UNCLE DAVE AND JOHN KILLICK
Updated: Dec 15, 2019
The Salty Podcast, S1 Ep 03
This one is a little bit more serious than our other interviews. Aboriginal affairs are a very sensitive topic in Australia and many people shy away from these conversations. I also find no one is willing to ask hard questions and stating any facts or opinions that aren't don't fit the media's narrative tend to be unwelcome. We didn't ask any hard questions here, we just listened, but I'm hoping we can continue to have an honest and open dialogue in future episodes.
Young Spirit Mentoring Program
“Special... Potential... Integrity... Respect... Inspirational... Together .”
Dave runs a program called the YSMP (check out their webpage here). It's a powerful multicultural program that focuses on youth empowerment and creating a positive vision for the future. Uncle Dave Bell, Aboriginal Elder and respected community leader, has been running Young Spirit Mentoring for fifteen years, with the help of his incredible volunteers and mentors. This program has changed the lives of youth at risk, Campbelltown's community and families in such powerful and far reaching ways. Check it out on Facebook!
Uncle Dave is a beautiful, authentic & big hearted Aboriginal Elder, whose mission in life is to build positive pathways for his youth and community. He spends his days running Young Spirit, getting up at 4am to organise and pick up the local kids, train and feed them, then prepare for school. Outside of Young Spirit, Uncle Dave provides critical mentoring and support to families and parents, who look to the Elders in the community for advice and help.
Dave is always out in the community, always available, having yarns with everyone. His presence is so felt by so many, so loved and so supportive. He's a true Elder.
Uncle Dave has been recognised over the years for his work by a number awards, certificates & honour roles, including Australia Day Award Nominee 2013, Citizen of the Year 2013, 25th Anniversary Tharwal Aboriginal Corporation for Service 2008, Sydney South-West & McCarthur Volunteer of the Year 2010, Law and Justice Volunteer Award 2013, just to name a few! Both in his local community as well as by the greater Sydney metropolitan region. He lived and worked in Redfern as a Police Liaison Officer for a number of years, as well as working with community and youth groups in Surry Hills and Maroubra.
What Can We Do?
We all want to resolve the poor relationship we have with our First Nations people, what can we do? You can contact Dave to make a donation to his program, or get involved by volunteering or bigger picture: help Dave and his team secure long term funding for his program. So calling all philanthropists! You can reach out to them on Facebook and find contact details there.
Personally I've made it a goal to help in my professional life. I shoot stock photography and I noticed there were hardly any images of Aboriginal people that weren't about poverty, it seems to be the only story we are telling. Where are the images of Aboriginal women having a coffee in a cafe? Zilch. So I found a model and drove to Newcastle for a lifestyle shoot with her, and yes, we started with the coffee in the cafe shot. Funny irony: she doesn't drink coffee! hahaha. I took all the usual "woman with phone" "happy woman smiling" type stock photos, which can be licensed at Stocksy or Austockphoto.
I was so happy to see this pic of mine on the Australian Government website. I've also recently sold another large image to RACV so keep your eyes peeled.
“it's not in their blood to be incarcerated in a little cell .”
John Killick shot to infamy in Australia when his then-lover broke him out of jail with a helicopter... yep, surely this has the makings of an amazing movie? We didn't speak about his escapades on the podcast (next time!) but I chatted with John over coffee after the show and he's a lovely man, albeit with a dark past which I won't go in to as I only know him as this intelligent 70-ish year old man. He has spent a lot of time in the prison system and has some interesting insights.
I'm sure we'll have more time to spend with John in the future, and I'm hoping to read his books before our next chat. You can connect with him via his Facebook page. There are many places online to find his last book, for our international listeners you can find it here on Amazon.
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We touched briefly on how the world map we all know is incorrect, and if you haven't seen this moment from "The West Wing" Season 2 Episode 16 it's good for a giggle but also is informative, the best way to learn! I'm not sure I buy into the whole "western civ is evil" narrative, but sure, like a man who exaggerates the size of his fish (keeping it clean, hi granny!) it's possible a similar thing happened in cartography. And in case you haven't seen it, here is Tindal's map.
There was a lovely outtake that didn't make it into the final cut about trees, how the Aboriginal people are connected to trees, it's their lifeline and it's their job to protect the trees. He calls urban development a "graveyard of trees". After this moment he hugged the tree.
We chatted about Australia Day briefly at the end and the question was asked "how long has Australia Day been celebrated" and there were some guesses of "not that long" but as it turns out, it has a long tradition. Here's some fun facts I pulled from SoftSchools.com
Interesting Australia Day Facts:
The First Fleet (with approximately 1000 people aboard 11 ships) that arrived from Britain in 1788 carried approximately 700 prisoners from Great Britain. A penal colony was established after they arrived. On the 30 year anniversary of the First Fleet's arrival the Governor of Australia hosted a 30-gun salute and ball at Government House. This was the beginning of it becoming a work holiday for bank employees and others who worked for various organisations. For the first 100 years the anniversary of the arrival of the First Fleet was only celebrated in New South Wales. In other parts of Australia where other colonies had settled they celebrated their own anniversary dates. By 1888 the only colony not celebrating Anniversary Day on January 26th was Adelaide. All Australian states called January 26th Anniversary Day by 1935, and it wasn't until 1946 that it was renamed Australia Day. So, it has only been known as "Australia Day" for 70ish years, that's still not insignificant! However, I'm with John: let's be a republic (and write a new constitution), change the date, change the flag and change the National Anthem.