Family and Early Life
I was born in 1947 at Quilpie on Ray Station, but mostly grew up in Brisbane so that mum could keep working. I’m Boonthamurra through my mother Rosie Jacobs who was also known as Rosie Dick. Mum’s father was Boonthamurra apical ancestor Dick Ray. Our totem is the kangaroo.
These days, although I now live in Armidale, New South Wales, I still go back to Country to work on cultural heritage matters and make sure our country is being protected. The old fellas, the spirits are out there and when you’re on Country you get that feeling. We are just the caretakers of the country; we are the ones that look after it for the next generation, and then they will look after it for the next lot, and it will just keep on going; it won’t stop. My son Warren has passed on, but his two grandchildren are the next generation.
I’ve had many different jobs over the years, ranging from working as a domestic to being a Post Release Officer in New South Wales prisons, where I helped inmates access vital services upon their release. I’ve also taken on various volunteer positions, including with the ‘Community Foot Patrol’ – who make sure people get home after dark – working in a women’s refuge, and as a cultural heritage monitor on Country.
I graduated from the University of New England in Sydney in 2000, being the first Aboriginal law graduate from that university. I remained at the university as an academic, tutoring in law subjects and occasionally Aboriginal studies.
Why Being a Director is Important to Me
I enjoy watching the corporation grow. I’m happy to see the new direction that we are going in as a PBC and I’m happy to be a part of it. My biggest interest is having the young ones involved. I believe it is important to be able to hand down something to the younger generation. I would like to see the PBC handing down cultural awareness to the younger ones and teaching them about Country.