Posted by: Lisa Hill | May 15, 2021

2021 Margaret River Readers & Writers Festival: Two Cultures, One Story, by Robert Isaacs

 


It was Day two of the Margaret River Readers and Writers Festival today, and I’ve ‘zoomed’ it to listen to all day, while doing other things.  The highlights of the day for me were revisiting Pip Williams talking about her novel The Dictionary of Lost Words with Gillian O’Shaughnessy; hearing Julia Baird talking about her work Phosphorescence with Will Yeoman; and the conversation between Jane Caro, author of Accidental Feminists and Dr Robert Isaacs OAM, talking about his new memoir Two Cultures, One Story.

Jane Caro began by listing the achievements of this extraordinary man, and then he read from the opening pages.  We heard that, as a member of the Stolen generations, he began his adult life at seventeen when he was shown the door of Clontarf Boys Town and told never to come back — a life event that would have seen many young men go dreadfully stray — yet this treatment was followed by years of dedicated work on behalf of his people, and despite brutal treatment by the church, he still retains a strong faith.   He spoke very little about the hardships of his life, and credited Clontarf with giving him an education that has enabled his achievements.  He became one of the most influential bureaucrats in West Australian Aboriginal affairs, with an indefatigable determination to achieve his aims, starting ‘at the top’ whenever he had to!

Isaacs is now retired, but among his achievements include working in Aboriginal housing, establishing the state’s Aboriginal Medical Service, and becoming the first Aboriginal person elected to local government as a councillor for the City of Gosnells, eventually serving as deputy mayor.  He was named West Australian of the Year in 2015 and was made a Member of the Order of Australia in 2016.  Isaacs is an Aboriginal Elder from the Whadjuk-Bibilmum Wardandi Noongar language group.

I have ordered the book and will write a proper review when I’ve read it.

Many thanks to the festival for making this excellent session accessible.


Responses

  1. […] Robert Isaacs is a Noongar Elder and a member of the Stolen Generations, and asked how he was able to tell his story, he answered that he could do it because it was his lived experience.  He was actually there in the Clontarf Boys Town and really saw what went on, just as he later on as a senior bureaucrat in Aboriginal Housing, he witnessed what was actually happening.  He used his education to rise to the top of organisations that had never had Indigenous input into their decision-making.  I reported on yesterday’s session with this most interesting author here.) […]

    Like

  2. […] Robert Isaacs is a Noongar Elder and a member of the Stolen Generations, and asked how he was able to tell his story, he answered that he could do it because it was his lived experience.  He was actually there in the Clontarf Boys Town and really saw what went on, just as he later on as a senior bureaucrat in Aboriginal Housing, he witnessed what was actually happening.  He used his education to rise to the top of organisations that had never had Indigenous input into their decision-making.  I reported on yesterday’s session with this most interesting author here.) […]

    Like

  3. I have reserved a copy at the library.

    Like

  4. […] readers will remember that the Margaret River Readers & Writers Festival featured an author event with Robert Isaacs, talk…Two Cultures, One Story.  I have now read this inspiring life story, and it is […]

    Like


Leave a Reply to Two Cultures, One Story, by Robert Isaacs with Tanaz Byramji | ANZ LitLovers LitBlog Cancel reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Categories

%d bloggers like this: