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Video stories pay tribute to aunties

REDFERN: On the evening of July 10, the Wednesday of NAIDOC Week, it was standing room only in the main hall at Redfern Community Centre. The occasion was the launch of two videos telling the life stories of Biripai woman Aunty Alice (Ali) Golding and Kamilaroi woman Aunty Beryl Van Oploo, both of whom lived and worked for a significant part of their early adult lives in Redfern.

The Women’s Reconciliation Network (WRN) produced the videos and hosted the evening, which was emceed by Koori Radio’s Blackchat presenter Lola Forester. Aunty Millie Ingram, who maintains an involvement as treasurer on the board of Wyanga Aboriginal Aged Care since her retirement as its CEO in 2013, gave an acknowledgement of country.

Elaine Telford, a founding member of WRN more than 20 years ago, invited Senator Linda Burney to speak about Aunty Beryl and Aunty Ali. Despite nearing their eighties both women are still actively nurturing the next generations in Redfern.

Following her long career teaching hospitality courses within TAFE and as a noted chef running her own businesses, Aunty Beryl continues to mentor hospitality students in the Job Ready course at the National Centre of Indigenous Excellence.

Aunty Ali worked at a number of local schools in various roles and then studied theology at Nungalinya College in Darwin. In 2011 she was appointed as the first Elder in Residence at UNSW and is now teaching Aboriginal culture at Redfern Jarjum College.

This year’s NAIDOC theme was “Voice. Treaty. Truth.” Dr Deborah Wall, who coordinated the project for WRN and interviewed the aunties, spoke of how fitting it was to “hear their life stories, backgrounded by the laws and policies that governed and proscribed limits to their aspirations” in the context of truth-telling.

Others who volunteered their services in the making of the videos were production assistant Sheilagh Kelly and videographer Dr Francisco Javier Proenza.


Links for the two videos can be found on Dr Proenza’s YouTube channel: An Aboriginal child’s life in Purfleet Mission: Aunty Ali Golding’s story and Aunty Beryl Van Oploo.


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