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Being Alex: Life as a 'New Age' Indigenous Youth

Alexander Habilay is no stranger to this magazine! One of our most creative writers, readers have been blessed with his witty talents for the past two years. Alex is the first person to be featured in a series where, each month, we aim to showcase some of the many talents and beliefs held by the indigenous residents of our community.

From the Quandamooka people of North Stradbroke Island, Alex, like so many young Australians, embraces all facets of his heritage. Whilst his father is Aboriginal, Alex’s mother is New Guinean and there is also a mix of German and Chinese in the family. Alex and his siblings were taught by their mother to hold onto their roots and embrace their culture.

Alex is involved in NAIDOC (National Aborigines and Islanders Day Observance Committee) celebrations each year, but believes that the majority of indigenous events held in Australia are just token days on a calendar. He would love to see NAIDOC week in particular heavily supported by the Australian Government and mainstream media.

“I’d love to see the entire nation behind it and showcase indigenous artwork and do different workshops and look at it from a tourism perspective to make it feasible in a monetary way,” Alex enthused.

Alex believes ‘New Age’ Aborigines can make reconciliation more than just a political buzzword. With new ideas on how to celebrate indigenous heritage, they have learnt how to project these ideas in ways which can be consumed by all Australians. “I’m hoping that the new age indigenous can bring back the power and the strength into our culture,” he stated.

It’s happening in small doses already. “NITV (National Indigenous Television) is great! Triple J does a lot. Playschool – that’s how it should be done!” he declares. “They drop all these little seeds in to your mind as a kid, and next thing you know you’ve got a tree blooming!” In ten years from now, Alex would love ‘that’ box to disappear! (From all job applications, forms, etc., declaring indigenous heritage) “I’d like to see it unnecessary to declare my Aboriginality to be considered for a role,” he said. “I want Australia to embrace all religions and cultures of the world - because that’s what we’re made up of. It’s not ‘White Australia’, or ‘Black Australia’, or ‘Brown Australia’ – it’s ‘STRAYA’!”

When Alex isn’t writing, he works for the Sunshine Coast Council as a Conservationist, where he aims to eradicate pest plants and animals and learn more about native species. Studying for qualifications in Conservation and Land Management, Alex lives in Kallangur and loves that he has the ability to pass on indigenous customs, scary stories and bush survival skills to his friends.


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