I am driving up to Cappeedee, a sheep and wheat property situated in the Booborowie Valley, approximately two hundred kilometres north of the South Australian capital city of Adelaide and seven kilometres west of the township of Hallett. Cappeedee has been the home of my mother's family for five generations. I am returning to Cappeedee to interview my cousin and uncle to further my understanding of how settler descendants who have close connections with land occupied by their forebears in the nineteenth century are conscious of the colonial past. In particular, I'm interested to learn whether and how Aboriginal people feature in the narratives and understandings of this group.
I grew up on Popperinghi, a property which neighbours Cappeedee to the north. When I was young, Cappeedee was the home of my cousins (who were close in age to my brother and me) and my uncle and aunt. As my mother's childhood home and a place which was part of our everyday lives, in many ways Cappeedee felt like our home too. We learned about our maternal family's connection with Cappeedee as we went about our lives – through playing in the house, gardens and sheds when we were younger, and exploring the hills and creek lines and helping our fathers with the sheep work when we were older. We grew up absorbing stories and knowledge of Cappeedee through being in place and through listening to my mother's, uncles’, grandparents’ and greataunts’ conversations. My maternal family's consciousness of the colonial past and deep attachment and sense of belonging to Cappeedee transferred to us.
My parents sold Popperinghi in the late 1990s. My uncle and aunt have semi- retired to Adelaide, and their son, Angus, has moved into the big house. I haven't been home, back to Hallett, for almost ten years. I drive up the Mt Bryan Valley, between the towns of Burra and Mt Bryan, past the properties Three Trees, Woollana and Mackerode. Massive wind farms now cover the bare hills on the western side of the highway. Not long after I visited Cappeedee, a South Australian Museum employee told me that Ngadjuri descendants had concerns over the positioning of the wind farms.