To hope is to dream. Of what might or will be. Of the possible and the mere possible — hope against hope. To hope is to strive for the best. To build on glimmers of new beginnings. To hope is to never give up. To remain expectant, against hopes dashed, disappointments, falsities. To hope is to believe there is a way.
Benita Collings and her hope for children's learning
Most children who grew up in Australia in the 1970s–90s will recognise Benita Collings. Benita presented 401 episodes of Play School on ABC Television and was one of Australia's most popular and prolific television personalities.
Benita read stories, taught children to tell the time and got creative with paper and pipe cleaners.
An energetic presenter on Play School, Benita trained regularly at the gym so that she could jump like a kangaroo or run like an emu over several filming takes.
Play School presenters talk intimately to children and involve them in every activity. They encourage children to create, think and hope.
Play School has been running since 1966 and is watched by over a million children each day.
In Benita's words: 'Children learn through play and this gives me hope'.
The flower clock from Play School is on display in the Eternity gallery.
Frida Dakiz's hope for her fashion business
In 2003, Frida won $4000 in a radio competition and used the money to start her own fashion retail business. She opened her first shop in Coburg — Melbourne's Muslim heartland. Her dream was to design and sew fashionable dresses for women that would meet the Muslim dress-code.
Frida says: 'My clothes keep the traditional guidelines – you can't show the figure of your body; you only show your hands, feet and face — but modernise it and use different colours. I don't want to make it easier for someone to wear it. I just want them to look more gorgeous. I want Frida clothes to be so high quality I can sell to the Sheik of Saudi Arabia.'
Not every shopper responded to her vision or vivacity. She experienced low sales and prejudice. Frida recalls: 'I had another lady that walked in the door [of the shop] with her mother and she said, 'She's Muslim, are you sure you want to walk in?'I can't live any more normal than I live. I can not be any more Australian than I am. It's just getting harder to live your everyday life. You're in here for a reason, you're in here for the dress, my religion shouldn't be a problem.'
After being in business for six months Frida had to take on a second job just to pay the rent on her shop. She laments: 'It's dead, no one wants to buy anything. Retail sucks. I'm the little Aussie battler with a scarf.'
However, her fortunes improved when she changed to mainstream after-five wear and attended a bridal expo.
The ups and downs of Frida's adventures in the tough world of high-end fashion were the subject of a documentary Veiled Ambition produced by Rebel Films in 2006. A short excerpt from this film is shown in the Eternity gallery and a study guide is available for teachers and students.
View a short excerpt from Veiled Ambition as seen in Eternity (MPEG4 7.3mb)
Courtesy: Rebel Films and SBS.
Joan Winch's hope for better Aboriginal health
Joan Winch was born in Perth in 1935 and remembers being sent home from school in disgrace with childhood infections that were simple and easy to treat. She realised later that this was because her mother, an Aboriginal woman, had been taken from her mother when she was two and sent to a mission at Moore River, Western Australia, where she received no basic training in primary health care.
Later, while working as a community nurse, Joan was horrified to find that the same easily preventable ailments that had afflicted her as a child were still widespread in Aboriginal communities, and that people
still had no knowledge of how to prevent and treat them.
She became determined to set up a primary health care training facility to educate people in basic health care, and was adamant that the people trained should be from Aboriginal communities, so that they could be trusted and therefore able to deliver effective preventative programs and treatment.
'I have always had a vision for our people,' Joan later said, 'a vision that one day our health status would be equal to, or better than that of non-indigenous Australians'.
Joan became a trained nurse, achieving a triple certificate in nursing from the Western Australian Institute of Technology in 1978. She felt dissatisfied with the western medical system, however, which kept knowledge in the hands of a few experts, and focused on curing rather than preventing illness and disease.
Joan's dissatisfaction, and her vision for better Aboriginal health, resulted in her founding a college named Marr Mooditj, meaning 'good hands' in the local Noongar language. The college opened in Perth in 1983 and trains community members in basic health care, drawing on both traditional and western medical models. In 1987 Joan Winch was awarded the World Health Organisation's Sasakawa Health Prize for her outstanding work in primary health care and preventative medicine.
Now into its third decade, Marr Mooditj College offers a Diploma in Enrolled Nursing and has trained over 750 Health and Community workers as well as 24 nurses. It continues to grow with stage 2 buildings (more classrooms, a computer room, a library and student support facilities) being constructed in 2010.
The statuette awarded to Joan by the World Health Organisation is on display in the Eternity Gallery.
Mary Hamm's hope for a family
Mary was born in country Victoria on 22 July 1928. Her parents suffered during the Great Depression and left her at the age of 3 to be raised by her grandparents.
Mary married Charles Hamm during the 1950s and they planned for a family. Perhaps because of her own childhood experiences, she hoped for a large family with many children and was particularly keen to have a daughter. However after giving birth to her son Barry, she was told she could have no other children. Mary and Charles decided to adopt Aboriginal children and Mary began writing letters to the government departments which eventually resulted in the adoption of 3 Aboriginal children.
The Eternity story focuses on Mary's hopes for a family and the hopes for her children who all grew up knowing they were Aboriginal and adopted. The objects are the baby clothes bought by Mary Hamm in preparation for the arrival of her adopted daughter Treahna.
Tommy Tomasi's hope for a new life in a new country
Italian-born Ferruccio (Tommy) Tomasi came to Australia with high hopes for his future. While he was working in Western Australia, Tommy saw an image of the snow on Mt Kosciuszko which reminded him of his homeland. He set off to Cooma to apply for work on the Snowy Mountains Scheme.
The Scheme offered Tommy the chance to fulfil his hopes for the future in a part of Australia that reminded him of home:
I enjoyed this work very much, finding it extremely interesting and really felt that I was contributing to the Snowy Scheme.
A model of the Snowy Mountains Scheme is on display in the Eternity gallery.
Stories previously on display
A child of the Depression (1930s)
Former prime minister who introduced social welfare reforms and instigated much postwar reconstruction
As a teenager won three gold medals at the 1956 Melbourne Olympics
Recovered from polio and strove to be known for something other than her disability (1930s-1940s)
Hope for Australia's future and the hope of new immigrants (contemporary)
Captain Arthur Phillip
Collected clay in new colony after arriving in 1788 and sent it to Benland, where it was made into a Wedgwood medallion
Hope for a Utopian world (1890s-1960s)