The achievements of some of Dubbo’s trailblazing women were celebrated on Tuesday for NAIDOC Week.
The stories were shared for this year’s theme ‘because of her we can’. Brinae Smith told the story of her grandmother Lorni Hyland, who, after growing up in an orphanage, devote her time to giving back to the community.
Ms Smith and her mother Lowana West said Ms Hyland and her siblings were put into an orphanage when they were young. Ms Hyland was often targeted by the staff due to her dark skin, Ms West said, including being pushed down the stairs.
After running away, Ms Hyland was adopted by a lady who saw her walking along the highway.
She became well-known in Dubbo for her work in Gordon Estate creating fence murals with the local children.
“If Gran wasn’t the inspirational person she was I don’t think we’d be involved in the community as much as we are. All in all, the way that you’re taught and brought up has a huge impact on the person you become. Growing up and being very community-minded is what’s lead me to be who I am today and do what I am today,” Ms Smith said.
She said her Gran had always been passionate about helping people and expected nothing in return.
“I just want people to realise it doesn’t matter how you’ve been brought up or what’s happened in your life there’s always ways to turn it around and make it the best you can. Being the role model you choose to be,” Ms Smith said.
She encouraged women to ignore where they came from and continue to work hard for what they wanted to achieve.
Dubbo Aboriginal Work Party chair Shirley Wilson said NAIDOC was a special community event and it had been great to see Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people marking the occasion.
The NAIDOC theme was beautiful, she said.
“Mums are very special people. Women of today need to step forward, they’re sometimes in the shadow and they need to step forward,” she said.