The one thing she passed on to me was that you’ve got to work. That you’ve got to work for what you want, it doesn’t just get handed to you.
What does NAIDOC Week mean to you?
I think it’s just about recognising Indigenous people in the community and it’s a bit like closing the gap, just bringing awareness. I don’t think a lot of people are aware of the disadvantages and just how hard it is for some Indigenous people to overcome certain things.
I think this year’s theme, Because of Her We Can, was a great idea.
Growing up, seeing people like Cathy Freeman, Deborah Mailman in the media was really important to me. My kids now watch and admire Jessica Mauboy, so having those sorts of people in the media is important for young kids to see Indigenous women succeed.
My daughters are proud of their heritage. My eldest is employed by Woolworths under an Indigenous program and my youngest won an Indigenous Award in Primary School. My children are very interested in their heritage, it’s just hard when I haven’t had the contact with my Indigenous side of the family
Did any women leave an impression on you growing up?
The only woman I can think of is when I was a teenager. My mum used to work at an aged care facility and my Mum used to bring home an elderly Indigenous lady called Granny Diamond. I just remember being fascinated by her.
We didn’t know how old she was, but she kept telling us that she was 100. Being a teenager and a bit naughty, I thought she was just wonderful because she was a real character. We all thought she couldn’t walk and we had to help her go to the toilet and around the house. But after a while, money and cigarettes used to go missing. One night I was hiding in my bedroom and I looked out and saw her get out of her wheelchair and walk around. I thought to myself that when I’m old I want to be like that. She was just cheeky.
So Mum would bring home Indigenous people who didn’t have a family and Granny Diamond was one of those and would tell us stories.
Maybe my Mum’s generosity and open home might have influenced me to take people in throughout my life.