Rona Tranby
Awards

Supporting Indigenous oral history projects across Australia.

Each award plants a seed that continues to grow over the years.

To date twelve (12) diverse and valuable projects have been supported across Australia.

The Rona Tranby Award & Collection supports the recording and preservation of oral histories of Australian Indigenous elders, organisations and community groups. 

To date twelve (12) diverse and valuable projects have been supported across Australia.

These exciting projects have resulted in a number of published books, audio and video recordings and an exhibition and play.

RONA TRANBY AWARD recipients

2012 Recipient

Yidumduma Bill Harney
with Paul Taylor and the YDP 

Yubulyawan Dreaming Project – Indigenous Wisdom of a Wardaman Elder

Yidumduma Bill Harney is an Elder and last Senior Male Custodian of the Wardaman people of the Victoria, Flora and Katherine River Districts of the Northern Territory. Born in Muy Muy clan country in the early 1930's, Yidumduma is of the Yubulyawan clan. 
Since 2004, Paul Taylor and Yubulyawan Dreaming Project have amassed over 100 hours of video, documenting Wardaman rock art, sacred sites, creation stories, songs, language, law, medicine and indigenous wisdom, under the direction of Yidumduma. 

The Rona Tranby Award was used to fund fieldwork with Yidumduma and the processing of this vast cultural archive into a website.

Yubulyawan Dreaming Project
http://yubulyawandreamingproject.com 

2008 Recipient

Albert Williams
with Julie Cracknell, Hetti Perkins and Nigel Parbury 

Once Upon a Long Ago: My Life in the bush and the city

Albert Williams was born in Brewarrina, NSW and grew up in Bourke. The spiritual home of Albert's family through his great great grandmother is Gundabooka Mountain (Ngemba Country). His mother was a Dhunghutti woman, his father a WWII veteran and his grandfather, Frank Williams, was a tracker. Albert left school at fifteen and worked on various stations and shearing sheds in outback NSW as a labourer, fettler, roustabout and tobacco picker. He came to Sydney in the early 1970s, working in hotels and factories. In 1986 Albert found his way to Tranby Aboriginal College, Glebe and at the time of his award he was on the Board of Directors.

The Rona Tranby Award allowed Albert, a captivating storyteller to work with Hetti Perkins, Julie Cracknell and Nigel Parbury to record his stories, which were interwoven into a book along with his life story, poems and paintings - ‘Once Upon a Long Ago: my life in the bush & the city’

Once Upon a Long Ago
ISBN 9780646923321
Publication Date 2014
Publisher CLA Press
Country of Publication Australia

Linkmore at National Library of Australia

2007 Recipient

Max Dulumunmun Harrison
with Peter McConchie

Max Dulumunmun Harrison

with Peter McConchie

My People's Dreaming – An Aboriginal Elder speaks on life, land, spirit and forgiveness 

Max Dulumunmun Harrison is an Elder of the Yuin Nation of the far south coast of NSW. He was born by a watering hole in the bush and has seen many changes in his culture and community. Max has used the Rona Tranby Award to fund the recording on Country, with author and photographer Peter McConchie, his story in words and photographs. These voice and photographic records document the significance of cultural sites, trees, medicine plants and other parts of his Country. 

A book, My People's Dreaming was published in late October 2008 based on these recordings. The book is a rare personal insight into traditional Yuin teachings, stories of Creation Dreaming, bush lore, foods, ways of healing, laws, punishment and spirituality, drawn from extensive interviews with 'Uncle' Max. Also detailed are the subtleties and connectedness of his people's relationship to the land and his philosophy of forgiveness.

My People's Dreaming
ISBN 9781876451967
Publication Date 1 October 2009
Publisher Finch Publishing
Country of Publication Australia 

2006 Recipient

Beryl Carmichael
with Jennie Kerr

Beryl Carmichael

with Jennie Kerr
The Footsteps of a Ngiyeempaa Elder

Beryl Carmichael is an Elder of the Ngiyeempaa (also Ngypampa) people and Wongibauwn language speaking group whose country sits inside the 'Home of the Emu' in Western NSW. Born at the Old Menindee Mission in NSW, Aunty Beryl (whose traditional name is Yungha-Dhu) learned about her culture from her father, including gathering food and making weapons. She is the last fluent speaker of her language. Aunty Beryl has eighteen grandchildren and fourteen great grandchildren. She is one of the many custodians of the country under Ngiyeempaa tribal law, custodian of several stories passed on to her by her Father and other family members, and custodian of the last four songs and dances performed in 1946 at Menindee Mission. 

Aunty Beryl has worked for 40 years in the area of public and Aboriginal education, receiving several distinguished awards for her work and is committed to the preservation, renewal and passing on of Aboriginal culture and language.

The 2007 Rona Tranby Award will enable Aunty Beryl to collaborate with the writer and teacher Jennie Kerr in completing the oral history recordings of her life story. She is also planning to produce a book The Footsteps of a Ngiyeempaa Elder’ based on these recordings.

Linkmore at National Library of Australia

2002 Recipient

Elverina Johnson

Elverina Johnson

Blow 'im: The Yarrabah Brass Band Story

Elverina Johnson is a descendant of the Kunganji tribe of the Yarrabah Aboriginal Community in far north Queensland and is a consultant to the Queensland Performing Arts Centre (QPAC) in Brisbane. She was the curator for the Indigenous Brass Band project ‘Blow 'im: The Story of the Yarrabah Brass Band’. The story of Queensland's Indigenous Brass Bands formed in the early to mid 1900s, is fascinating and historically important. Elverina's grandfather, Henry Fourmille played in the Yarrabah Brass Band.

Through the Rona Tranby Award, funds were made available to assist Elverina and an assistant to travel to Cairns to interview the remaining members of the Band. They created, with the QPAC Museum, an exhibition celebrating the story which was open for the 2002 Brisbane Festival from September to December 2002. Elverina has also written a play which toured for 4 years, based on the story of the Yarrabah Brass Band. As a singer/songwriter, Elverina has also released a CD about reconciliation titled, A New Beginning. A detailed report and transcripts of the recordings have been received and are available from the Rona Tranby Trust office as well as through the Queensland Performing Arts Centre.

2001 Recipient

Northern Territory Archives Service
with Francis Good

Northern Territory
Archives Service

with Francis Good
Interviews with Anmatjere Elders
Big Billy Woods, Ted Carter and
Eric Panana

At the request of the Anmatjere Community Council, Francis Good, manager of the oral history unit of the The Northern Territory Archives Service (NTAS) used the Rona Tranby Award to travel to Ti Tree, north of Alice Springs, and interview three senior Anmatjere Elders: Big Billy Woods, Ted Carter and Eric Pananka. Copies of these recordings are held by the community and the NTAS. The award 'enabled the initiation of oral history work in the Anmatjere community and provided a good basis for future development'.

2000 Recipient

Older Women's Network (NSW)
Aboriginal Support Network

Older Women's Network (NSW)
Aboriginal Support Network


Steppin' Out and Speakin' Up:
The Stories of 15 remarkable
Aboriginal women

Members of the Older Women’s Network Aboriginal Support Circle recorded, transcribed and edited interviews with Aboriginal women for a book published in 2003: 'Steppin’ Out and Speakin’ Up’.

Women interviewed for the book were Lola Ryan, Betty Little, Jean Carter, Brenda Saunders, Susanne Martin, Nancy de Vries, Bronwyn Bancroft, Lorraine McGee-Sippel, Sylvia Scott, Maisie Cavanagh, Joyce Woodberry, Dr Ruby Langford Ginibi, June Magrath, Shirley Murphy, Elsie Heiss.

The Rona Tranby Award provided the majority of the funding for the book. Proceeds from the sale of the book were then used to establish the Lynn Pollock Scholarship to support an Indigenous student at Tranby Aboriginal College.

Steppin' Out and Speakin' Up
ISBN 0958543054
Publication Date 2004
Publisher Older Women's Networks (NSW), Millers Point, NSW

Linkmore at National Library of Australia

1998 Recipient

Kevin Cook
with Heather Goodall

Kevin Cook

with Heather Goodall
Making Change Happen: Black & White Activists talk to Kevin Cook about Aboriginal, Union & Liberation Politics

Making Change Happen opens up Kevin Cook’s conversations with forty five black and white activists. Working with Heather Goodall, with funding from the Rona Tranby Award, Kevin recorded these conversations to discuss the many collaborations in which he has been involved, an approach he has found more useful than an individually-focussed conventional autobiography. The associated research aims to highlight the history of a series of significant campaigns in which Kevin has participated. The recordings and research have formed the basis of this book which is a unique window into a dynamic time in the politics and history of Australia

Making Change Happen
ISBN 9781921666728 (Print version)
ISBN 9781921666742 (Free online version)
Publication Date September 2013
Publisher ANU E Press & Aboriginal History Inc
Country of Publication Australia
Digital & hard copies available from epress.anu.edu.au/titles/aboriginal-history-monographs/making-change-happen

Linkmore at National Library of Australia

1998 Recipient

Isabel Flick AM
with Heather Goodall

Isabel Flick AM

with Heather Goodall
Isabel Flick: the many lives of an extraordinary Aboriginal woman

Isabel Flick AM was a Gamilaraay woman and an Aboriginal activist from north western New South Wales. Her story, recorded by Heather Goodall, spans the history and geography of 20th century Australian race relations: from the riverbank camps of her hometown Collarenebri; to the harsh controls of Toomelah Mission; chipping weeds on the cotton fields of Wee Waa; cooking for the upper classes in Rose Bay; marching in the street protests of Redfern to lobbying in the halls of Parliament House. The research funded by the Rona Tranby Award, into Isabel Flick's life resulted in a book, published in 2004: 'Isabel Flick: the many lives of an extraordinary Aboriginal woman' by Isabel Flick and Heather Goodall. In 2005, the book was awarded the inaugural Susan Magarey Medal for Women's Biography made by the Australian Historical Society and the Association for the Study of Australian Literature.

Isabel Flick: The many lives of an extraordinary Aboriginal woman
ISBN 1741141230
Publication Date 2004
Publisher Allen & Unwin, Crows Nest, NSW Australia

Linkmore at National Library of Australia

LinkMagarey Medal for biography 2005

1996 Recipient

Kath Mills
with Barbara Mills and Barbara Malarndirri McCarthy

Kath Mills

with Barbara Mills and
Barbara Malarndirri McCarthy
Interviewing Lily Kruger on Country

Kath Mills, working with the Stolen Generation Litigation Unit of the North Australian Aboriginal Legal Aid Service, received the Rona Tranby Award to complete an oral history with Lily Kruger, one of the oldest surviving ex-residents of the Emerald River, Groote Eylandt home for children.

The Award was used to fund and record a trip with Lilly and two of her daughters to near where she was born in North Queensland. Accompanied by Barbara Mills and Barbara McCarthy, the trip fortuitously coincided with a Native Title hearing for land that Lilly Kruger was a Tradional owner for. A video was made of the trip.

1994 Recipient

Sylvia Scott
with Di Ritch

Sylvia Scott

with Di Ritch
Stories of residents
at the Mac Silva Centre

Sylvia Scott used the Rona Tranby Award to tell the story of the Mac Silva Centre, a refuge for homeless Aboriginal men with alcohol-related problems. By telling the stories of residents and staff and the positive achievements of this Centre, Sylvia feels that others will be encouraged to set up similar places to help people in her community.

Sylvia's work built on work done previously for the book, The Mac Silva Centre: an oral history project, which is available at Waterloo Public Library, Ref: Local History 362.849915 MAC

The Mac Silva Centre: an oral history project
Publication Date 1994
Publisher TAFE Outreach, Sydney Institute of Technology, East Sydney

1992 Recipient

The Western Heritage Group

The Western Heritage Group

Yamakarra! Liza Kennedy
and the Keewong Mob

The inaugural Rona Tranby Award supported an oral history project undertaken by the Western Heritage Group camping out on Keewong Country in far western NSW. Weaving the memories of Liza Kennedy (1902-1996) and her contemporaries with the reflections on culture and country of the succeeding generations, the recorded oral histories inspired the book Yamakarra! Liza Kennedy and the Keewong Mob.

Trips out to Country funded by the Rona Tranby Award, brought the Keewong Mob together on their Country for the first time since they were forcibly removed. The project went through many stages, including producing an interim book with UTS students. The final book on the project, Yamakarra! Liza Kennedy and the Keewong Mob, was published in 2013 & featured at the 2015 Sydney Writers Festival.

Yamakarra! Liza Kennedy and the Keewong Mob
ISBN 9780980594720
Publication Date 2013
Publisher Western Heritage Group Inc
Country of Publication Australia

Linkmore at National Library of Australia

Rona Tranby Award recipients

Link2012

Yidumduma Bill Harney
with Paul Taylor
and the YDP

Link2008

Albert Williams
with Julie Cracknell, Hetti Perkins and
Nigel Parbury

Link2007

Max Dulumunmun Harrison
with Peter McConchie

Link2006

Beryl Carmichael
with Jennie Kerr

Link2002

Elverina Johnson

Link2001

Northern Territory Archives Service
with Francis Good

Link2000

Older Women's Network (NSW) 
Aboriginal Support Network

Link1998

Kevin Cook
with Heather Goodall

Link1998

Isabel Flick AM
with Heather Goodall

Link1996

Kath Mills
with Barbara Mills
and Barbara Malarndirri McCarthy

Link1994

Sylvia Scott
with Di Rich

Link1992

The Western
Heritage Group

write to us

Rona Tranby
Award & Collection

Level 4
Culwulla Chambers
67 Castlereagh St
Sydney NSW 2000
Australia