Indigenous ‘old ways’ a shared path to modern wellbeing


NSW Legal practitioners have been urged to look to our continent’s ancient past to help cope with the pressures of the present.

President of the Law Society of NSW Joanne van der Plaat said she was thrilled to host First Nations author Paul Callaghan in a ‘fireside chat’ to discuss his book, The Dreaming Path.

“The timeliness of the message of The Dreaming Path is extraordinary, given the renewed impetus of the Commonwealth Government towards the full implementation of the Uluru Statement From The Heart, as supported by the Law Society of NSW and NSW Young Lawyers,” Ms van der Plaat said.

The Dreaming Path shares with the entire community aspects of the Aboriginal relationship with Country which underpins their connection with each other and the land.

In the book, Mr Callaghan expresses an ‘unshakeable belief in the applicability, importance and transferability of traditional Aboriginal cultural knowledge to the modern world’. He adds that, ‘Bringing the two worlds together will benefit us all’.

Ms van der Plaat described the publication by an Aboriginal person of these ideas as an extraordinarily generous act.

“This book, now available to all, has the potential to elevate our ambition from reconciliation to mutual celebration of the most ancient culture on the planet,” Ms van der Plaat said.

“Mr Callaghan’s book advocates all Australians consider seeking connection to Culture and Country to find wellbeing in a world full of anxiety-inducing stressors and worries,” Ms van der Plaat said.

“My first priority as President of the Law Society for 2022 is ‘Supporting the profession’s health and wellbeing’ and I’ve found Paul’s advice to be an invaluable tool for putting the pressures of modern legal practice into perspective.”

The Dreaming Path is a joint project of Mr Callaghan and respected elder Uncle Paul Gordon whose stories and advice are reproduced throughout the book.

The ‘fireside chat’ entitled ‘Staying Well in the Law with Aboriginal Lore’ is one of the Law Society’s ongoing series of sessions designed to help lawyers maintain their health and wellbeing in a very stressful occupation.