GROW­ING TO­GETHER

This NAIDOC Week, Cher­bourg cel­e­brates where it has been, where it is go­ing, and the women who help shape the com­mu­nity:

South Burnett Times - - FRONT PAGE - Jes­sica Mc­Grath Jes­sica.Mc­grath @south­bur­nett­times.com.au

NAIDOC Week re­minded Dorothea Dou­glas of her mother’s ded­i­ca­tion to the Cher­bourg com­mu­nity.

“I’m re­ally proud to be one of her daugh­ters, I’m happy to be who I am be­cause of her,” she said.

Cher­bourg el­der Bessie Bond was born in 1927, when Cher­bourg was still called Baram­bah.

Ms Dou­glas was proud of the role model her mother was and how she helped shape the com­mu­nity.

“She’s a proud mum, grand­mother and greatgrand­mother,” she said.

“Be­cause of her, we’re here to­day.”

With count­less grand­chil­dren of her own, Ms Bond also helped raise other chil­dren from the com­mu­nity.

“When they don’t have any­where to go, I give them a bed and a feed,” Ms Bond said.

The 91-year-old en­joyed see­ing the dances and songs at Cher­bourg’s NAIDOC Week cel­e­bra­tions on Tues­day, July 10.

“It’s good in a way to see ev­ery­one get to­gether and be one,” Ms Bond said.

The ded­i­cated el­der has in­vested decades of work into shaping the lo­cal Abo­rig­i­nal com­mu­nity.

She ini­tially worked in the boys’ and girls’ dor­mi­to­ries, be­fore tak­ing up a po­si­tion at the Cher­bourg coun­cil when it was es­tab­lished.

Ms Bond was the first po­lice­woman in Cher­bourg and served on the shire’s Catholic Church com­mit­tee.

In her role as an el­der, she also spent time vis­it­ing Cher­bourg youth in jail.

“There were no deaths in cus­tody since the el­ders have been vis­it­ing,” Ms Bond said.

In her nine decades, Ms Bond has seen the

com­mu­nity of Cher­bourg grow to be very dif­fer­ent.

NAIDOC Week 2018 recog­nised the es­sen­tial roles in­dige­nous women play in their com­mu­ni­ties as ac­tive and sig­nif­i­cant role mod­els.

PHOTO: JES­SICA MC­GRATH

TAP­PING INTO CUL­TURE: The Wakka Gubbi Group per­form­ing tra­di­tional dances at the Cher­bourg NAIDOC cel­e­bra­tions on July 10.

PHOTO: JES­SICA MC­GRATH

LEAD­ING LIGHT: Bessie Bond, Dorothea Dou­glas and Rita Cobbo cel­e­brat­ing NAIDOC Week in Cher­bourg on July 10.

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