Readers Contributions: Blue Mountains celebrates International Women’s Day at the Cultural Centre

Blue Mountains celebrates International Women’s Day at the Cultural Centre

By Deborah Wall

Three Aboriginal people were among the 100 women featured in Brigitte Grant’s book, Women’s Journeys: Blue Mountains Women and their Stories: Jo Clancy, Becky Chatfield and Elly Chatfield.

Wiradjuri woman, Jo Clancy, Artistic Director of Wagana Aboriginal Dancers has Iived on Darug and Gundungurra Country for over forty years. She creates stories and dance in connection with the landscape. ‘Wagana’ in Wiradjuri means ‘dancing now’.

Jo Clancy: Photo courtesy Brigitte Grant

Kamilaroi woman living on Darug and Gundungurra land, Becky Chatfield works as a Field Officer. She is also a dancer. She dances with Wagana Aboriginal Dancers. Like Jo, she has mentored young girls in dance. One of her goals is to shift Australians’ perspective about First Nations people and change the system that oppresses them, break down barriers, and create a safer space for First Nations people.

Becky Chatfield: Photo courtesy Brigitte Grant

Gamilaroi woman from North West NSW, Elly Chatfield is an Aboriginal artist, actor and a member of the Stolen Generation. She was taken from Moree to Parramatta when she was 13 months old. She lived in Merrylands for twenty-five years with a foster family. She only reconnected with her birth family at age 38. One of her achievements was being invited to be an Ambassador for the Australian and International Design Charter. With other Indigenous Australians, she became part of an advisory team that presented best protocols and practices to corporate Australian and International companies to include Indigenous design into corporate buildings. The Charter enabled her to visit Denmark, Sweden, Greenland and Canada. She lives in Katoomba in the Blue Mountains.

Elly Chatfield: Photo courtesy Brigitte Grant

At the IWD event, cultural broker and strategist, Cheryl Yin-Lo engaged other women featured in the book in a conversation about their life stories: State MP, Trish Doyle; make-up artist, Sophie Gunn; Quaker, Permaculture and refugee teacher, Rosemary Morrow; and author/photographer, Brigitte Grant.

Womens Reconciliation Network member, Filipino Australian poet and author, Deborah Wall was also featured in Grant’s book.