Kinship Connections https://kinshipconnections.org.au/ MAKING A DIFFERENCE Wed, 03 Feb 2021 02:14:52 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Glen’s Story https://kinshipconnections.org.au/glens-story/ https://kinshipconnections.org.au/glens-story/#respond Sun, 31 Jan 2021 02:54:01 +0000 https://kinshipconnections.org.au/?p=1784 Artist from the Kimberley Glen with painting of Broome Glen Dixon is the 5th child born to Gordon Dixon and Betty Dixon nee(Hunter). Glen is one of eight children and was born, and grew up in Broome, Western Australia his tribal background is Bardi, Yaru and the Jabir-Jabir people from the coastal areas around Broome. […]

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Artist from the Kimberley
Glen with painting of Broome

Glen Dixon is the 5th child born to Gordon Dixon and Betty Dixon nee(Hunter). Glen is one of eight children and was born, and grew up in Broome, Western Australia his tribal background is Bardi, Yaru and the Jabir-Jabir people from the coastal areas around Broome.

Glen’s partner of 21 years is Tracy May and together they have seven children, David, Laticia, Glen jnr, Samantha, Brittany, Austin and Victoria. Glen still does his traditional hunting and gathering on the land or sea teaching his kids the old way how it was shown to him by his people.

Broome painting
Broome painting

Glen states “I got my art from my father, I wanted him to do a drawing for me which gave me the inspiration to be an artist. I first started painting in school with Aboriginal dot painting, then moved onto TAFE to do art in general, to learn a wide range of different art mediums and other styles. I have now my own style of Aboriginal art “dot painting”. Aboriginal art is made up of four colours, which is white, brown, yellow and black, but I also add four other colours, which is green, orange, blue and red which is the colours I see from my country. Such as the trees, sunset, sunrise, the sea, the ocean, and the Pindan Cliffs. Most of my art is about painting animals, sea, land, gathering of bush fruits and shells from my country. The country I been brought up from”.

Glen and Tracy
Glen and Tracy

Glen would be happy to hear from anyone if they would like to purchase one of his paintings, or if your agency would like to commission Glen to paint your agency a pacific painting then please contact Kinship Connections and we will forward your request on to him.

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Nathan’s Story https://kinshipconnections.org.au/nathans-story/ https://kinshipconnections.org.au/nathans-story/#respond Sun, 31 Jan 2021 02:34:26 +0000 https://kinshipconnections.org.au/?p=1764 “My message to other people wanting to stop using gunja is you need to have the right mindset. If you want something, you need to put your mind to it and reach out. It’s all up to you!” Nathan Oakley Nathan Oakley is descended from the Hawke family in Broome and is one of the […]

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“My message to other people wanting to stop using gunja is you need to have the right mindset. If you want something, you need to put your mind to it and reach out. It’s all up to you!”

Nathan Oakley

Nathan Oakley is descended from the Hawke family in Broome and is one of the sons of Ann Hawke. He lives in Perth. Nathan talked to David Clark about overcoming his gunja problem.

1. My early gunja smoking days
I started smoking gunja when I was around 12 years old. There was no peer pressure. I wasn’t having any problems in my life; in fact, everything was pretty normal. I was just curious about gunja, as I knew my friends’ older brothers liked using the drug.

The first time I smoked gunja it was with a friend, his brother and the brother’s mate. We were shown how to smoke a bong and then left to our own devices. I liked the effects of the drug. In those early days, I often remained stoned all day after a morning smoking session. I particularly remember getting the ‘munchies’ and having to go down to the local shop to get some M&Ms to eat.

During that year, I smoked gunja only periodically. However, my using then started to accelerate. I’d smoke every other weekend, then every weekend, then every second day, and finally every day.

Later, I found that I needed a smoke as soon as I got up in the morning… and one before I went to bed. In fact, I became convinced that I needed gunja just to function properly. I found that the drug made me relax and I even got a thrill from making up a bong. Gunja made me hungry and when I wasn’t stoned I wouldn’t eat.

2. The peak of my habit
Eight years after my first smoke, the whole process had become automatic. I was smoking on average about a quarter of an ounce a day, which was costing me about $150 a week. Most of my pay went on funding my habit. I had various jobs after I left school, the main one eventually being concreting.

On a typical workday, I’d wake up at 05.00 and put together a few cones. I’d then put the kettle on and have a shower. I smoked as much gunja as I could before heading to work. Most of the boys would bring the drug into work and we’d smoke a couple of cones whilst there. However, we couldn’t smoke too much as the work was hard.

If I’d run out of drug, I’d buy half an ounce after work. I’d then smoke with a friend, or friends, all evening until we passed out. We didn’t do much other than smoke, jabber and laugh. We talked about the past, what we might do in the future, what we would invent, anything really.

Everyday life was pretty much a fixed routine. There were no life dramas. However, if I didn’t have gunja, I’d be in a shitty mood, irritable, on edge and short with people. I didn’t know what to do with myself if I wasn’t smoking. But I would hang on in there with no drug until I received my wage.

3. The decision to quit
During the last year or two of smoking gunja, I kept saying to myself that I would quit. I never did. I began to feel that I wasn’t going anywhere in my life. It was the same old shit. I also found that I was smoking more and more of the drug to get the same effect. I was developing tolerance to the drug’s effects.

About three-and a-half years ago, I broke off with a girl I’d been going with for six years. I just wanted to change my whole lifestyle. I was now beating myself up for not stopping. I’d told myself so many times I would stop smoking and yet I always went back to it.

However, I now found that my failing to stop was making me feel more and more repulsed by gunja. I let these feelings dwell in my mind and they just grew and grew.

Eventually, the feeling grew so strong that one day I hated gunja so much I just walked away from it.  I was halfway through a session and just said to my mate, “I’m fucking done, I’m going to quit!” And I just quit.

4. Staying stopped
The first few days after stopping smoking were horrible. It seemed like my whole body had gone into shock. I felt fidgety, irritable, moody and on edge. My appetite went haywire and I didn’t eat. I was bored and a little depressed.

Staying stopped
Staying stopped

During the first month, I made sure I stayed away from anything and everything associated with gunja. That included the mates I used to smoke with. It helped that my housemate didn’t use the drug and I made sure I caught up with old mates who didn’t smoke.

I also made sure that I kept myself busy with other activities. Normally, this is one of the most difficult things to come to terms with when you stop using a drug. What do I do with all the time that used to be taken up by smoking and talking shit?

I had always been involved in car clubs, so I devoted more time to this. I also got myself involved in various sporting activities.

I lost the desire to smoke gunja pretty quickly. Within a month or so, I found I had almost stopped thinking about the drug. I started to appreciate how much spare cash I now had – and also how much I’d previously been spending on my habit. It was good to think that rather than spend $50 on gunja, I could put $50 worth of petrol in the car.

After a month, I started to interact with some of my gunja-smoking mates. Some were still friendly, but others never bothered to see me again. That was fine. It’s good to know who your real friends are. I found it easy being with my gunja using mates, because their smoking now didn’t bother me. I’d just lost all desire for the drug.

5. Life today
Three years after stopping, I still find it very easy. Looking back, I guess that when I finally decided to stop, I did NOT make it a big deal. I convinced myself that I could leave gunja ‘easy as’.

I had expectations of what would happen when I stopped using and I planned for these changes. I also told myself I would ride out the storm!

I guess it also helped building up the repulsion for the drug, as I described earlier. I reached a stage where I hated what I was doing so much, it was easy to just walk away.

My message to other people wanting to stop using gunja is you need to have the right mindset. If you want something, you need to put your mind to it and reach out. It’s all up to you!

Nathan Oakley & David Clark
Nathan Oakley & David Clark

There were two additional rewards to stopping smoking. Firstly, my parents are really pleased and I guess proud of me. I think I gave them quite a shock when I stopped using… and stayed stopped.

Secondly, I was able to get a job working up north abut six months after stopping using, which I would never had managed to do if I had continued smoking. This gave me even more ready cash and kept me busy.

When I think back, I made gunja part of my life routine and for a long time nothing disrupted this pattern. It became automatic to just keep smoking.

I knew it was an addiction, although if I didn’t have the money I didn’t smoke. I didn’t go stealing money or anything else criminal to fund my habit, so I guess mine was not an extreme addiction. However, if I had money, I’d slip back into that routine.

I broke that routine and to be honest with you, it wasn’t that difficult. If you put your mind to it, you can do the same.

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Jenny’s Story https://kinshipconnections.org.au/jennys-story/ https://kinshipconnections.org.au/jennys-story/#respond Sun, 31 Jan 2021 02:11:11 +0000 https://kinshipconnections.org.au/?p=1735 Jenny Janice (Jenny) McEwan (nee Ward)Jenny was born in 1953 in Wagin WA. She is the sixth child born to Oliver Henry Ward and Dorothy Valentine Jones. Jenny spent most of her childhood around the Woodanilling and Katanning areas. Jenny’s father Oliver (Olley) was a shearer and her mother Dorothy (Kitty), was a domestic in […]

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Jenny

Janice (Jenny) McEwan (nee Ward)
Jenny was born in 1953 in Wagin WA. She is the sixth child born to Oliver Henry Ward and Dorothy Valentine Jones. Jenny spent most of her childhood around the Woodanilling and Katanning areas. Jenny’s father Oliver (Olley) was a shearer and her mother Dorothy (Kitty), was a domestic in the local hotel. Jenny recalls fond memories of living with her family even though she said life was hard, “but we all had to help out”. Because her parents both worked, Jenny stayed at home to help raise her siblings. She would get them all up and off to school then cook and clean until her parents returned home in the evenings. Jenny attended grades 1-4 at Woodanilling primary, then grades 5-7 at Katanning Primary. She dropped out of school in grade 8 to help her parents care for her siblings.

Jenny McEwan

In Jenny’s later years she had a family of her own; Eric, Brian, Naomi, Oliver and Sheraee. She was living in Narrogin at the time and met a man called William (Bill) McEwan who later became her husband. Jenny lived in Narrogin until 1987 when they decided to move to Perth. Bill and Jenny have raised their children as well as many more other children in the Kewdale area were they remain today. Bill and Jenny are also active grandparents to over 23 grandchildren.

Jenny is a well-respected Elder and is often asked to attend and deliver “Noongar Welcomes” on behalf of the Belmont Shire. Jenny has travelled extensively throughout WA as the coordinator of the ASTI dart carnival, and is also an active dart player with a team called the “Dark Vaders”.

Currently Jenny is a sought after Elder at the Belmont Shire in an advisory role and she also sits on the Bentley District Aboriginal Action Group (DAAG), advising community health services of the issues within the Aboriginal community.

Jenny McEwan
Jenny McEwan

Jenny is also an active member of Kinship Connections and you will meet her at all of Kinship Connections gatherings.

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Audrey’s Story https://kinshipconnections.org.au/audreys-story/ https://kinshipconnections.org.au/audreys-story/#respond Sun, 31 Jan 2021 00:47:51 +0000 https://kinshipconnections.org.au/?p=1661 Audrey Lawson Audrey Lawson (nee Bell) was born in 1943. She is one of the four children born to an Aboriginal service man called Clifton Bell and Mildred Willaway. At the age of five Audrey and her brothers, Gordon and Creston, were left at the Catholic Church (Tarden Mission) they remained there untill they were old […]

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Audrey Lawson

Audrey Lawson (nee Bell) was born in 1943. She is one of the four children born to an Aboriginal service man called Clifton Bell and Mildred Willaway.

At the age of five Audrey and her brothers, Gordon and Creston, were left at the Catholic Church (Tarden Mission) they remained there untill they were old enough to be sent out to work.

When Audrey was 14 years old, she was sent to Dongara Dominic Convent for a year to work with the nuns in the kitchen. At 15, Audrey’s contract was up she headed to Geraldton to find work. She was told that there was work at “Thunderlarra Station” (70km S.E of Yalgoo) as a domestic. Audrey got the job and remained there until the station owners brought “Edah Station” in Yalgoo. Audrey and all the current domestic staff and stockmen moved with the station owners to the new station as she had enjoyed working for them and said they were good to the Aboriginal people.

Clifton Murray Bell

When Audrey was 18 she moved to “Yuih Station” (75km NW of Yalgoo) where she stayed for 12 months. When Audrey’s year was up, she had met a man from New Norcia mission called Ronnie Lawson and they were soon married by Father Justin in New Norcia Mission church.

Over the next few years life was tough for Audrey and Ronnie. They travelled extensively all over the northwest with their four children; Riccarda Rose (RIP), Sean, Ronella and Darren (RIP); moving from place to place, wherever Ronnie could find work as a stockman. After years of constant moving with Ronnie it became too much for Audrey and the children and they parted ways when Darren was just 4 years old.

Audrey Lawson

Over the next twenty years Audrey grew her children up as a single parent, first in Dalwallinu, and later moving to Perth as they grew older.

On Audrey’s fiftieth birthday she met a man called Terry Wynn and they have been together ever since. Terry and Audrey are currently living in Harvey and still travel regularly to the northwest, visiting and helping friends and family or attending many family funerals.

Audrey stated that during her “Mission days” as a domestic she had mastered the skills in cooking, cleaning, pickling, sewing and blanket making.

Not only is Audrey a fantastic cook, she is also a very skilled blanket maker and many of her blankets have been sent around the world. Some have gone to England, Wales and many to New Zealand.

Audrey mentions that if anyone is interested in learning how to make these blankets she would be happy to sit side by side and show them how to crochet the old way.

Audrey is also available to help cook Kangaroo and damper at any function or school event.

You will find Aunty Audrey at many of Kinship Connections get togethers as an Elder and also overseeing the cooking crew.

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