Uncle Reg Knox transcript

Start of Transcript

(PEACEFUL MUSIC)

Description:

Photograph of an adult Uncle Reg Knox in the process of painting an image of a woman’s face in the clouds onto an ethereal pale blue landscape. Hovering above the woman are two other faces of Aboriginal men. At the bottom of the painting is a native bird stretching its wings.

Photograph of Uncle Reg kneeling in front of one of his paintings, smiling, with his signature denim cap on his head. This painting shows an orange landscape with a stylised figure in a canoe at the top right. 

Uncle Reg is sitting in a chair, in his home, facing the camera.

Uncle Reg Knox:

My name is Reginald Knox and I come from Toomelah, Boggabilla.

Text on screen:

Our Aunties and Uncles

Uncle Reg Knox

Description:

Black and white photograph of Toomelah Boggabilla Aboriginal Mission.

Uncle Reg Knox:

I was on a mission and I didn't like that mission part of it.

Description:

Uncle Reg is sitting in a chair, in his home, facing the camera.

Uncle Reg Knox:

So the mission is Toomelah or Toomelah Boggabilla Aboriginal Mission.

Description:

Black and white photograph of children from Toomelah Boggabilla Aboriginal Mission. The photograph was taken between 1947-1949, and is part of the National Library of Australia’s collection.

Uncle Reg Knox:

There were a lot of kids there, about two or three hundred kids, my age.

Description:

Black and white photograph of members of Uncle Reg Knox’s family standing on the veranda of a house.  There appears to be thirteen children of various ages, and three adults.

Uncle Reg Knox:

I had a big family there was eight and nine of us and I didn't know my father much. He died in the war.

Description:

Black and white photograph of members of Uncle Reg Knox’s family outdoors, against a wall. There are five children of various ages (one girl and four boys) and a man and woman. Image changes to a black and white photograph of a man in uniform standing behind three young children.

Uncle Reg Knox:

So I didn't know him very much. My mother raised me, yeah.

Description:

Missy Knox sitting at a table in their family home, talking to the camera.

Missy Knox:

Dad was under the Act like so many of his of his generation. His wages were taken by the Protector or the manager of the mission like so many of them. His education was limited to Grade 4.

Description:

Black and white photograph of many Aboriginal adults and some children standing or sitting in the open tray of the Toomelah Aboriginal Station truck. Three adults are standing on the ground around the truck. Everyone is facing the camera. The photograph was taken between 1947-1949, and is part of the National Library of Australia’s collections.

Uncle Reg Knox:

Being under the Act, you were dictated to by the manager of the mission and his wife.

Description:

Uncle Reg is sitting in a chair, in his home, facing the camera.

Uncle Reg Knox:

Whatever you did, you was pulled up at each place, going to work or coming home from work. If you went away for a week, you come back and pull up at that house, go within, went home.

Description:

Missy Knox sitting at a dinner table in their family home, talking to the camera.

Missy Knox:

I know that as a young boy he spent a lot of time with the older people, with the elders, and the way they were sort of rounded up and put on the mission, they came from various areas. The languages would have been a mixture of both or all three.

Description:

Uncle Reg is sitting in a chair, in his home, facing the camera.

Uncle Reg Knox:

My granny used to look after me and she used to talk to me in the lingo and tell me what to say in lingo and all that sort of thing you know. Even though, she spoke English, just a little bit, but all the time with me, she spoke in the lingo.

Description:

Missy Knox sitting at a dinner table in their family home, talking to the camera.

Missy Knox:

Lingo wasn't really tolerated at the time but I think it must have been hard for the powers that be and the authorities to sort of stop the older ones.  So that's how dad come to know lingo.

Description:

Colour photograph of a painting with three Aboriginal men, one much larger than the two as if in the sky looking down with eyes closed. They are covered in ochre or white body paint. Other stylised people designs figures as seen in Aboriginal rock art can be seen in the painting.

Uncle Reg Knox:

Oh I liked art when I went to school and most of the Aboriginal kids did art, from home.

Description:

Uncle Reg is sitting in a chair, in his home, facing the camera.

Uncle Reg Knox:

They learned it at home and from their parents or Elders.

Description:

Colour photograph of wall mural painted by Uncle Reg. that appears to be located at a school. A multi-coloured serpent shaped in a circle, can be seen. Inside the circle is a painted landscape of a tree beside a waterway, with a mountain range in the background. Uncle Reg’s trademark signature that he uses on all of his artwork can be seen within the bottom right hand corner of the landscape, on a rocky ledge that juts out into the water. Outlines of children’s hands edged in brown or blue can be seen around the serpent, with dot painted symbols stretching out in a curve.

Uncle Reg Knox:

That's how I come to be an artist.

(FOLK MUSIC)

Description:

Colour photograph of Uncle Reg as a young man standing outdoors, dressed smartly. Uncle Reg is wearing his signature cap and sunglasses. He has a peeled banana in his hand and is looking away from the camera.

Missy Knox:

My father for many years, when I was a kid growing up, he did a traineeship and went to art school.

Description:

Photograph of a framed landscape oil painting on canvas entitled, Scrubby Creek. This is an ethereal landscape of a creek shrouded in mist, with many vines climbing up the trees.This was painted in 1997 and was commissioned by the Logan Art Gallery. Camera zooms and focuses on aspects of the painting.

Missy Knox:

I sort of never understood why because to me and to others, his artwork was outstandingly beautiful. But clearly he was his own worst critic and he obviously wanted to really perfect his style and really get it down right. Which by the time he sort of finished painting indeed he had accomplished, he had really perfected the style.

Description:

Colour photograph of Uncle Reg as a young man wearing his signature cap, against the outside wall of a house. He is holding a painting. Camera focuses on his face.

Camera changes to Missy Knox sitting at a table in their family home.

Missy Knox:

I wasn't particularly bonded to Dad at this stage. He was off trying to get money to support the family. I was sort of probably closer to mum, I guess. By time I got to my later teens, I sort of started focusing more on Dad. I was sort of a little bit off the rails a bit. And Dad could obviously see that. And he invited me to come to work with him.

Description:

Uncle Reg is sitting in a chair, in his home, facing the camera.

Uncle Reg Knox:

Missy come out to work with me and she worked with me in different places and I get some, try to work out what she could do too, you know.

Description:

Colour photograph of an older Uncle Reg in profile at a school. He is facing a group of seated school children outside of a classroom. He is talking to them.

Missy Knox:

I sort of sat up the back where the kids are gathered and he said some very empowering words in a soft way.

Description:

Colour photograph of an older Uncle Reg wearing a bush hat in an outdoor school shed, sitting with six school children. There is an Aboriginal art mural of stylised animals behind them on one of the walls. It appears to be ochre brown and white colours. 

Camera changes to Missy Knox sitting at a table in their family home.

Missy Knox:

So in effect I guess he was going to offer me, what he had been doing them.

Description:

Colour photograph of an older Uncle Reg wearing a cap, working on a mural with two school children. The mural goes across two walls, and includes a multi-coloured circular pattern. Inside the circular

pattern is a painted landscape with a dinosaur in front of a waterway, with a mountain in the background. The children have their hands next to the ochre outlines of many hands.

Camera changes to Missy Knox sitting at a dinner table in their family home.

Missy Knox:

I very quickly became addicted to being with him and sort of would accompany him, all the time. And then he sort of said 'Hey my baby you want to just put a bit of colour here and little bit there.' I never did art at school. I'd never thought I was artistic. I was more musically inclined.

Description:

Colour photograph of Missy Knox as a smiling young woman, painting a school mural on a wall, with Aboriginal art designs.

Missy Knox:

But he put a paint brush in my hand. So I started to design the murals.

Description:

Colour photograph of a close-up of an aspect of a mural. There is a “porthole” circle with Aboriginal dot style. Inside the “porthole” circle is a landscape painting of a simple, historical hut in the outback.

Missy Knox:

 And we would do like portholes and his landscape would appear inside of depicting these historical events.

Description:

Two colour photographs of murals on school walls. Both display landscapes as the focus, with an outside border of outlined school children’s hands.

Missy Knox:

Or a landscape of the local area might be a request, an environmental type mural.

Description:

Photograph of Missy Knox as a young woman, smiling, and Uncle Reg Knox, looking proud, standing together in front of a school mural.

Missy Knox:

Everywhere he went, I went, and everyone calls me his shadow because anywhere he was, I was there.

Description:

Colour photograph of Uncle Reg in front of a classroom, with many children hands raised to speak. In the background is an easel that Uncle Reg has started to draw on.

Missy Knox:

I started to see him as something that is the true epitome of an elder.

Description:

Colour photograph of Uncle Reg in a classroom, focused on a canvas, drawing a figure with long hair in a scrunchy. There are children watching on.

Missy Knox:

That he was quiet, dignified and humble…

Description:

Black and white photograph of Uncle Reg with a spray gun, painting the outlines of their hands on a mural. There are three children facing the camera. One of the children has a hand against the wall, waiting to have a spray painted hand done by Uncle Reg.

Missy Knox:

And yet he had this wonderful way of helping you solve your own problems and find peace within yourself.

Description:

Camera changes to Missy Knox sitting at a dinner table in their family home.

Missy Knox:

His teaching was that we're all here together and it's so important that, although we have differences, as our DNA and our uniqueness tells us, that we find the common things that we have, and we move forward together, because we can't survive if we're in conflict.

Description:

Camera shows image of a photograph frame with two images: one of Uncle Reg as an older man in front of one of his paintings, and the other of Uncle Reg holding a Citizen certificate proudly.

Camera changes to show Uncle Reg having a cuppa with Missy Knox, sitting in their lounge room, enjoying their conversation, smiling and laughing.

Text on screen:

Uncle Reg suffered a stroke in 2007

He continues to paint at his home in Kingston, Logan City.

Missy Knox:

Everything that we have today, us young blackfellas, is because of their sacrifice.

Description:

Missy Knox sitting at a table in their family home.

Missy Knox:

I think if you can spend as much time with your Elders as possible and learn what you can, feel this connection inside you. Everything will be okay, as long as you have that inner peace that they give you. The tools they give you to find that, even if you don't know who you are or where you're from. Know that you're a blackfella, know that you're a Murri. No matter how fair skinned you are, it is in here, always.

And the old people, the elders are very much like that. They don't judge you by how black or how fair you are, they know what's in here. That's how they operate, see. They are the way to peace so learn what you can from them and treasure them. They are here for a short period of time. They take with them all that. If we don't learn it, it won't be there.

(FOLK MUSIC)

Description:

Colour photograph of a mural. Uncle Reg as an older man has been painted into the mural, with his signature cap and glasses.

Text on screen:

Director

DOUGLAS WATKIN

Camera

MATT COX

Editor

AXEL GRIGOR

Text on screen:

The Our Aunties and Uncles digital stories project is supported through funding from the Australian Government’s Your Community Heritage Program.

Image of Australian Government’s logo

Image of Logan City Council logo

Text on screen:

Logan City Council gratefully acknowledges the time, resources and stories of the following:

Uncle Reg Knox

Missy Knox

Nyeumba-Meta Advisory Group

Text on screen:

Logan City Council acknowledges permission granted by the National Library of Australia to digitally publish the following photographgraphs:

Toomelah Aboriginal Stations, Boggabilla, New South Wales, ca. 1947-1949.

Station Truck, Toomelah Aboriginal Station, Boggabilla, New South Wales, ca. 1947-1949.

Text on screen:

For Mobo Jarjum - tomorrow’s children

Text on screen:

© 2014 Logan City Council

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