Story

Introduction

Introduction

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This is my story.

My parents encouraged me to read, make art, and to think for myself. My mother Jean worked as an artist for Bill Onus in his studio, Aboriginal Enterprises. Mum had trained to be a tailor. During WW11 she worked in a factory making army uniforms and tents. She later made costumes for JC Williamson's theatre company and did alterations for wealthy women in fashion salons in Toorak. My father Noel trained to be an artist, then a radio technician. During WW11 he worked as a radio operator on ships carrying munitions in the Pacific. He later hosted people at our home in Melbourne, to communicate by radio with their relatives working in Antarctica.

This is my mother's family in Ascotvale, Melbourne, around 1955.
My mother Jean is standing in the back row, far left, next to her brother Hugh. I am sitting on the ground, far left, and Phoebe (Nanna, Mum's mother) is standing in the centre wearing a floral dress. My father Noel is standing in the back row holding a terrier dog. I think the photo was taken in front of the home of Auntie Lucy (far right, holding a child) and Uncle Hugh (beside Mum). As I grew up my mother and cousins told me a storythat our great grandmother Hannah Brown was an Aboriginal woman who lived around Fryerstown, Victoria. The story is later confirmed by cousins Tony and Shane Higgins in Melbourne. They found this website and initiated re-connection between our estranged families. My sister Nadya was diagnosed with schizophrenia at 15 and taken to live the rest of her life as a Ward of the State of Victoria, in institutions that were then called Lunatic Asylums.

This is my father's family in Kallista, Victoria, around 1926.
My great grand parents, Tom Roberts and Lillian Williamson, designed the house and garden in Royle avenue. They called the house Talisman. Tom took this photo in the back garden. My father Noel is sitting far left, beside his father Ca (Caleb). Noel's younger brother Dick is in the centre, held by their mother Nora. Lillie sits beside them all on the right. From age five to nine I lived at Talisman with Mum, Noel and Nadya. The story of the artist Tom Robertsis well known.

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