In their own words - Stories from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women

Discover the stories of these Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women who have recorded aspects of their life experiences as oral histories and digital stories.

28428 Inala Elders Digital Stories Resource Project August 2011

Aunty Edna Bond. From 28428 Inala Elders Digital Stories Resource Project August 2011. John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland

The Inala Elders Digital Stories Resource Project, coordinated by Daryll Bellingham in 2011, explores the lives and contributions of Inala Elders through their own words. The Elders share memories and stories, recount their childhood upbringing and important moments in their lives. These stories include Aunty Edna Bond who in her digital story All Together discusses her experience of living between her family and her white foster family and in Hurting, Helping and Healing with Aunty Teresa McIntosh talking about being part of the Stolen Generation, discovering her roots and her passion and work for her people.

The digital stories from the Inala Elders Digital Stories Resource Project can be viewed via our One Search catalogue.

OH55 Bloomfield River Oral History Project and Photographs

Doreen Jones, 1995. From OH 55 Bloomfield River Oral History Project and photographs 1995. John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland

The Bloomfield River Oral History Project consists of 39 interviews conducted by Camilla Darling with local Kuku Yalangi Elders and non-Aboriginal settlers in the Bloomfield River area in 1995. The interviews reveal the way of life of the interviewees and their families, and speak to the interactions and relations between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal settlers on the Bloomfield in a period prior to, and during, missionary involvement. Some stories capture the knowledge, skills and beliefs of the Elders.

One of the interviewees was Doreen Jones, who was born to Kuku Nyungkul parents at Cedar Bay. She was raised, however, in the Daintree by missionaries who later became her foster parents.  She lived in Mossman and down south, raising her family and came back to live at Wujal Wujal in the 1980’s. She became involved with the community acting as a voice for the people. Doreen was elected to the Council when self-management first came in.

You can listen to Doreen's story and the rest of the Bloomfield River Oral History Project via our One Search catalogue.

OH6 Cape York Peninsula Oral History 1983-1989

This collection contains 164 oral history interviews regarding the history of the Cape York Peninsula by interviewer Duncan Jackson. Several of these interviews are related to the Aboriginal community, including Maude Frazer who was born at Koolatah station and is a past chairman of the Kowanyama community. The audio for this collection is available online.

Loris Williams - digital story 2009

In this 2009 digital story Robyn Williams highlights the life of Loris Williams, her nanang (older sister in the Yugambeh language). Loris was employed with State Library of Queensland for many years and took great pride in assisting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders trace their family histories. Whilst working full-time she undertook university studies and in 2004 Loris became the first qualified Queensland Aboriginal archivist. Sadly, Loris passed away in 2005. Her legacy was commemorated in 2006 with the naming of the Loris Williams Meeting Room within kuril dhagan at the redeveloped State Library building.

Response to the National Apology to the Stolen Generations

Following the historic Apology to the Stolen Generations on behalf of the Parliament of Australia in February 2008, State Library of Queensland captured responses from a number of Queenslanders from a range of backgrounds and geographic locations, recording their impressions, feelings and memories surrounding this event as digital stories. Speakers include Lila Pigliafiori-Baker, an Erub (Darnley Island) woman through her father and a descendant of the Gangalidda people through her mother. Lila talks about her Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander heritage, including the experiences of her mother living under the Aboriginals Protection and Restriction of the Sale of Opium Act 1897.

All the digital stories related to the response to the Apology are available on our blog.

Lila Pigliafiori-Baker, 2009. John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland

This article was originally published for NAIDOC Week 2018, Because of Her, We Can! celebrating the significant role of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women in our communities. 

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