Wednesday, 4 January 2017

The Aunties I, 2017

When I want to be reminded of what is worth my time worrying about, and what I should be grateful for, I dip in to my Aunties memories of their childhood.

Aunties childhood home 1940s
Photo Siv Parker 2015


Aunty Mary

I didn’t go to school. Not really. I went to school in town for a few months and then I went to work for the Youngs on the station and all my schooling was by correspondence. Mrs Young gave me correspondence, taught me how to read.


Aunty Yvonne

When I was old enough to go to school, I was eleven and before that it wasn’t compulsory, But when I was eleven…


Aunty Mary

It wasn’t compulsory because they didn’t think blackfellas needed to be educated. Blackfellas didn’t have a brain to learn anything. Girls were just taught how to do housework.


Aunty Yvonne

I’m telling you. It came in compulsory when I was eleven and I had to go to school.  And I went in for a year….


Aunty Mary

Well, Mrs Young gave me a small wage. I got all my clothes made. I ate at the same table as them. And I remember when this old woman first came there for tea when I was working there, and I was sitting at the table with the Youngs. And she just turned her nose up at it. And Mrs Young said ‘she’s part of our family, she eats with us, at the table with us’.
That was unusual. In those days, white people didn’t eat with their staff.



I'm grateful that my family has always valued getting an education. The one thing, once diligently acquired, education will give you choices, and that is very difficult to take back should your choices alarm the less civilised.


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