R U OK … with change?

R U OK … with change?
Simon Harvey

Yes, I know, a big question … too general. There’s so much that is changing, some change we welcome, but other change we resist … even fear. The speed of change (ref. Future Shock by Alvin Toffler 1970) is often the biggest challenge! Resisting, monitoring, or advocating for change is core Kensington Association business.

Since the inception of North West City News I, and other association members, have written much about change in our built environment. Community stories and experiences about building are manifold. The southern residents of Rankins Rd, near to Kensington Station, strongly resisted the change to the park east of the station, but now it’s established, they love it. Just a stone’s throw further east, the hapless residents of Barnett St are having to cope with a gigantic apartment development over their back fences. A happy outcome for them is very hard to imagine.

The association has recently become involved with the Kensington Reconciliation Action Group (KRAG). Maybe it’s only a personal feeling, but the impending vote on “the Voice” and constitutional change has heightened my awareness of Indigenous rights and history. I remember a conversation I had with David Tacey (Latrobe academic and author) in the late ‘90s. He had lived in an Indigenous community for a while, and wrote about “contemporary spirituality”; he felt strongly that Australia wouldn’t “grow up” until it came to grips with its Aboriginal heritage. That perspective rang true to me then, and today it seems to have been considerably amplified.

Since KRAG is an “action” group, it throws up an obvious question; what can we do to further reconcile with the traditional custodians of the land on which we live and work? Well, we are starting with a small, local, but significant issue. Those who have visited the “Conference Room” at the Kensington Town Hall will have seen the “honour boards” hanging in that room. We (Kensington Association) have asked how appropriate some of these boards are since they date from an era steeped in “white Australia” thinking. Next month (in this column) Kate Kennedy (an association member) will delve more into the issues surrounding this potential change.

Over recent years we have been asked – R U OK with same-sex marriage? On a more personal level, some parents are being asked – R U OK with your child telling you they are gay or questioning their gender identity? We have had elections, so we have been asked – R U OK with our representative governments? In this paper, Kensington Association articles – without directly asking a question – are actually asking – R U OK with, for example, with the level of development along Macaulay Rd?

Particularly if our answer to an “R U OK” question is negative, I believe it’s important to carefully reflect on what follows. What action can you take? What action do you take? What happens if there is a residue of “non-acceptance” which persists over time? Do you know or understand enough? Who have you been listening to? If you need to vote, how will you vote? •

John Buncle

John Buncle

February 14th, 2024 - Felicity Jack
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