Greg Locke holding a piece of his artworks
Greg Locke holding a piece of his artworks

Miles man’s tragedies leads to love of culture

UNCLE Greg Locke has suffered much loss in his life, but the one thing that has remained a constant is his culture.

The Kooma elder has suffered the loss of his sister and his son, and was the victim in a home invasion that left him with severe injuries.

But it was these life-changing moments that lead him to where he is today and he wants to educate the younger generations of the Western Downs.

In fact, he didn’t know he was indigenous until later on in life.

“We didn’t find out until later on in life because Mum married Dad, and Dad had to give up his Aboriginal culture to marry Mum,” he said.

“Once I found that out, I went and got recognised, got my papers and now I’m a very proud Kooma man!

“My people are the Murra Murra people from St George and Cunnamulla.”

His father snuck in some opportunities to teach his son about traditional culture, but it wasn’t easy for them to continue their lessons together.

“My father taught me, but around Mum couldn’t talk about it,” he said.

“Dad used to teach us about looking at patterns of snakes.”

They had a farm that fronted a rainforest with a cave, where they would connect to their culture.

“It was beautiful,” he said.

“No white man knows it, because if they knew it was there, they’d go and damage it.

“They helped our people to build Australia up and everything but it’s our culture going all the way before white man came here.”

It was these early experiences that would shape his future.

Mr Locke suffered two strokes in the early 2000s, but his doctor gave him a unique suggestion to help him regain movement in his hand.

He picked up a paintbrush and took to the canvas as a means of gaining back his strength.

Through this he gained so much more - a passion for art and a desire to educate.

Greg’s wood art
Greg’s wood art

Mr Locke said he suffered a home invasion last year where he was brutally beaten and as a result, it took him over 8 months to start painting again.

The Miles man has kicked back into gear and is on a mission to teach the younger generation about indigenous culture through artwork, storytelling and outdoor activities.

“My ambition is to teach the young ones our culture,” he said.

“We want to bring the culture back around here.”

Mr Locke and his wife Dee moved to Miles over a year ago and have big ambitions for the future of the town.

“What we want to do is have an art gallery in Miles where people can come and see my work and everything,” he said.

The sessions he’s held at Miles State High School have showcased his work and teachings to the students.

“It’s for white and for indigenous to let them know what our culture’s about,” he said.

“It’s the young generation now that’s got to learn.”

He would like to encourage young people to go out on the land and practice culture to see what it’s all about, just as he did with his father.

“I like to start up by taking them out to bush and teaching them culture,” he said.

“We’re getting old and this is when we gotta start having the young ones starting to learn what our ancestors did way back.

“Go out in the bush, go out and make your own humpies, make your own boomerangs, make our own spears again.”

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