We are very grateful to have had our very first $500 donor, who wishes to remain anonymous. She is 87 years old and worked in the Indigenous Health Ward in 1953, though it was known then as “The Native Ward”. The donation was for a crowdfunding campaign AllGrid Energy and Dice Australia have recently been running for NSW based “Centre for Rural and Remote Mental Health” in tandem with our event “Illuminating the EnvironMENTAL”. “CRRMH” is dedicated to improving the lives and mental health of those living in rural and remote communities. They achieve this through education, service development, collaboration and achievements in research, and academic leadership.
“There was a separate building from the main hospital for the natives.” She told me, “Most of the Aboriginal people that were sent to the hospital were suffering from TB (Tuberculosis), which back in those days was completely incurable. What made it worse was that it was a disease that had been brought over with Europeans. It was very different back then… We really never knew how badly we were affecting them, and I think that’s really showing in this day and age.”
“I remember they were a very gentle people. They arrived at the hospital from the missions in the Tiwi Island. Often there were children that were flown over with ear infections and hook worms. Of course the children had come after the waves of missionaries so the children all had very religious names like Mary Cross, or Mathew James, you know. They were so friendly and open. I really think it was because they lived in a community so when they came to the ward we were just another part of the community to them.”
“There was lots of interesting parts to the jobs. The Aboriginal men would often ask the hospital staff to go out hunting. They’d go out and catch wallaby and then travel down to the beach to cook it up. We really tried our best to let them engage in their native practices. You know, letting the women have their babies the traditional way as they had out in the bush. It wasn’t always that way, but we tried our best.”
“Mental health is very important to me. I have had members of my family lost to mental illness… It hard to imagine the amount of pressure they must go through before they reach that point… It’s just a sheer waste of everything. I don’t know what the solution is, but I really think that people who are suffering like that need support. Especially indigenous people who are struggling with so much racial trauma as well.”
Thank you so much , it’s amazing to hear your story and have your support. If you would like to support this campaign please go to our donation crowd-funding platform. As part of the incentives of this crowd-funding campaign, if you pledge five-hundred dollars or more we offer to conduct an interview with you, as with this generous donor, so we can feature your work and what motivates you to support Indigenous mental wellbeing on our website and blog. we would very much appreciate it if you could share this campaign through your social media platforms.