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To mark the end of National Reconciliation Week we’re celebrating the special connection between two remarkable Aboriginal women in our community.
Renal Dialysis patient and elder Julie Peers spent much of her early career working with State and Federal Government to improve young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples access to education and employment.
So when Julie met Austin Health nursing graduate Bronte Alexander in 2017 they formed an instant friendship.
“I’m bursting with pride at what Bronte has achieved” Julie said.
“It’s also been great having Bronte care for me during my dialysis at Repat.”
“It’s been great seeing Julie in an outpatient setting, because when we first met it was in the ward at hospital. I feel honoured and proud to have the opportunity to spend time with Julie and be part of her care team," Bronte said.
Bronte has been the recipient of a DHHS scholarship, has graduated with a nursing degree and is now undertaking postgraduate studies.
Bronte’s sister Erin is also a recipient of a scholarship to further her nursing studies and is a Mental Health Nurse at Austin Health.
“Thirty years ago I wouldn’t have dreamt that so many young Aboriginal people would be working in health.
“Having our young people like Bronte, Erin and Jacob Nelson our Aboriginal Health Liaison Officer in mainstream health services assists our mob to feel safe,” Julie said.
Julie is herself a member of the Stolen Generations, her mother and grandmother were taken before her.
Bronte’s mother who was born in the Northern Territory was also a third generation to be taken.
"My mum, her mum and her grandma were all Stolen Generation. Mum tried hard to find her family, but unfortunately was only able to find a few members of her family before she passed away a few years ago," Bronte said.
This cross-generational trauma continues to impact the lives of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples, who had been taken from their family, language, culture and country.
It also highlights the inequalities experienced by the community and continued importance of programs that improve access to education and employment.
Julie said for her and other members of the Stolen Generations this was just a dream.
“It is a source of great pride that Bronte has studied hard and achieved the freedom to work where she wants and gained economic independence,” Julie said.