Aunty Eileen and Aunty Robyn Williams transcript

Start of Transcript

(PEACEFUL MUSIC)

Description:

The outside building of Logan West Library is shown. The camera pans in to focus on the Logan City Council logo and the word ‘Library’.

Aunty Robyn Williams:

"In the dreaming, all the birds were brightly coloured. During this time, the Cockie and the Crow shared one husband, the Hawk.”

Description:

Aunty Robyn Williams is in the Logan West Library reading on a couch with two young girls who are her nieces; Alyssa and Sienna Williams. Aunty Eileen Williams is sitting in a wheelchair with a cushion, looking on and enjoying her sister reading to her grandchildren.

Aunty Robyn Williams:

Being an elder in the community, you’re having that pride.

Aunty Eileen Williams:

Yeah

Aunty Robyn Williams:

We're the role models and people get to know who you are and you're on show all the time.

Description:

Aunty Robyn Williams, on the left, sitting next to Aunty Eileen Williams. They are at a table outside Aunty Eileen’s home, facing the camera. They are having a discussion and talking to each other, and the camera.

Aunty Eileen Williams:

Yes you are.

Aunty Robyn Williams:

You just got to be proud of who you are.

Aunty Eileen Williams:

Yeah, you have to be good.

Aunty Robyn Williams:

Yeah, you have to be good.

Aunty Eileen Williams:

Yeah, you do.

Aunty Robyn Williams:

You can't go out and misbehave, hey?

Aunty Eileen Williams:

No.

Aunty Robyn Williams:

Nope, you’ve got to be on good behaviour!  

Description:

Aunty Robyn Williams laughs.

Aunty Eileen Williams:

Yeah.

Text on screen:

Our Aunties and Uncles

Aunty Eileen Williams

Aunty Robyn Williams

Description:

Black and white photograph of three young girls standing near a fence. The girl in the middle is holding up a doll proudly. In the background you can see a Hills Hoist and a large tree, along with the tops of many houses in a suburb, with a hill in the background. The girls are smiling at the camera.

Aunty Eileen Williams:

We grew up at Mount Gravatt and Holland Park.

Aunty Robyn Williams:

At Holland Park, yeah.

Aunty Eileen Williams:

Education had a lot to do with it. 

Aunty Robyn Williams:

Education, had a lot to do with it.

Description:

Colour photograph of a family group together in a room. On the left you can see a teenage girl, a smiling boy, another face looking curious into the camera. On the couch, there is a young man smiling into the camera, an older lady with her arm around a teenage boy who is holding hands with a girl of a similar age. All the people in the photograph look happy.

Aunty Robyn Williams:

Mum and Dad ensured that we all went to school.

Description:

Aunty Robyn Williams, on the left, sitting next to Aunty Eileen Williams. They are at a table outside Aunty Eileen’s home, facing the camera. They are having a discussion and talking to each other, and the camera.

Aunty Robyn Williams:

We used to call ourselves the black Brady Bunch, heh?

Description:

Aunty Robyn Williams laughs.

Aunty Eileen Williams:

Yeah.

Aunty Robyn Williams:

Cause we had, umm, three boys and three girls, yes.

Aunty Eileen Williams:

Yeah, three boys, three girls.

Description:

Colour photograph of the family, with seven people in the photo, around a table, wearing Christmas paper party hats (most likely from a bon-bon) and eating a meal, smiling.

Aunty Robyn Williams:

At Holland Park, there was a lot of Aboriginal families, hey.

Aunty Eileen Williams:

Yeah, there was.

Aunty Robyn Williams:

From all over the place, so it was, it was good growing up with other Aboriginal families in the area.

Description:

Black and white photograph of ten children and a woman in the background, wearing birthday party hats, smiling.

Aunty Robyn Williams:

But we, umm, got on well with everyone.

Description:

Black and white photograph of the parents of Aunty Eileen and Aunty Robyn, with Aunty Eileen on her wedding day. Aunty Eileen is the young woman wearing a wedding dress and a veil. 

Aunty Robyn Williams:                                                                                              

Dad was from Beaudesert, a Mununjali man. And Mum was from, she grew up in Cherbourg but originally her family were Biri Gabba, just outside of Townsville.

Description:

Black and white photograph of an older Bilin, wearing a metal chest plate standing outside a structure made of branches near wire and wood fences.  

Aunty Robyn Williams:

Great, great, great grandfather Bilin was known as King of the Logan. So Dad said we're princesses, but that could've just been Dad calling us princesses, too!

Aunty Eileen Williams:

Yeah.

Description:

Aunty Robyn Williams, on the left, sitting next to Aunty Eileen Williams. They are at a table outside Aunty Eileen’s home, facing the camera. They are having a discussion and talking to each other, and the camera.

Aunty Eileen Williams:

Well you softened him.

Aunty Robyn Williams:

Yeah we did, hey?

Aunty Eileen Williams:

Yeah, but we are, we are royalty!

Aunty Robyn Williams:

We are royalty.

Aunty Eileen Williams:

In the Aboriginal way.

Aunty Robyn Williams:

Mum was under the Act, wasn't she?

Aunty Eileen Williams:

Yeah.

Aunty Robyn Williams:

But Dad wasn't, hey?

Aunty Eileen Williams:

No Dad wasn't.

Aunty Robyn Williams:

No, Mum was under the act, but Dad wasn't.

Description:

Colour photograph of Aunty Eileen and Aunty Robyn Williams’ father, Cyril Williams, in profile as an older man, dressed smartly and smiling.

Aunty Eileen Williams:

He was free.

Aunty Robyn Williams:

He was free.

Aunty Eileen Williams:

When they come to get the kids, they hid. They hid the children.

Description:

Aunty Robyn Williams, on the left, sitting next to Aunty Eileen Williams. They are at a table outside Aunty Eileen’s home, facing the camera. They are having a discussion and talking to each other, and the camera.

Aunty Robyn Williams:

They hid the kids... So Dad was from Beaudesert. And, umm, when they went looking for the kids, they all hid.

Description:

Black and white photograph of a woman (possibly a teacher) in a white shirt and long skirt with a hat on standing outside on the steps of a school building in Cherbourg, with a large number of Aboriginal students standing or sitting in rows. This photograph is dated 1912, and is from the State Library of Queensland’s collections.

Text on screen:

Cherbourg.

Aunty Robyn Williams:

But mum was in a dormitory.

Description:

Black and white photograph of school children at Barambah Aboriginal Settlement standing outdoors in an open area, standing in regimented rows at arm’s length apart, with left hand touching the child in fronts shoulder. A woman in a long white dress and hat (possibly a teacher) can be seen watching the children. There are buildings and many trees in the background. This photograph is dated 1912, and is from the State Library of Queensland’s collections.

Aunty Eileen Williams:

Yeah.

Aunty Robyn Williams:

In Cherbourg.

Aunty Eileen Williams:

Yeah.

Aunty Robyn Williams:

She couldn't just go and do whatever she wanted to do.

Aunty Eileen Williams:

She wanted to do.

Aunty Robyn Williams:

She couldn't leave Cherbourg.

Aunty Eileen Williams:

No.

Aunty Robyn Williams:

So she'd get permission, hey?

Aunty Eileen Williams:  

Yeah.

Aunty Robyn Williams:

So it was like…

Aunty Eileen Williams:

And to go back and visit.

Description:

Aunty Robyn Williams, on the left, sitting next to Aunty Eileen Williams. They are at a table outside Aunty Eileen’s home, facing the camera. They are having a discussion and talking to each other, and the camera.

Aunty Robyn Williams:

She had to go back and visit. Like once she left Cherbourg, she had to get permission to go back and visit her family.

Description:

Black and white photograph of seven adults with their backs to the camera, lining up to get into a building that looks like a shed. One of the women in the line has a full sack. This depicts a flour distribution at Barambah Aboriginal Settlement. A teenager in the line faces the camera. A young child holding a bucket and with flour on his clothes faces the camera. There is a woman standing holding an empty sack, looking at the line. This photograph is dated 1911, and is from the State Library of Queensland’s collections.

Aunty Eileen Williams:

They send them out to work.

Aunty Robyn Williams:

They send them out to work, yeah.

Aunty Eileen Williams:

And they were twelve.

Description:

Black and white photograph of children in classroom, looking down at their desks. A male teacher in the background can be seen watching over the children. A teenage boy in the background is standing and focused on a book, held in his hands.  This photograph is dated 1952, and is from the State Library of Queensland’s collections.

Aunty Robyn Williams:

Yeah, Mum was 12 when she was sent out to work. She was moved from Cherbourg down to Brisbane so, and put on the bus by herself.

Aunty Eileen Williams:

Yeah.

Description:

Black and white photograph of Aunty Eileen and Aunty Robyn Williams’ mother in an outdoor setting, holding the shoulders of her two young daughters.

Aunty Robyn Williams:

She tried to live a normal life, but deep down she was really, really scared.

Aunty Eileen Williams:

Mum was so scared of our being taken and that we'd go away.

Aunty Robyn Williams:

Oh, yeah, she was always scared that you'd get taken away.

Description:

Aunty Robyn Williams, on the left, sitting next to Aunty Eileen Williams. They are at a table outside Aunty Eileen’s home, facing the camera. They are having a discussion and talking to each other, and the camera.

Aunty Robyn Williams:

She'd used make sure the house was clean and tidy in case anyone turned up. Any of the "protectors" turned up or whoever, government people.

Aunty Eileen Williams:

That's right.

Aunty Robyn Williams:

The house was just spotless.

Aunty Eileen Williams:

Always told not to stir up trouble.

Aunty Robyn Williams:

Yeah, not to stir up trouble, heh?

Aunty Eileen Williams:

I guess mum was so scared. Poor Mum!

Description:

Black and white photograph of Aunty Eileen and Aunty Robyn Williams’ mother in an outdoor setting in front of a fence. She is in a dark outfit with one of her young daughters standing against her, smiling.  The mother’s hand is over the young girl’s shoulders. A car and Hills Hoist clothes line can be seen in the background.

Aunty Robyn Williams:  

And you know, we did the right thing, we went to school. We did all, you know, it was just a thing that went through our whole life.

Description:

Aunty Robyn Williams, on the left, sitting next to Aunty Eileen Williams. They are at a table outside Aunty Eileen’s home, facing the camera. They are having a discussion and talking to each other, and the camera.

Aunty Robyn Williams:  

The most important thing was, Mum and Dad wanted us to be educated.

Aunty Eileen Williams:

Yeah.

Aunty Robyn Williams:

And that's our passion, Eileen and I.

Aunty Eileen Williams:  

Yeah.

Description:

Colour photograph of a smiling Aunty Eileen Williams as a middle aged woman, in a classroom setting, with four smiling children. She has her arms around one of the students.

Aunty Robyn Williams:

Our family is very educated. Eileen went to Teachers College, when you were? How old were you?

Aunty Eileen Williams:

Thirty-eight.

Description:

Black and white image of Aunty Eileen Williams surrounded by children, in a classroom. Aunty Eileen Williams and the children are all smiling and laughing.

Aunty Robyn Williams:  

Thirty-eight. So she went as a mature age student and became a teacher.

Aunty Eileen Williams:  

Yeah.

Description:

Aunty Robyn Williams, on the left, sitting next to Aunty Eileen Williams. They are at a table outside Aunty Eileen’s home, facing the camera. They are having a discussion and talking to each other, and the camera.

Aunty Robyn Williams:

And I found my way into education. So I'm a teacher aide now. But I also work just going into schools and giving talks. About our culture because a lot of people want to know about our Aboriginal culture and that. And we want our children to learn. We want to give them that opportunity.

Aunty Eileen Williams:  

Yeah. 

Description:

Video of Aunty Robyn Williams in the Logan West Library, reading an Aboriginal picture book story to Aunty Eileen’s two young grandchildren, Alyssa and Sienna Williams. The book’s pages are in focus, as she turns the page, the bright and colourful artwork can be seen.

Text on screen:

Aunty Robyn lives in Mount Warren Park, Logan City and continues to work in local schools.

Description:

Camera focuses on Aunty Robyn Williams, who is listening and assisting one of her nieces to read the book out loud to her.

Aunty Robyn Williams and the Child:

The magical king fisher. King Fisher. In the dreaming...

Description:

Camera focuses on Aunty Eileen Williams in her wheelchair, listening and enjoying the children reading the story. Aunty Eileen Williams appears quite moved by their reading.

Text on screen:

Aunty Eileen suffered a stroke in 2012.

Description:

Camera pans out to show both Aunty Eileen Williams in her wheelchair, and Aunty Robyn Williams on the couch between Alyssa and Sienna Williams.

Text on screen:

From her home in Edens Landing, Logan City, Aunty Eileen remains involved in education initiatives.

Description:

Camera shows Aunty Eileen Williams reminiscing and sharing a family story with Aunty Robyn Williams and her grandchildren, who are on the couch in the library facing her.

Aunty Eileen Williams:  

When he was at school, when he played cricket…

Description:

Aunty Robyn Williams, on the left, is sitting at a table outside next to Aunty Eileen Williams, on the right, facing the camera. They are having a discussion and talking to each other, and the camera.

Aunty Robyn Williams:

If we can teach our children that history, goodness knows what they'll get from that, so.

Aunty Eileen Williams:

Yeah.

Aunty Robyn Williams:  

We've got to teach them the right history.

Aunty Eileen Williams:

That's right.

Aunty Robyn Williams:

It's not a blame game. Just let them know what happened.

Aunty Eileen Williams:

They have to know the truth.

Aunty Robyn Williams:

Yeah, they have to know the truth, don't they?

Aunty Eileen Williams:

Yeah, our kids have to know, to listen to them.

Aunty Robyn Williams:

So if we can do that.

Aunty Eileen Williams:

Yeah.

Aunty Robyn Williams:

It's a job well done, isn't it?

Aunty Robyn Williams:

Yeah, it’s a job well done.

Description:

Black and white photograph of a man with his arm around a women and a teenager, with a young girl standing in front of them, smiling.

Aunty Eileen Williams:

Family is so important to us.

Aunty Robyn Williams:

Yeah, yeah. Family is very important.

Description:

Black and white photograph of four children at the beach in the water, holding each other and smiling at the camera.

Aunty Robyn Williams:

We should all stick together as a family.

Aunty Eileen Williams:

Yeah we should.

Aunty Eileen Williams:

Yes and they will learn to respect us.

Aunty Robyn Williams:

And they learn to respect us. Yes.

Aunty Eileen Williams:

And acknowledge what they did.

Aunty Robyn Williams:

And acknowledge what they did.

Aunty Eileen Williams:

Yeah.

Aunty Robyn Williams:

Yeah, yeah.

Description:

Aunty Robyn Williams, on the left, sitting next to Aunty Eileen Williams. They are at a table outside Aunty Eileen’s home, facing the camera. They are having a discussion and talking to each other, and the camera.

Aunty Eileen Williams:

But the kids learn all that.

Aunty Robyn Williams:

But kids get that education, hey?

Aunty Eileen Williams:

Yeah.

Aunty Robyn Williams:

That's the most important thing. That's what we want, our kids to be educated.

Aunty Eileen Williams:

And our kids all with their family.

Aunty Robyn Williams:

And kids to be with their families, hey?

Aunty Eileen Williams:

And to tell all their families the truth.

Aunty Robyn Williams:

And tell their families the truth. Yep.

Aunty Eileen Williams:

Yeah.

Aunty Robyn Williams:

Be truthful. So if we can instil in them who they are.

Aunty Eileen Williams:  

Yeah.

Aunty Robyn Williams:

That's all, our job is done.

Aunty Eileen Williams:

Yeah.

Description:

Back at Logan West Library, both Aunty Eileen Williams in her wheelchair, and Aunty Robyn Williams on the couch, are talking to Alyssa and Sienna Williams. 

Aunty Robyn Williams:

So where is our country?

Aunty Eileen’s grandchild:  

In Yugambeh.

Aunty Robyn Williams:

In Yugambeh, that's right. And what did you say you were princess of?

Aunty Eileen’s grandchild:  

Yugambeh.

Aunty Robyn Williams:

And what school do you girls go to?

Aunty Eileen’s grandchild:  

Yugumbir.

Aunty Robyn Williams:

I know, isn't that amazing? That the country that we're from, has a school in the same name? You're so lucky!

Text on screen:

Director

DOUGLAS WATKIN

Camera

MATT COX

Editor

AXEL GRIGOR

Text on screen:

The Our Aunties and Uncles digital stories project is supported through funding from the Australian Government’s Your Community Heritage Program.

Image of Australian Government’s logo

Image of Logan City Council logo

Text on screen:

Logan City Council gratefully acknowledges the time, resources and stories of the following:

Aunty Eileen Williams

Aunty Robyn Williams

Alyssa and Sienna Williams

Reeghan Finlay (Yugambeh Language and Heritage Research Centre)

Nyeumba-Meta Advisory Group

Text on screen:

Logan City Council gratefully acknowledges permission granted by the State Library of Queensland to digitally publish the following photograph:

Students in school at Cherbourg, 1952

School children at Barambah Aboriginal Settlement, 1912

Flour distribution at Barambah Aboriginal Settlement, 1911

Text on screen:

For Mobo Jarjum - tomorrow’s children

Text on screen:

© 2014 Logan City Council

END OF TRANSCRIPT