Over the Moonbah logo







News > 22/4/2012

Marek Rygielski's speech at the festival

This speech was delivered by Marek Rygielski at Moonbah on April 14, 2012, during the opening of the Over the Moonbah festival.

Image: Marek

Image: wedding

Image: Kozzie Fest

Click images to enlarge

I am Marek Rygielski from Brisbane, member of the Association of the Polish Community in Queensland. 29 years ago, when I was three year old, I climbed Mt Kosciuszko for the first time. Strictly saying I wasn't exactly climbing. It was my dad who was climbing with me in the sling all the way from Charlotte Pass and back. All I remember is that it was a long way on the sunny, spring day and we did not meet anybody at all. It was a great relieve when I was allowed to use my own feet at the summit of Australia and claim the ascent.

Seventeen years later, in company of former deputy Prime Minister Tim Fisher and some other dignitaries as well as media and Olympians paraplegics, upon my father's request, I was carrying the Polish flag to the top of Mt Kosciuszko. There, it emphasised the link this mountain has with Paul Edmund Strzelecki and the Polish community. The flag was vastly used as a photographic element by a number of participants of Tumbatrek.

On another occasion, under parental supervision, I extended my knowledge of the Snowy Mountains by undertaking a small expedition to Mt Jagungal – the legendary mountain located in the rarely visited, northern part of the highest Australian range, which Strzelecki surely had seen from both Mt Townsend and Mt Kosciuszko.

To supplement my interests in Paul Edmund Strzelecki's achievements and again being supervised, I climbed Strzelecki's Peaks on Flinders Island. On the same day my father invited me to a farmer living on the island. There we went to a barn where a small plane was waiting for us. The farmer turned into a pilot and flew us above rocky crags of Strzelecki's Peaks, arising vertically from the Tasman Sea.

Today I will have an opportunity to add to my links with Strzelecki's traces in Australia another great experience. To fly together above Mt Kosciuszko with a representative of the native people who helped Strzelecki to find the highest mountain of this continent and even saved his life earlier, during exploration of the Blue Mountains. I believe that Aborigenes and Poles, who never participated in any conflict against each other and never harmed each other may help together in protecting heritage of this mountain as close as possible to the Dreamtime. Our young generation would play an important role in it.

Speech by Marek Rygielski, photos by Puls Polonii; article courtesy of Puls Polonii

Kosciuszko Heritage  
Over the Moonbah festival