Barbara Dutton

  1. What led me to become interested in WRN ?

At the end of 1965 I migrated to Australia with French husband and baby son. We lived first in Canberra, then on Sydney’s Lower North Shore – where there were very few non-Anglos.

I deeply regret that I had no knowledge of the history of our First Peoples.

It was not until the late 1980s, after reading of a Sydney University Continuing Education course “From Dreamtime to Dispossession” that it came to me that I knew about the Kanak struggle in New Caledonia, but very little about our Aborigines – quite shameful really. Jack Beetson led the course and I began the journey of learning the sorry history of my third country. I became a member of Tranby.

Returning in 2004 after eight years in New Caledonia, working with Kanak friends for independence, I came across Lyn Scott, who said she remembered me from Tranby. Was she the one who introduced me to WRN ? I honestly can’t remember, for it could have been Elaine Telford, met at Pitt Street Uniting Church in the early 1990s. Whoever, it was, I’m very grateful that they did, for I really appreciate the friendship of the intelligent, interesting women and all that I learn at our meetings.

2 What are the challenges for genuine reconciliation ?

Undoubtedly the lack of interest in matters Aborigine by the majority of the population and their lack of knowledge of the true history of Australia.

3 How do you see the way forward ?

Education, education, education, starting by schools teaching past true history and present achievements of so many Aborigines.

Talking to people met wherever – on street, in public transport – especially explaining the Uluru Statement from the Heart, which is such a wise document, of which far too many people are still unaware, but which they usually agree is so important once they understand its contents and intentions.