Woman’s Day (Australia)
CHRISTINE ANU ‘THIS WAS HEALING FOR US’
Three generations of First Nations women visited Uluru for the first time together as a family
When Christine Anu asked her mother, Zipporah, where she’d like to travel if she could go anywhere in the world, the answer shocked her.
“Immediately she said Uluru!” Christine, 52, tells Woman’s Day. The singer adds that when she asked her mother why she’d chosen it over Fiji or Bali or Europe, or the Torres Strait Islands where she was born, the 86-year-old responded, “Because this is the heart of this place. This is where we come from.”
So, as three generations of First Nations women – Christine, her mother and her 20-yearold daughter, Zipporah Corser Anu, named after her mother – journeyed to the sacred site of Uluru at the crack of dawn, Christine’s mother shouted, “My dream has come true!”
‘IT WAS MAGICAL’
“She was quite overwhelmed, I think,” Christine says of her mother’s reaction to the rock.
“I think she just couldn’t believe that something she’d seen in a picture could be so truly magnificent.
“I’ve been there a few times and it will never, ever stop having that kind of enormous effect on me,” she adds.
Christine’s daughter called the moment “beautiful”. “The place is significant to women. Sharing that experience with my mum, grandmother and Aunty Kelam, who is also a longtime carer of both my grandparents, was particularly special. It gave it so much more meaning.”
This visit may have roused even more emotions for the
‘It will never, ever stop having an enormous effect on me’
family, with Christine’s mother, now wheelchair-bound due to type 2 diabetes, witnessing the rock’s beauty for the first – and possibly only – time.
“She’s frail, you know, and she doesn’t like to travel that much – so when
I was looking at her gazing up at the rock, and all
the colours around it… it was emotional.”
The transcendent moment also proved somewhat challenging for the women, as it made the absence of Christine’s dad, who passed away in 2019, all the more evident. “Mum is a deeply spiritual person and I know she was thinking, ‘I wish Dad was here to see this with me and be here with us.’”
Following her father’s death, Christine has moved back to
Queensland to care for her mother full-time. “I’ve always been very close to Mummy. And it’s been beautiful because now that I’m an empty-nester I find myself back with her.”
OUR ISLAND HOME
The iconic singer-songwriter, whose hit Island Home has secured an enduring legacy in Australian popular culture, says her mother had engrained music into their family. “We’re Islanders. We’re born into music. It’s the essence of who we are.”
Christine recalls a moment during their recent visit to Uluru when, in the middle of dinner at a bistro, the three women broke into song.
“We were singing quite softly, but it stopped all the waiters and waitresses. And, at the end, the whole restaurant gave us a giant round of applause,” she says, noting that that’s what her songs are all about, “bringing everyone together”.
“They are designed for everyone to embrace and embody,” she adds.
Christine, who is currently working on new music, which will be released later this year, notes that she’s excited to see her daughter Zipporah, who’s also a singer-songwriter, “continuing along the family’s songline”.
“I think she’s very committed to that. Her dad [Rodger Corser] is an actor, and she’s a trained dancer, so she has that in her, but she also works in the disability sector [NDIS] and in hospitality, all while being my little backing singer, personal assistant and occasional tour manager,” she laughs. “She’s such a pocket rocket.”
Christine adds that having been in the music industry her whole life, she feels fiercely protective of her talented young daughter.
“When people want to poach her for these TV shows, I’m like, ‘No way!’” she says.
“I’ve done a couple of reality things and I’ve regretted it every time. Anyway, reality for her is coming on stage with me. That’s reality!”
‘When people want to poach her for TV, I’m like no way!’