Delvene Cockatoo-Collins on the importance of generations of family legacy to her art

  
0:00
-18:10

Today’s Streets of Your Town podcast goes to North Stradbroke Island in the sparkling jewel that is Moreton Bay in Queensland’s south-east.

You can bliss out listening to the waves lapping at my feet as I interview incredible artist Delvene Cockatoo-Collins. Just click on the play link above.

While this patch of paradise is known as “Straddie” to some, to the Quandamooka Aboriginal people, who have a connection to the island going back more than 20,000 years, it is known it as Minjerribah, meaning “island in the sun”.

Delvene Cockatoo-Collins is a First Nations artist based here, like generations of her family before her.

“I think I’m only able to do what I do because of the legacy from my family,” she says.

“And from the broader community there is this sense of independence here. There is a strong cultural practice and history. And it all greatly impacts and supports my arts practice.”

Her works are now sold around the world and were featured in designs for the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games medals, and her representation of the white whale Migaloo floating high above the audience in the opening ceremony.

Delvene is exhibiting at the Dubai Expo 2020, which was delayed a year because of Covid.

“My work will have that first time international presence,” she says.

“This fibre would’ve been used to make dugong nets. There are the baskets made out of the freshwater reed. We don’t really share where that is grown.

“So that movie with Tom Hanks, Castaway, he’s used this fibre as a survival mechanism. When you know how to retrieve, harvest fibres, (and) make twine, you can build a raft. You can make baskets, you can make rope, or you can make nets.”

You will hear part of a walking tour Delvene takes me on in the podcast. Delvene hosts these tours regularly for people keen to get a First Nations perspective of important artistic and cultural sites that are often overlooked, such as this mural on the wall outside of the North Stradbroke Island Aboriginal and Islanders Housing Co-operative Society—painted by none other than renowned author and poet Oodgeroo Noonuccal (or Aunty Kath Walker).

We start our conversation for Streets of Your Town on the beach under the Cotton Trees near Dunwich, known as Goompi to the Quandamooka people, where Delvene finds many of the materials she uses in her evolving arts practice.

“This beautiful salt water that we’re looking at now always offers so much, and I’m very grateful for that,” Delvene says.

“There’s places to stop to look, reflect and listen.

“This cotton tree has lovely shade. It’s a playground because of the low-lying branches you often find kids playing in here, but it’s also a tree that’s found right across the Pacific and many of us use it for the same purpose and that is for twine making so it’s a beautiful inner bark that is removed to make a rope type of fibre. And also the long straight branches are used for spears.

“It’s something that unites communities across the Pacific.

"It’s a tree that keeps giving. For me it’s magic really.”

She also shares some of her stories handed down to her by her ancestors, such as how Aboriginal people from throughout the islands in Moreton Bay were close enough to communicate to each other.

“Mulgumpin (Moreton Island), we know it was close enough that our people could communicate with each other. So that passage has widened over time and it is quite rough through there. But we know our people came across,” Delvene says.

“When you look at it, moving across water is as straight forward as moving across land. You just need the right capacity or way of moving.”

Behind the Scenes

I hope you’ll agree with me that listening to Delvene teach how to weave twine from cotton tree fibre is pretty meditative!

You’ve only got to see this pretty relaxed shot of me under the cotton trees to see that! A rare contemplative moment!

Or perhaps just chill for a minute while listening to those waves and watching that weaving movement in this beautiful little slideshow video that Delvene shot on the day.

It’s a beautiful way to spend a day—going out on a day trip to Minjerribah from Cleveland on the ferry, and wandering around with an internationally renowned First Nations artist to see places and hear stories you would never have access to otherwise.

Wandering Journo wins a gong as part of Amanda Gearing's Guardian Team

This week was pretty significant for me in that it was the annual Queensland Media Awards—known as The Clarions—and a story I helped out on was honoured with the Clarion for Best Radio Documentary and Podcast.

You can listen to this important story here:

Coercive control: Hannah Clarke’s parents on the abuse that preceded their daughter’s murder

Hannah Clarke’s parents talk about the abuse of their daughter and what they wish they had known about coercive control before she was murdered by her former partner.

For more

Read more about Delvene’s work, see and listen to the back catalogue of Streets of Your Town episodes and learn more about my work as The Wandering Journo at the Streets of Your Town website at https://soyt.substack.com.

And you can see and read more about Delvene’s work at her website https://cockatoocollins.com.


Streets of your Town podcast would like to acknowledge the traditional custodians on whose land this story was gathered.

I acknowledge that for tens of thousand of years Our First Nations people have walked this country and shared stories on this great land down under, and I walk in their footsteps today.

I pay my respects to their Elders, past, present and emerging.

Billy Hoade on how the buzz of serving coffee made him a Cairns legend

  
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-11:16

Tucked away in the hustle and relentless movement of Cairns’ famous Rusty’s Markets in the middle of town on Sheridan Street, is a local institution.

Billy’s Coffee has its own loyal gathering of locals every market day, and behind the coffee machine coordinating the barista symphony is the ever-smiling Billy Hoade.

He came from Papua New Guinea as a student 25 years ago and since then has built up his business into one of the main meeting points in the renowned tourist centre.

“This town has something amazing about it, it’s a nice community and people love to just rally,” he says.

Billy’s smiling visage is so well known it is also now the face of his business, seen on t-shirts around the city.

He’s been serving up coffee from his beloved Papua New Guinea for more than 15 years, expanding now to running his own roastery.

“I remember early on in my early years I was at a servo and I asked a milkman what it takes to have a nice little business so I could support my family, and he said ‘as long as you work hard people will support you. Just go for it.’

“And I’m like ‘is that all I have to do is work hard? That’s awesome!”

Billy tells us on Streets of Your Town podcast what keeps the locals coming back.

“From the beginning it was one table, just myself six bottles of milk and two kilos of coffee I borrowed everything else to now six staff and I get to play backgammon and chess quite a lot,” Billy says.

“Generally the people have been really resilient, amazing, a lot of ups and downs but pretty much everyone is very positive.

“The secret is just listening to the person in front of you order what they want. If they want soy milk and you give them skim milk you’re in trouble.

“I do try to buy the beans directly from the farmer because we roast them ourselves and we try to make sure that energy, that love, that they get something back from the industry that we’re in. So that helps make me happy roasting coffee that I know the money is going somewhere.”

He’s now looking at expanding Billy’s Coffee to make a deal with local dairy farmers to supply for an iced coffee version of his famous brew that could be shipped around Australia.

Billy is grateful to the people of Cairns for continuing to support him after so long, saying Rusty’s Markets is something special.

“It’s one of the rarest places where you come down on a Friday, Saturday or Sunday, you don’t make an appointment with any of your friends but you know they will be there, and you just turn up and they turn up and you guys catch up and the following week you do it all again.

“I’m really proud of my wife, and my sons that are now in the business and all the staff all the people that come and grab a coffee off us every day. When you roast a coffee and someone drinks it I still get a buzz, that it’s like a painting you paint and people like it. You’re not sure if they’ll like it or not but when they do it’s like phew they like it!"

Behind the Scenes

This month I was lucky enough to be invited onto the Freelance Jungle’s special project “The Redundancy Program” to do a live video link interview about my Wandering Journo ways. A grant from Good2Give and Facebook made that project possible, and aims to provide people affected by COVID, the bushfires and the economic downturn within Australia some tips on the transition from employment to freelancing. It includes the opportunity to learn from people who have already faced redundancy as well as those flourishing in their fields.

You can watch my interview, which I did live from the back of Mildred the Cantankerous Kombi—best behaved she’s been in months, at this link: https://www.crowdcast.io/e/side-hustle

It’s all about how to keep the balance with you and your side hustle, how to discover life after the newsroom—even if you miss it—and understand you are more than a byline and find that new identity that is totally you.

It was lovely to be able to pass on some of my hard won lessons from my three years as The Wandering Journo, and give some tips on how to translate some of those hard fought journo skills into freelancing well.

The Freelance Jungle is an award-winning grassroots community that helps Australian freelancers navigate working for yourself in real terms. It’s a great group I highly recommend joining if you’re in the freelance game at all. It focuses on ending the isolation inherent in freelancing, reminding you that stress has a productivity cost, raising the knowledge bar and advocacy. It has thousands of members from all around Australia.

If you have an idea for a story you’d like me to cover on Streets of Your Town—or just want to chew the fat with me for a while—please just hit reply to this newsletter. It’s as easy as that to get my ear.

Thanks to my loyal paid subscribers whose support keeps filling the tank of Mildred the Cantankerous Kombi to get me out to my next adventure for your ears. This week’s shout out of thanks goes to John Maume who gets extra thanks and bonus points for holidaying with me and the fam at Rainbow Beach this week, and of course my loyal and ongoing paid subscribers who have been with me from The Wandering Journo outset. Their support enables me to continue this newsletter. I’m very grateful to you.

If you need a journo who can help you make a podcast, be an MC for your next event, or be a cracking karaoke partner in crime, please get in touch.

My professional website (nancehaxton.com.au) has more detail about who I am, and what The Wandering Journo does.

Talk again soon my Wandering Journo tribe! Thanks so much for your ongoing support—and don’t forget if you love what I do and the stories I uncover—please share this substack and podcast link with your friends.


Streets of your Town podcast would like to acknowledge the traditional custodians on whose land this story was gathered.

I acknowledge that for tens of thousand of years Our First Nations people have walked this country and shared stories on this great land down under, and I walk in their footsteps today.

I pay my respects to their Elders, past, present and emerging.

Stephen O'Grady on the importance of Gaelic football and a historic losing streak

  
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-27:18

This episode of Streets of Your Town straddles two continents on opposite sides of the world—Ireland and Australia.

Where the wild ocean whips the rocky cliffs of Ireland’s west coast, the people of the small county of Mayo are contemplating whether they can overcome a hoodoo of 70 years.

Is it a coincidence or a curse? I delve into the mystery of how this county has not won an All Ireland Gaelic Football Final since 1951, despite making it to the finals of arguably Ireland’s most important sporting contest ten times.

Some blame an infamous curse apparently placed on the entire football team by an angry priest.

But as our guest Stephen O’Grady so eloquently explains, Gaelic football is more than just a sport, it’s a crucial part of life in Ireland.

“1951 was the year that Mayo last won the All Ireland football title,” he says.

“Since then there has been this veritable famine as Mayo have gone in search of what’s become known as the holy grail for Mayo. Year after year we have this amazing ability to make All Ireland Grand Finals and lose them. But make them exciting, and yet lose them in the most dramatic and unprecedented ways.”

He says the renowned Mayo curse, has taken on more of a meaning in Australia, than at home.

“As the Mayo team returned home from the All Ireland title winning trip to Dublin in 1951 they came to a town called Foxford…so the story goes that as the Mayo team came through there was also a funeral ongoing in the town. So the story goes that the Mayo team didn’t show respect for the funeral, and the priest who was overseeing the funeral cast a curse—do you cast a curse or impose a curse?—on the Mayo Team and said they would not win another All Ireland until all members of that team had passed on.

“My memory and my understanding is that one [surviving member of that team] remains.

“Paddy Prendergast who has actually lived in Kerry for much of his life—he’s the one remaining alive apparently. A lovely man. I would be delighted if Mayo could pull off the win in two weeks time and he’d be there to bear witness to it.

“It’s funny growing up I didn’t know about the curse at all. It definitely passed me by. I would dare say, it came to my attention more when I came to Australia. It’s funny how it pops up—it’s a great old yarn. We all know it’s a load of codswallop."

Mayo has made it through to this year’s All Ireland final on September 11 when they will take on Tyrone. It’s the first time Tyrone and Mayo have ever faced each other in an All Ireland final.

Stephen O’Grady grew up in Mayo, with the imprint of his county’s woes in finals a constant companion while growing up.

“I’m a Mayo man. I was born in Mayo. And here’s my first little bit of ‘it’s our year this year’—I was born in Mayo back in 1970 and it’s 70 years since we won the All Ireland, so it must be meant to be this year,” he says.

"I’m not a bit superstitious Nance but I’m taking anything that’s going."

Now living in Brisbane, Australia, after moving here 15 years ago, Stephen tells us how he hopes this is the year that his beloved Mayo football team overcomes the weight of an entire county’s expectations, and the shadow of a disputed curse.

“In Ireland Gaelic football is shaped around your parish, so you don’t get to move around really. You have that identity and connection from day one of your life and you really don’t shake it off,” he says.

As Stephen explains, Gaelic football is as much about identity, Irish emigration, and the longing for what was left behind, as it is about who wins or loses.

“Sport has a quality that can create human experiences that other aspects of life don’t have, and that should never be undermined. We should recognise it for what it is."

To watch the game you’ll have to be up at 2.30am on Sunday September 12, and download the special GAA app.

Behind the Scenes

In this interview Stephen and I talk about International Rules, the hybrid game that combines Gaelic football with Aussie Rules to come up with a game that both countries play against each other as the international competition.

I will never forget travelling around Ireland to meet all of my then-fiance Andrew’s rellies, but also having the distinct joy of watching and reporting on the International Rules competition being played in Ireland that year.

If you’d like to hear some of the drama behind the scenes, and of course more of those glorious Irish accents from all around that beautiful country, then you can listen to my 2007 SA Media Awards Best Sports Story winning radio doco “International Rules”.

And this week is the great debut of journo legend and author extraordinaire Trent Dalton’s book Boy Swallows Universe on stage as part of the Brisbane Festival!

It’s a wonderful success story with the season being extended twice already after being put off from last year because of the pandemic.

And if you remember Trent Dalton’s interview from my Journo Project podcast, you’ll know that he credits so much of this success to his training as a journalist. You can listen to that episode and how he pulled Boy Swallows Universe together.

Streets of Your Town: The Journo Project
Trent Dalton, from journo to author
Listen now (46 min) | He’s the kid from Brisbane’s tough outlying northern suburbs who went on to win two Walkley Awards for his powerful feature writing. Now Trent Dalton adds screenwriter and international bestselling author to his credits. His first novel Boy Swallows Universe…
Read more

If you have an idea for a story you’d like me to cover on Streets of Your Town—or just want to chew the fat with me for a while—please just hit reply to this newsletter. It’s as easy as that to get my ear.

Thanks to my loyal paid subscribers whose support keeps filling the tank of Mildred the Cantankerous Kombi to get me out to my next adventure for your ears. This week’s shout out of thanks goes to Renee Coffey, Tim Noonan and Hugh Riminton, my loyal and ongoing paid subscribers who have been with me from The Wandering Journo outset. Their support enables me to continue this newsletter. I’m very grateful to you.

If you need a journo who can help you make a podcast, be an MC for your next event, or be a cracking karaoke partner in crime, please get in touch.

My professional website (nancehaxton.com.au) has more detail about who I am, and what The Wandering Journo does.

Talk again soon my Wandering Journo tribe! Thanks so much for your ongoing support—and don’t forget if you love what I do and the stories I uncover—please share this substack and podcast link with your friends.


Streets of your Town podcast would like to acknowledge the traditional custodians on whose land this story was gathered—the Yuggera and Turrbul peoples.

I acknowledge their ongoing resilience, contributions and connection to land, culture and water, and pay my respects to their Elders, past, present and emerging.

Dale Mundraby on caring for Mandingalbay Yidinji country

  
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-23:20

This week on Streets of Your Town podcast we feature Dale Mundraby, from Mandingalbay Yidinji country in Far North Queensland.

Mandingalbay Yidinji country straddles two great world heritage areas in far north Queensland, the Wet Tropics and the Great Barrier Reef, stretching out to the Coral Sea.

Executive Director Dale Mundraby recalls many stories that have been handed down through the generations, showing their distinct connection to these lands.

“Our connection to country goes back many generations,” Dale tells us on Streets of Your Town. “And today we still continue custom law and tradition, and that’s the respect for land culture and people and with that today we work with like-minded people who look after country, share knowledge and stories about their environment and also their culture.

“It’s strengthening our identity and sharing that with our younger generations and the wider community.”

The small but strong Indigenous community has successfully renewed its sacred country from years of degradation, and is now on the cusp of great success as they invite more tourists to come and see and experience the connection to country themselves through their eyes.

“To prove our connection to country the burden of truth was upon us. We have to show evidence of us being here pre- and post-contact and one part of that evidence was Captain Cook’s journal. He pulled into a little beach around the corner from us near Yarrabah…he had to collect water so they disembarked from the Endeavour to the shore on a little boat.

“The journals did acknowledge that when they landed on the shores of this country, they saw fires and natives on the horizon. That was our people.”

Their Indigenous Ranger Program has ten full-time Indigenous employee rangers undertaking natural resource management on their country, conducting research, rehabilitating degraded country and greatly reducing marine debris and rubbish that was damaging the fragile environment.

While we did our interview and Dale showed me his 3D map of their country and the major landmarks before driving me out to experience it first hand, a goanna watchfully stood by and listened in.

“One of the unique things we have in Far North Queensland is a destination like no other. We have the reef and the rainforest, two World Heritage areas so we promote that quite well. We say beautiful one day, perfect the next, and so what we say the third day, come out and have an Indigenous experience.”

Dale Mundraby says his people have been part of this land for many thousands of years and are now eager to show it to others who come to visit and take part in their Ancient Indigenous Tours.

He describes it as a great privilege showing guests where the salty water of the sea meets the freshwater flowing from the surrounding mountains, and introducing them to the bush pharmacy of food and medicinal plants in the surrounding rainforest.

Since the Federal Court granted Mandingalbay Yidinji native title in 2006, the restoration of these sacred lands has gathered pace.

The Djunbunji Land and Sea Program is wholly owned by Indigenous people, using traditional practices to rejuvenate and nourish the land and run the Ranger program.

“What this really means for us as a key focus—the point of the spear if you like—is developing workforce development. We are the Mandingalbay Yidinji people,” Dale says.

“That’s what links us as a people on Yidinji.

“The country offers so much—land culture and people, the environment, the different types of environments, places that have been rehabilitated, other places that have survived on their own without contact from humans—and with that brings the animals and the plants still thriving today that used to be here many years ago.”

Behind the Scenes

Remember series 2 of Streets of Your Town—The Journo Project? One of the most popular episodes was my interview with ABC investigative journo extraordinaire Mark Willacy. Since our interview he’s won a gold Walkley, and has now released a book! Might be a good time to listen back to our interview again!

And here’s the link to his episode of Streets of Your Town, where Mark goes into detail about how he uncovers and reports on stories such as this, using a mix of old and new journo techniques and equipment, combined with a good streets nous.

Streets of Your Town: The Journo Project
Mark Willacy on the constitutional need for a free press
Listen now (31 min) | By his own description, this journalist has escaped some pretty close calls “by the skin of my teeth” in the 30 countries he has reported from. His time as Middle East correspondent was challenging enough but, as the photo below shows, his time in Baghdad, Iraq, came pretty close to ending his splendid career when he was nearly shot by US Marines…
Read more

If you have an idea for a story you’d like me to cover on Streets of Your Town—or just want to chew the fat with me for a while—please just hit reply to this newsletter. It’s as easy as that to get my ear.

Thanks to my loyal paid subscribers whose support keeps filling the tank of Mildred the Cantankerous Kombi to get me out to my next adventure for your ears. This week’s shout out goes to Deanna Nott, Jan Nary and John Maume, my loyal and ongoing paid subscribers who have been with me from The Wandering Journo outset. Their support enables me to continue this newsletter. I’m very grateful to you.

If you need a journo who can help you make a podcast, an MC for your next event, or a cracking karaoke partner in crime, please get in touch.

My professional website has more detail about who I am, and what The Wandering Journo does.

Talk again soon, my Wandering Journo tribe! Thanks so much for your ongoing support—and don’t forget if you love what I do and the stories I uncover—please share this substack and podcast link with your friends.

Nance

Bundaberg says sorry for past blackbirding

  
0:00
-24:11

In some hope that humankind is progressing, I bring you a good news story this week for Streets of Your Town podcast.

It’s a very Australian story, with a long history of exploitation and shame that’s carried down through generations.

It took more than a century, but on Friday July 30th 2021, Mayor Jack Dempsey acknowledged that blackbirding history, and that it amounted to slavery. And then he said sorry.

It was a small but significant ceremony in Bundaberg on Queensland’s Central Coast that started to turn around this long history of exploitation and shame.

Mr Dempsey, took the step of becoming the first representative of any government in Australia, to say sorry for the practice of kidnapping Pacific Islanders and paying them a pittance for their backbreaking work on sugar plantations.

“The colonial era was not kind to Vanuatu. The islands were exploited for their natural and human resources since the Spanish arrived on Santo in the 1600s,” Mr Dempsey said in his speech, which you can hear on this episode of Streets of Your Town podcast.

“The British colony of Queensland was one of the exploiters in the 1800s and this continued into the early years of the Australian Federation.

“I’m referring to the practice of employing indentured labour in the canefields.

“Today I wish to extend a sincere apology on behalf of the Bundaberg Region community for the abuse which occurred in “blackbirding” people from Vanuatu and other Pacific Islands to work in the Queensland sugarcane industry.

“Our sugarcane industry was built on the backs of Pacific Island labour, along with much of our infrastructure such as rock walls, which are still visible today.

“Although slavery was abolished in the British Empire at the time, the practice of forcing indentured labour into Queensland canefields was equivalent to slavery and abhorrent.

“I sincerely regret the pain caused to families and communities in Vanuatu and other Island nations. Saying sorry is necessary for healing and to move forward in friendship.

“Our industries today rely on voluntary seasonal labour. This must always be a relationship based on respect, courtesy, fairness and trust.”

But even more important than his words, was the reaction of the Australian South Sea Islanders in the audience. Many people were brought to tears, as the Vanuatu flag was raised outside the council chambers alongside the Australian flag and the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander flag.

They gathered and sang the Vanuatu national anthem after Mr Dempsey’s speech.

Coral Walker, the president of the Bundaberg South Sea Islanders Heritage Association, knows the blackbirding history on a deeply personal level. Some of her relatives were stolen from the Epi and Tanna Islands in Vanuatu and brought to Queensland in the 1800s.

“That’s part of my era for my great grandfather and great grandmother, part of their family were blackbirded over here. That has a lot of significance to me,” Coral says.

“I think about the atrocities that they had to go through when they were stolen from the islands and put in the ships.

“They were brought over here they didn’t know where they were going to live, what kind of food they were going to eat. I think about those atrocities.”

Ezekiel Nagus and Nathan Tanna stood at the back of the ceremony, behind dozens of people gathered to watch the flag raising.

Ezekiel was one of the Australian South Sea Islanders at the ceremony who had waited a lifetime to hear that apology, and hopefully make a new start.

“It’s a bit of recognition,” he says.

“This is coming more forward now than the last 20 or 30 years, we’ve never seen this.

“Today we see these three flags…we’re making a mark you know.

“I’m 70 and it’s good to see this. For 60 years there’s a lot of changes happening in Bundaberg.”

Bundaberg is a land of riches—an agricultural powerhouse. It’s one of the nation’s most crucial food bowls, producing around a quarter of Australia’s fresh produce.

But that rich agricultural history was established on the backs of people trafficked to this country from Pacific Islands such as Vanuatu, the Solomon Islands and Papua New Guinea.

More than 62-thousand of them were brought to Australia from the 1860s to the turn of the 20th century. Many were forcibly removed from their Pacific Island homes in a practice known as “blackbirding” to work in appalling conditions on cane fields and cotton farms.

One of the main challenges facing Bundaberg is its reliance on seasonal labour for agriculture and tourism, leaving many locals caught in a cycle of precarious employment, and farmers looking to overseas labour to harvest their crops.

James Tetehr is from the Vanuatu island of Ambrim, and has been working in Bundaberg for two years. He was chosen to attend the ceremony on behalf of the Vanuatu government, thanking the Mayor for setting such a strong precedent by his apology, and signing a sister city agreement.

He says he hopes families could now be reunited with long lost relatives they’ve lost who were blackbirded to Australia.

“We can trace down our history and find there’s a gap in family lines and we know there must be some way. We are glad you’ve recognised that and we will catch up with them,” James says.

Afterwards the gathered crowd went inside for a special celebration.

Mayor Jack Dempsey looked around and told me how privileged he felt to be able to take this step for his region, and how he hopes other towns established on blackbirding labour such as Mackay and Townsville will take his lead to make similar apologies to Australian South Sea Islanders, to pay tribute to the backbreaking work they did with little recompense, to establish Queensland’s agricultural prosperity.

“It’s a historical day for Australia and Vanuatu as well as the Bundaberg regional community,” he says.

Behind the Scenes

I’ve been quite The Wandering Journo this week, managing to get up to Bundaberg for this episode’s historic event in Mildred the Cantankerous Kombi, and make it back to Brisbane just in time for our latest Covid lockdown. I am feeling very grateful that I could travel to bring this story to you all, as you know how passionate I am about telling stories that aren’t told, giving voice to those who don’t have access to the media, and getting it all in that glorious face to face quality audio that makes the story sing even louder in your ears.

I was lucky enough to be invited into the ABC Wide Bay studio by Ross Kay for a special Q&A on the significance of this historic blackbirding apology, from my perspective as a journo who’s reported on this topic for many years, particularly on the need to properly acknowledge that communities like Bundy up and down the Queensland coast were established by the toil and sweat of more than 60,000 Pacific Islanders brought to Queensland, many brought by deceit against their will. You can listen to that Q&A here:

And if you want to go back to where it all began—here’s a link to my New York International Radio Festivals award winning radio documentary on blackbirding from a couple of years ago. I was awarded a bronze and silver trophy.

The Gender Card podcast

One of the great joys of my Wandering Journo life is that I help produce the brilliant podcast The Gender Card for Griffith University’s Gender Equity Research network.

The topics they choose to highlight are always fascinating—and I’m a picky hard-to-please journo in that department!

Like my latest episode—do you think slavery and human trafficking are figments of a long distant past? Nope—it’s still alive and well—and not just overseas! But also in Australia. Do you think you could spot it?

It’s hidden in plain sight. So much so The Australian Red Cross and Freedom Hub have teams working to help people caught up in it, in realms from IT, orphanages, agriculture and restaurants, not just sex work.

In 2018, more than 50,000 people were bought and sold in 148 countries around the world.

I learnt so much from interviewing these amazing experts on The Gender Card podcast: Chantel Brown from the Australian Red Cross Support for Trafficked People program, the Queensland lead of The Freedom Hub Keight Davis, and Deputy Head of the Griffith Law School Dr Kate van Doore.

What a way to mark the United Nations World Day Against Trafficking in Persons. #endhumantrafficking

Talk again soon, my Wandering Journo tribe! Thanks so much for your ongoing support—and please share this with your friends.

Nance

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