Dumbo Feather Issue 59

Dumbo Feather is an iconic Australian magazine. Published quarterly for seven years, and hailed around the world as a design leader, it is a magazine like no other. Our readers are people who want to be told a different story than the one they hear every day. Each quarterly issue features five extended (20 page) profiles of people worth knowing, across enterprise, education, science, sport, politics, fashion and the arts. Whether they’ve touched millions, or just those around them, we take the time to get to know these people, and ask them to tell us their stories.

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3 Edities

in deze editie

2 min

Dear friend, It occurred to me recently that I’ve been preparing a rather cushy bed from which to carry out my life, padding it with comforts that make it a difficult place to leave. And it’s okay, I tell myself, because I’m not causing harm to anyone from here, I’m being conscious of my impact, I’m working and contributing—I’m doing good. I’ve got my values in check and so I’m going to stay in my cushy bed because it’s frankly very nice and, most importantly, it’s safe. But over time, safety and comfort bring a kind of stagnancy and familiarity that dulls the human spirit. We enter a humdrum state where we’re no longer hearing (let alone responding to) the impulses that emerge from within—impulses that might invite us to try something…

3 min
the path of decisive change

Across the world, political and environmental instability has intensified, making firm ground hard to find, both internally and externally. In such a volatile climate, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed, fearful, angry or anxious about all the raging going on, and it’s equally understandable to want to take a break and bury our heads in a soft, cool spot of sand. But in the longer term, we need to find a more robust response if we are to effectively manage the uncertainty facing all of us. We need to be brave, strong, wise, intentional and self-aware. In short, we need courage. Courage is shaped by consciousness and risk. Finding courage means making deliberate decisions and choices, and taking purposeful action in the face of frightening or painful circumstances in order to effect…

4 min
the yardstick of valour

My grandfather was a courageous man. A renowned war correspondent, he was with the Australian infantry during the fiercest fighting on the Kokoda Track, and reported from the front lines of the American-led invasion of Germany. He scaled the sheer rock faces of the Three Sisters in the Blue Mountains—in spite of his terror of heights. Or perhaps because of it. Strongly invested in the traditional notion of masculine bravery, he despised his own fear, and overcame it by forcing himself to sit with his feet dangling over the edge of precipices. His early letters to my grandmother, written at the start of the New Guinea campaign, before his first experience of combat, are full of this ancient masculine ethos, and his fear of falling short. He writes of a…

3 min
courageous communication

The word courage came to English via the word coeur, French for heart. This startlingly simple insight refreshes our understanding about what courage is. Coeur places it at the core of human experience: caring for the hearts of others, accepting the challenge to follow one’s own heart, and simultaneously dismantling the barriers in doing so—of which fear is usually primary. Its configuration is generous to others, true to self and overcoming. It is all three, combined. In acts of courage, hearts are lifted together. These include “small” acts—the inherent vulnerability means they never feel small. I see this daily in the speech pathology clinic: a child has another go at saying a sentence he can’t construct. Or in the prison where I work: a mother vulnerably tells the parenting-skills group, “I…

9 min
honouring the freedom seekers

Courage for our people means so many things. Over the past 250 years, we have swum to the deepest parts of the ocean. We have climbed to the top of mountains that we didn’t know existed, faced with harsh, extreme conditions at every peak. We have sifted through flatlands of powdered sands in an attempt to retrieve what has been taken and to find what we have lost as a people. We have lived on the fringes of abundant and wasteful cities, walked the streets of our own Homelands with nowhere to go, cut out from a supply of unlimited and plentiful resources that were previously bestowed through a complex and vast kinship system that guided our roles, responsibilities and obligations to each other, to ceremony and to the land. When…

8 min
a movement from the heart

I was born and bred on Larrakia country, which is Darwin. My father is a Torres Strait Islander. He moved from Thursday Island to the Northern Territory when he was 17 years old to work at Frances Creek Mine. Torres Strait Islanders were famous for their work ethic. They built the Pilbara railway in world record time. My dad was from that generation of Islanders, a really hard worker. He fell in love with my mother in the NT and ended up staying there. My mother’s father was a Polish refugee. So I grew up in Darwin, and I became a wharfie when I was 17 years old. That’s where I really learned about unity and the importance of structure behind a union. When I was 20, the ’98 Patricks dispute…