As part of BIC’s commitment to NAIDOC Week, we learnt about Aboriginal culture and history from Donna Ingram who is a proud Wiradjuri woman and cultural representative for her community. Aunt Donna took us on a walking tour through Redfern starting at the National Centre of Indigenous Excellence where we discovered some interesting facts.
In the last 200 years Australia’s first peoples have survived and endured since the arrival of the first Europeans in 1788. So began BIC’s 2 hour historical journey through the streets of Redfern.
We learnt about Mum Shirl who cared for and nurtured many of her “son’s” in the lock up. As she had to be blood related in order to be able to visit and help anyone in prison, Mum Shirl’ signed in as their Mother which she then became known as in the wider community. Such was her dedication to helping those that were victimised over the years that she was recognised as an Australian Living Treasure.
Throughout our walk Aunt Donna engaged with other local people who shared snippets of their stories. One modest gentleman we met paints amazing street murals and another is a dancer who is a boat deckhand in between performances. We met Aunt Donna’s sister, Narelle who takes two weeks off every year to be part of NAIDOC, such is her commitment to her community and sharing her knowledge and wisdom.
We then made a stop at the Tin Humpy Café where we learnt of the Mother and daughter Team who own and run the café. They both retrained in the hospitality industry to open a now thriving business serving indigenous food in what used to be an old garage full of junk transformed into a warm and comfortable space to share native Aboriginal food with the local community.
The walk was inspiring, insightful and uplifting all at once, ending in hugs, thank you’s and the promise of organising the next gathering to recognise and honour Australia’s first peoples.
Thank you to Aunt Donna who gave us a deeper and broader perspective on our history and taught us what NAIDOC Week really means.