Friday, July 19, 2024
HomeNewsFirst PeoplesGrowing up on The Block

Growing up on The Block

The Block in Redfern was a unique neighbourhood to grow up in. More than an address, more than streets in a directory, The Block was created by Aboriginal people, and it created an Aboriginal community in working-class inner-city Sydney. This is where I was fortunate to grow up.

I was born in Sydney around the same time The Block was established in the early 1970s. My childhood was spent in a neighbourhood with football, cricket, BMX bike riding and breakdancing on the street, where a closed front door meant no one was at home, where the children were known to everyone – they were in and out of homes all along the streets.

This is quite normal for much of suburbia but quite rare for an inner-city suburb. I recall one house with two televisions, one having the picture and the other having the sound. That brings me a smile in retrospect.

Both my parents were from country towns, my father from Gumbaynggirr country at Nambucca Heads and my mother from Wiradjuri country at Cowra, and they met at the Foundation for Aboriginal Affairs, a legendary organisation in modern Aboriginal history. It was where the Black Lace band formed with Mac Silva on vocals and drums.

During the 1980s, it was common to hear, along Eveleigh Street on the weekend, Mac Silva’s voice singing “Midnight Special”, pitch perfect.

Lindsay (left) and younger brother Kalmain, Eveleigh Street, Redfern.Photo: Norma Ingram

Another memory is the Koori Knockout, the Aboriginal rugby league knockout which began in discussions between young Aboriginal players at the Clifton Hotel in Botany Road in the early 1970s.

My family took me to the first game in 1971 at Camdenville Oval in nearby St Peters. The Koori Knockout has become the largest rugby league knockout carnival in the world and a way for many extended families to catch up each year – our big corroboree.

Lindsay (left) with brother Kalmain, mother Norma, and two cousins, Amanda and Narelle, Redfern Oval, South Sydney Junior League Grand Final 1974, won by Redfern All Blacks. Photo: Courtesy of Norma Ingram

There were also a number of Aboriginal organisations developed during my childhood in Redfern: the Murawina preschool, founded by my mother and her family, which I attended along with my siblings and cousins; the Aboriginal Legal Service and Aboriginal Medical Service, which my father cofounded; the Black Theatre, co-founded by my uncle, Gary Foley, which helped impart cultural and political information to the public.

There was always great activity and excitement in our neighbourhood on The Block. We all knew each other, went to school together and socialised together. I would not change a thing.

_______________


This is the first in a series of articles by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people living and working on Gadigal land. The series, a joint project of the SSH and the City of Sydney, is curated by Aunty Norma Ingram.

 

spot_img
- Advertisment -spot_img
- Advertisment -spot_img

Sydney’s best ‘top 20’ result in prestigious world rankings

The University of Sydney has secured its highest ever ranking overall and continues to be rated as a top 20 global university in the 2025 QS World University Rankings.

Homes NSW to develop North Eveleigh Clothing Store site

The North Eveleigh Clothing Store Precinct will be transferred to Homes NSW for the delivery of 500 new homes, half of which will be social and affordable homes.

A new kind of industry policy

The Trevor Davies Memorial Lecture is an annual event hosted by the Trevor Davies ALP Branch, and the Newtown ALP State Electorate Council. This year, it was held at the Royal Hotel on June 13. Assistant Minister Tim Ayres, a former branch member and Darlington local, was asked to deliver the address.

Volunteers’ News – July 2024

Volunteers’ News – July 2024.

Refreshing approach to food production

REDFERN: On July 21, I was lucky enough to attend the launch of the new website for Native Botanical Brewery (NBB), and to talk to the team behind this new and innovative business.

‘A giant in the fight for First Nations justice’

It is with great sadness that Reconciliation Australia sends our condolences to the family and friends of the Rev. Dr D. Gondarra OAM.