“Aunty” is a term of respect for an Aboriginal elder. I interviewed Aunty Beryl in October for the South Sydney Herald. Hers is an inspiring story.
“Aunty” is a term of respect for an Aboriginal elder. I interviewed Aunty Beryl in October for the South Sydney Herald. Hers is an inspiring story.
Yes, the South Sydney Herald is out, so I can share the Aunty Beryl story now.
Aunty Beryl’s three word dictionary
“My dictionary has just three words,” Aunty Beryl Van-Oploo says. “Communication, Education, Respect. That’s what I tell those students in there all the time.”
Not a bad dictionary that, and there’s a story and a half behind it.
Three years ago, following an initiative by the Redfern Waterloo Authority, Aunty Beryl co-founded the Yaama Dhiyaan Hospitality and Function Centre with chef Mathew Cribb. The Centre is in Wilson Street Darlington just by Carriage Works. Those three years have seen quite a few personal transformations – young students made confident enough by their success at Certificate II Hospitality to go back and do the HSC; families now well fed with good slow food and a real knowledge of nutrition; people finding jobs in the hospitality sector.
Of the 106 graduates who have now completed the nine week hospitality training course with Yaama Dhiyaan, 66% have gained employment or moved on to further education.
Things like Yaama Dhiyaan don’t come from nowhere, and in this case it is a long-held dream that holds the key. As a young girl in Walgett with no formal education Aunty Beryl dared to dream. She knew education was the key and dreamed of one day bringing back to the community whatever skills she might learn. At sixteen she was in Sydney working as a nanny in an upper middle-class Eastern Suburbs family.
“Yeah, I had to learn to read then, what with the kids going to Sydney Grammar.” So she did, and that was just a beginning. She remained close to that family and still does.
Her real formal education began at age thirty-one while she was working as a cook at the Murraweena preschool, then in Surry Hills. She worked days and at night studied nutrition and budget cooking at East Sydney TAFE. This was something she felt she could take back to the community.
Then she met a challenge: an invitation to become a trainee teacher for TAFE. “But I have no formal education,” she countered. That, she was told, would look after itself as she had the life skills and knowledge and an ability to communicate.
It didn’t quite look after itself as she found herself working as before, going to TAFE, and undergoing teacher training. When I asked her when she slept she just smiled.
Graduating in 1988 she went ahead in her new career. When retirement loomed the Redfern-Waterloo Authority made their offer. Here was at last the greatest chance to bring all that knowledge and experience right back into the heart of the community and make a real difference. She decided to give it a go for twelve months – and now it’s three years.
Aunty Beryl has been part of the Redfern community for fifty years now, but her beginnings are with the Gamillaroi people. The Centre’s web site says: “Yaama means ‘welcome’ and Dhiyaan means ‘family and friends’ in Aunty Beryl’s Yuwaalaraay language of the Gamillaroi people of north west New South Wales.”
“A great life,” I read somewhere years ago, “is a dream formed in childhood made real in maturity.” Aunty Beryl would probably reject that applying to herself, but it’s hard to deny.
She wanted to know if this would be a positive story as we had talked a bit about the dark side and the way Aboriginal issues are represented so often in politics and the mainstream media. How could it not be positive? Seeing the college, the students, and meeting Aunty Beryl have been inspiring. Anyone who dropped in would be inspired too – and well fed, if you happen by when food is on offer. As Aunty Beryl told SBS’s Living Black: “We specialise in bush tucker. We might have crocodile – we’ll do that with a lemon myrtle sauce, we might have kangaroo and we’ll just do that with skewers, and make a bush tomato sauce for that, vegetables in some of our herbs and spices.”
But it is the transformation of lives that is the real work at Yaama Dhiyaan. “You can’t forget the past because that is who you are. It’s in your heart,” Aunty Beryl told me. “But we have to move on for the sake of the future generation. Some come here needing their self-esteem building up and we show them they can have confidence, and they do have choices.”
Noticing a spike here yesterday (249 views) I thought I’d review how this blog has been going so far in November. The monthly total so far turns out to be better than last month: 185 compared with 165 per day, but still lower than the first half of 2009. There have been six referrals so far from that National Library listing.
Old favourites dominate the top twenty individually viewed posts in the past 14 days. * = recent posts.
I have just finished and emailed the Aunty Beryl story to the South Sydney Herald and I have been to M’s to do something for him – he’s on a ship cruising around Australia at the moment. I have also been carrying on with rereading The Lord of the Rings – about halfway through, but most of my time has been spent restocking the ACER which went to the computer hospital for a successful operation yesterday.
I’ll tell you what happened. I managed to corrupt Vista, all by myself. It’s easy. Just forget to tick a box when creating a backup, especially if the box you fail to tick is the data disk. Then restore from that backup. Works every time!
There is a plus though. ACER comes with an ability to roll back to XP – and now it has. Yes, while you’re all out there contemplating Windows 7 I am retreating. I have to tell you the computer is very happy with the change.
Of course there are those updates which are still trickling in from Microsoft, but I can tell you a neat trick. IOBit Security 360 has a tool that downloads and installs all the missing Windows hotfixes from Windows except it does it a lot faster than Windows does. I discovered that a few days ago when I was running an older borrowed computer as a stopgap.
Soon I will get back to proper posting, but now to do the photoblogs.
One last thing: three of my coachees are now doing the HSC so they are no longer coachees. But a Year 9/10 one told me yesterday that they have a family friend with three kids who want tutoring, so that may work out well. The Year 9/10 is happy with me because he has just been promoted to the top English class.
“Those are the only three words in my dictionary,” Aunty Beryl Van-Oploo, an Aboriginal Elder originally from Walgett told me today when I interviewed her for next month’s South Sydney Herald.
Arriving in Sydney in 1958-9 to be a nanny to an Eastern Suburbs family she pursued her dream to achieve all three and to return her education to her community. She still has good relations with that family. “I had to learn to read, being a nanny and the kids going to Sydney Grammar…”
You’ll have to wait for the South Sydney Herald article for the rest.
Now her dream is a reality as she cofounded, through a training and employment initiative of the Redfern Waterloo Authority, Yaama Dhiyaan Hospitality Training College.
Yaama means ‘welcome’ and Dhiyaan means ‘family and friends’ in Aunty Beryl’s Yuwaalaraay language of the Gamillaroi people of north west New South Wales.
The emu design was chosen as it is the totem of the Gamillaroi people. The emu design was based on an Aunty Elaine Russell design and developed by the artist Marian Aboud.
“We can’t forget our past,” she said, reflecting on some of the hard things, “but you’ve got to move on for the sake of future generations.”
What an inspiration she is!
Ninglun’s Specials and Memory Hole
1 July: June roundup in brief — Sitemeter. 2 July: First July reviews – mainly comic. 3 July: Some serious reading for all Australians. 4 July: Saturday again: time to go counting beans…; Welcoming Russell Darnley OAM.
5 July: Sunday Floating Life photo 25: Gordon Syron at South Sydney Uniting Church; Sunday lunch: Simon H’s place, Randwick. 6 July: Australia third happiest place on Earth; Yet more cyber condoms. 7 January: July 09 South Sydney Herald. 8 July: David Leavitt, “The Indian Clerk” (Bloomsbury 2007); Like this photographer…. 9 July: 66 – since 9 July 1943; Here’s what I have to say to these turkeys…. 10 July: Friday poem 14: not really a poem! 11 July: Warm and fuzzy quote of the week; Second July stats trawl.
12 July: Sunday is music day 21: The Warumpi Band 1988. 13 July: Quick thoughts on China; Glebe revisited. 14 July: Some things that tickle me; I happened along soon after…. 15 July: “Slavery” may be a bit strong, but bad nonetheless…; Oh dear, I agree with Peter Costello!; I have temporarily removed Firefox 3.5 from my computer. 16 July: Meet some blogs. 17 July: Kevin has a blog – and other thoughts on blogs. 18 July: Not again!
19 July: Sunday is music day 22: Thomas Tallis; Unlikely searches. 20 July: When you become a teacher… 21 July: Just a note on China; Miscellaneous notes. 22 July: In 1998. 23 July: Two rather different experiences: book and dvd review; Photoscape. 24 July: Instead of the planned post. 25 July: Saturday stats times two; New anthology of Australian literature.
26 July: Sunday Floating Life photo 26; What a geek I am! 27 July: Last night: Oz Lit, refugees and other matters; Quote of the week: “Sorry, Ma’am…”. 28 July: First the very local story: Surry Hills Library flooded; Racism is not the main story: Four Corners last night. 29 July: “post-modernistic bogans” – an interesting thought; Chrome without the resource load — SWR Iron. 30 July: More on Indonesian terrorist bombing; One fiction, one non-fiction. 31 July: Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve — and all that; The Macquarie PEN Australian Literature anthology.
1 August: Have you noticed? 2 August: Summary July stats. 3 August: new What’s New post; Sunday lunch had music too!; Computer tragedy. 4 August: Last night on ABC and this morning’s news…. 5 August: Things to look forward to; Yes the new computer has a webcam…. 6 August: Yacqub Khayre and Holsworthy plot. 7 August: Multicultural Surry Hills, and How to Kill a Toshiba. 8 August: Norm, Ahmed, Shafana, Aunt Sarrinah, radicalisation and Australia.
9 August: Sunday Floating Life photo 27; Sirdan’s birthday party — Rosebery. 10 August: Why the religious Right can be dangerous, but…; From another guest at Danny’s party. 11 August: League tables can play to fears of parents; Playing with last Sunday’s photo. 12 August: Meet some blogs – Muslims I read from time to time. 13 August: Is objectivity about Israel and Palestine possible? 14 August: Two works of fiction from my August reading; Some reading matter for you. 15 August: What recent posts have been attracting attention?
16 August: Sunday is music day 23: Indonesia; Sunday Floating Life photo 28 — warm. 17 August: Two worth watching on ABC1. 18 August: Watching TV again: Jack Mundey; scary computer stuff. 19 August: Another Internet-related entry. 20 August: Framing discussion of Indigenous issues in Australia; More on safer computing. 21 August: A week for mixed messages from China; Spring is closer…. 22 August: Saturday blog news.
23 August: Experiment; Sunday lunch – Sirdan at Chinese Whisper. 24 August: Revisiting “The Maltese Falcon”; Respect, yes; fetishism, no. 25 August: Books I am reading, or am about to read. 26 August: Checking out audio possibilities. 27 August: Fear not, brothers and sisters! 28 August: On a handy application and an unhandy mobile service; Korean War Memorial – Moore Park. 29 August: Saturday stats roundup — clicks.
2 September: The things I learn; My latest very odd article published. 3 September: For the fifty million dead — 1. 4 September: Friday poem 15 & For the fifty million dead — 2: W H Auden; Yes it is remarkable. 5 September:Combined geekery and stats post.
6 September: Sunday is music day 24: Click go the shears…, A tale of two gay men; Today’s Sunday lunch…. 7 September: A storm in a coffee cup? 8 September: Australian Opera: Aida — #1. 9 September: About last night; About last night — the video. 10 September: Ripping yarn! 11 September: Friday poem 16: W B Yeats “When you are old and grey…”. 12 September: A five-finger exercise.
13 September: When Snow Drifts Melt – 20 years on. 14 September: Tanveer Ahmed’s interesting insight; …another school term, and much else, going down the tube…. 15 September: Another from the recently found archive. 16 September: Another replay: 10 August 2004; Speaking of John Howard. 17 September: I was led to one of those English Teacher moments…. 18 September: Mary Travers – and more nostalgia. 19 September: Busy day, late – and last archive pick for a while.
20 September: Making love to my computer. 21 September: Reading several books at once may do your head in…. 22 September: Meanwhile, there is a bit of fiction to account for…; That US health care debate. 23 September: Sydney turns red: dust storm blankets city. 24 September: Yes, yesterday was amazing if not entirely unique. 25 September: Friday poem 17: Judith Wright; Anyone else being archived? 26 September: It’s back.
27 September: Statistical interlude; Sunday Floating Life photo 30. 28 September: Waltzing Matilda 21st century style – current reading. 29 September: Reading Jasper Fforde; Oral: thoughts while reading Mark Davis. 30 September: I find this case odd and disturbing. Do you?
1 October: How went September?
4 October: Geeky post this Sunday; Sirdan in Devonshire Street. 5 October: Support appeals for natural disaster relief. 6 October: Something else to brag about…. 7 October: Bit of a mystery. 8 October: Listening to Gorecki, reading Nowra. 9 October: National Human Rights Consultation Report. 10 October: Instant senescence.
11 October: What a classic! 12 October: Trivialising an important document. 13 October: Two (on the face of it) stories of lack of imagination, even common sense. 14 October: Two (on the face of it) stories of lack of imagination, even common sense. 15 October: Blog Action Day 2009. 16 October: Things I mean to post about.
18 October: Sunday Floating Life photo 31. 19 October: Computer — tragic. 20 October: Afghanistan – on the dollar trail. 21 October: Ross Gittins today and last Monday’s “Media Watch”; Communication, Education, Respect. 22 October: Well here I am again. 23 October: And on and on…. 24 October: Saturday stats again.
25 October: Sunday Floating Life photo 32 — wisdom. 26 October: Politicking boats and people movement. 28 October: The beat goes on. 29 October: … and on 30 October: The 2001st post — to seven or not to seven. 31 October: More computer stuff.
1 November: October – stats up but not amazingly…
1 November: Sunday Floating Life photo 33 AND Friday poem 18. 2 November: Louis Nowra “Ice” (2008). 3 November: Aunty Beryl story – South Sydney Herald. 4 November: Two non-fiction books that have impressed me lately. 6 November: I’m back!; Flock also does this; Adrian Phoon in The Age. 7 November: Something to watch.
8 November: Sunday is music day 25: Pachelbel’s Canon…; Sunday news…. 9 November: Seven. 10 November: Resting. 11 November: On being too clever. 12 November: On climate change sceptics and qualifications. 13 November: Pandora (National Library). 14 November: Mid-month Saturday stats – this blog only.
15 November: Sunday photo 34; Yet another Sunday lunch in Surry Hills. 16 November: Well, I’m enjoying it… 17 November: Apology to forgotten Australians. 18 November: For friends of South Sydney. 19 November: Visit to see through the “Other’s” eyes. 20 November: Not Tehran. 21 November: Tony Parsons “My Favourite Wife” (2008).
22 November: Sunday photo 35: blue sitter and car; Polish food and a very hot day. 23 November: Australian Indigenous film. 24 November: Helen Bamber. 25 November: Aussie icon takes up residence in Japan. 26 November: Homework 😉 27 November: Homework done; My right arm. 28 November: Random but mostly political; To Senator Nick Minchin.
2 December: November 09 – stats back up on Floating Life.
1 December: Zimbabwe; My December-January South Sydney Herald story; And the winner is… an ongoing post. 2 December: South Sydney will be at Copenhagen; Love it!; Resources on Climate Change. 3 December: Everything old is new again. 4 December: Not quite the promised climate change post. 5 December: The promised climate change post — Part One; Brer Abbott – The Ghost Who Walks?.
6 December: To think about; Sunday is music day 28 — tick tick tick; Sunday photo 36 – Surry Hills Village mall Sunday. 7 December: Some ETS YouTubes. 8 December: Kind of Part Two of the promised post…; Meanwhile, how unpredictable is Cricket, eh!. 10 December: Thursday recommended site of the week: 1; The inspirational Muhammad Yunus. 11 December: Two videos found on the God’s Politics blog. 12 December: So that’s where Clover is!
13 December: There is a sensible discussion to be had; Sunday Floating Life photo 37 – closed lane, Waterloo; NSW Schools Spectacular – ABC TV. 14 December: Three unrelated items; Hang on a minute: what tax?. 15 December: Carbon chicken-and-eggery? 16 December: Pause for a pic; Blogging the Noughties: 1 – 2000. 17 December: Blogging the Noughties: 2 — 2001; “Guest Post” — Anthony Venn-Brown; My favourites from 2009: 1. 18 December: Blogging the Noughties: 3 — 2002; “Guest post” – Tim Costello; My favourites from 2009: 2; Blogging the Noughties: 4 — 2002 –2004: memorable visuals. 19 December: Blogging the Noughties: 5 — 2003; My favourites from 2009: 3; “Guest post” – Clover Moore; Blogging the Noughties: 6 — 2004.
20 December: Blogging the Noughties: 7 — 2004; My favourites from 2009: 5; Blogging the Noughties: 8 — 2005; My favourites from 2009: 6; Blogging the Noughties: 9 — 2006. 21 December: Blogging the Noughties: 10 — 2007; New blog now up: Neil’s Second Decade.; Blogging the Noughties: 11 — 2008; My favourites from 2009: 8 — Mardi Gras Fair Day: Mad Hatter’s Tea Party; My favourites from 2009: 9; Blogging the Noughties 12: Top individual entries posted in 2009. 22 December: My favourites from 2009: 10; My favourites from 2009: 11; Summer Solstice – transitional doublepost; My favourites from 2009: 12 – Winter Solstice. 23 December: My favourites from 2009: 13 – Aunty Beryl; My favourites from 2009: 14 – warm afternoon 1 March Surry Hills; In 2009 people came to Floating Life after searching for…. Christmas Eve: My favourites from 2009: 15 – Cornstalk Bookshop, Glebe. Christmas Day: My favourites from 2009: 16; My favourites from 2009: 17 – Sirdan’s party; My favourites from 2009: 18 — spring in Haymarket: joy!; My favourites from 2009: 19 — bonus monochrome: Taylor Square/Oxford Street; My favourites from 2009: 20 — Surry Hills Festival: people. 26 December: My favourites from 2009: 21 — blue gumboots; My favourites from 2009: 22 — Indian student resting; My favourites from 2009: 23 to 25!