry. The large gumnuts have been drilled by Rev Charles Balnaves and Michael Balnaves. Gerard Dietrich, Vaughan Eddy, Frank McKinley, Rodney and Gabriel Augustine and Sr SharonTeresa RSJ drilled all sizes of gumnut. The crosses have been hand-crafted by Walter Valles,Trevor Clark and Sascha Grant. All crosses have been painted by Vicki Clark, Mutthi Mutthi. The Cross on the cover is made from Australian timber and rests on an Australian Aboriginal Flag.
 

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Come and See: Spirituality for Everyday Living
by Dr Kevin Treston

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Come and See: Spirituality for Everyday Living

Paperback
ISBN: 9780958132008 Creation Enterprises (Mar 2015 PB AU)
Author(s): Kevin Treston

BOOK DESCRIPTION:
Come and See: Spirituality for Everyday Living is offered as a resource for individual personal reflection as well as a resource for home/parish/school/small groups.

Although there has been a decline in church affiliation in Western countries, there is evidence of a growing interest in spirituality. In a culture driven by consumerism, people are searching for a spirituality which gives them deep meaning in their lives. While acknowledging the universal scope of spirituality, especially in the great religious traditions, the focus of this book is Christian spirituality.

  • Why the interest in spirituality today?
  • What are some changing patterns in the ways spirituality is being practised now?
  • What is the relationship between religion and spirituality?
  • How is the growing awareness about planetary health impacting on spirituality?
  • What are core themes in Christian spirituality?
  • What are some good practices in holistic spirituality?
  • What are the churches doing to foster spirituality?
     

This Book has four sections:

  • A general overview of the spiritual landscape
  • A spirituality of creation
  • Christian spirituality
  • Spiritual practices for everyday living
     

Reflection questions are embedded in the text and at the conclusion of each chapter.
 

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Readers may also be interested in the newsletter of the
Blue Mountains Association of Cultural Heritage Organisations.

Heritage Newsletter

Click the image above or HERE to read the latest edition of Heritage the newsletter of the Blue Mountains Association of Cultural Heritage Organisations.
Heritage Newsletter
Earlier editions available at:
Jul-Aug 2016
May-Jun 2016
Mar-Apr 2016
Jan-Feb 2016
Nov-Dec 2015
Sep-Oct 2015
Jul-Aug 2015
May-Jun 2015
Mar-Apr 2015
Jan-Feb 2015
Nov-Dec 2014
Sep-Oct 2014
Jul-Aug 2014
Mar-Apr 2014
Jan-Feb 2014

Or the Newsletter of the
Blue Mountains Interfaith Group.

Light Over The Mountains newsletter

Click the image above or HERE to read the latest edition of the Light Over the Mountains newsletter of the Blue Mountains Interfaith Group.
Earlier editions available at:
Mar-Apr 2014
Nov-Dec 2013
Jul-Aug 2013
Mar-Apr 2013
Nov-Dec 2012
Jul-Aug 2012
Mar-Apr 2012

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