In Our Own Right: Black Australian Nurses' Stories


Black Australian Nurses' Stories

Edited by Sally Goold, OAM

Congress of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Nurses (CATSIN)

'The intimate, private, and heart wrenching stories told in this book, the first of its kind in Australia, will penetrate the hearts and souls of even the most hardened reader. Told with incredible dignity and humility, each of the individual and deeply personal stories recounted is a powerful testimony to the gross inhumanity and brutal capacity of white people in Australia - colonists who selectively destroy and humiliate, without remorse, the lives and souls of their fellow black Australians. This book provides a powerful catalyst for questioning and calling into question the taken-for-granted humanity of us all.'

Olga Kanitsaki, AM

Dedicated to Indigenous nurses who have passed before

Many Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander nurses were approached to submit or tell their stories; several declined to do so. One assumes that for some, telling their stories would have been too confronting and painful issues would have opened up old wounds. Their right to refuse was respected. To those people who declined, thank you for considering the offer. To those who chose to share their story, thank you. It would have been quite painful for many of you as your stories are very powerful and would have taken great courage for you to speak and write about.

Sally Goold, OAM

Our stories

Sadie Canning MBE
Joan Winch
Jilpia Jones
MaryAnn Bin-Sallik EdD
Ros Pierce
Faye Ryan (nee Clarke)
Shane Mohor
Roslyn Lockhart
Lowitja O'Donoghue AC CBE
Janine Cox
Sharon Dennis
Karen Atkinson
Barbara Browne
Kerrie Doyle
Vicki Bradford
Sally Goold (nee Bamblett) OAM
Alecia McKowan
Gary Torrens
Ellie Gaffney
Emily Marshall
Noela Baigrie (nee Fogarty)
Carmen Parter
Diana Ross Sister of St John

'Although this book was to collect personal histories of registered nurses, there are stories from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women who were excluded from undertaking nurse training and worked as assistant nurses and untrained carers. These women are also recognized for their contribution.'

...I was only earning 25 shillings a fortnight but my desire to learn was so strong that I [paid him 15 shillings]. I visited that priest two or three times a week and he would give me books to read. After a lot of work I received a letter from the Mater Hospital enquiring if I had succeeded in raising my scholastic standard. I showed the priest the letter and his response was cruel and it crushed me. He said that he wasn't a teacher and couldn't raise my scholastic standard and said surely I didn't think for one minute that I would be able to do the nursing training and become a nursing sister, because he said it is only for certain types of people.. E.G.

"This work will stand forever as a landmark in Australian literature. The contributing authors have not only broken the insidious culture of silence that has so suffocated the history and life stories of black nurses in Australia, but they have also achieved the rare feat of doing justice to an otherwise unspeakable injustice that, up until now, has been spoken of only in whispers."

Professor Megan-Jane Johnstone
Author Bioethics: A Nursing Perspective

'As the stories in this book remind us, so long as racism, discrimination and intolerance of difference govern our public service systems and the minds, souls and hearts of people who comprise those systems, the nursing profession and society at large will remain impoverished, tormented and not at peace with itself or its humanity.'

Olga Kanitsaki, AM
Professor of Transcultural Nursing
RMIT University

Published with The Congress of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Nurses (CATSIN). CATSIN is supported by BUUMAL Records - 'State of the Heart'

Dr Sally Goold OAM
Senior Australian of the Year 2006

Book Launch
By Peter Beattie MP
4 December 2005

Press Releases
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