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  • Free general admission

Yuin Kelly, Lorraine Naylor, Eric Naylor

HOST: Yuin Kelly talks about life on the [Wallaga Lake Aboriginal] reserve.

YUIN KELLY: The manager’s wife used to come around and check all the houses and see if they were all clean and, the biggest scariest part was the welfare though, eh, ’cos that meant something more serious and yeah.

Mum was smart like, all the other women and mums back in the days on protecting us. Though we were under the Protection Board, our mums were the true protectors, our dads, our uncles, our aunties, grandparents. Mum would always think ahead of the welfare.

And I remember, a welfare woman coming, some days and, ‘Where’s your daughter?’ Mum would have me hiding in the food cupboard behind the Pick-Me-Up sauce and the bit of flour and white sugar and all that.

Other times when the welfare would come in, this is on Wallaga, Mum would say, ‘Run down the track there. There’s a big log down there, a big tree down there. Go down there and hide 'til the welfare's gone and I'll come and get you’. And I’d run down and there’d be other children there hiding too.

HOST: Lorraine Naylor talks about life on the reserve.

LORRAINE NAYLOR: You know as a child growing up here under the white manager, to me it was best days, you know? Because we learnt and we learnt respect and discipline. Things were different but really hard, you know, for our Mum to feed all those kids. We had to go to school every day. If we missed one day, welfare man would come all the way from Bega and pick us up and take us to school even if it was lunchtime, so.

In the early time when I was really small, because Wallaga Lake had its own little school, and we went to school here up until we got to Sixth Class and then we went to Bermagui Public, ’cos we got a bit too big.

Because the teacher from, at Wallaga Lake, was the manager’s wife and she didn’t know anything. She wasn’t a qualified teacher, so, all we used to learn, you know, just learn a few maths with blocks and play with blocks and make handkerchiefs and make aprons.

HOST: Eric Naylor talks about life on the reserve.

ERIC NAYLOR: When I grew up here it was fun, always had something to do. I really followed all the old people round. I learnt a lot off them. Fishing every day, we used to go rabbiting ... just about every day ... or I would approach spearing fish. We had that much to do, you know, we were never bored. And yeah, it was good growing up here in Wallaga.

You know years ago you used to be able to walk into a house, any house on Wallaga, help yourself to a cup of tea and a bit of damper ’cos that’s the way it was. And the old people was very, very strict and you had to be inside before dark. If you weren’t they come looking for you.

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