Note: As part of cultural protocol in Australia the following ‘warning’ must be mentioned:
Warning – This story features photographs of First Nations people who have since passed away. This warning is provided as a courtesy for First Nations people who may find this distressing.
It is a time for healing, a time for sharing, a time for understanding the significance of Birria to so many people, his descendants, and his Baha’i family.
Uncle Fred Murray’s story has been precious to me since I was a teenager and came across a pamphlet created by his dear friend, and former Counsellor, Howard Harwood.
I became curious to know more about in my twenties. so curious I made a trip to South Australia to speak to people who had known him.
Many years, and just before the pandemic I followed this trip up, with another journey to South Australia.
On that trip I was able to meet the daughter of Madge Williams, and the great granddaughter of Uncle Fred and source several other materials. Over the years I have also written to many Baha’i communites around the world for materials from their archives, from Baha’is who travelled to Australia for the opening of the Sydney Temple, or who encountered or personally met Uncle Fred at the World Congress.
Such precious moments. I visited dear Madge, who has now passed on (pictured below). She was always such an inspiration encouraging me to finish this story one day and never giving up on this happening. I am so sad she won’t be there to see its completion.
I am thankful that in my twenties I took the time to interview Madge and that she held onto that transcript and returned it to me many years later.
Presently my plan is to invite both Baha’is and descendants to contribute to this history project and inform them of everything I have gathered so far. And with the blessing of all these people to bring it into a form we can present powerfully to as many people as possible.
My research over many years, has led to some incredible findings, such as his passport in the South Australian Museum and a painted portrait by Uncle Fred, as well as a wood carving he did of a kangaroo.
I thank all of you who have supported this project and forwarded your materials, and hope to let you know soon that we are ready to share the materials, as well as looking forward to hearing from more people, especially descendants who can give consent for use of materials in the South Australian museum archives, and their sharing to the wider public and all those who wish to know how much Uncle Fred means to the Australian Baha’i community.