The Idlers is a delightful ABC radio program reporting on travellers doing the Big Lap. Whenever they are asked which part of Australia impressed the most, they invariably nominate The Kimberley in Western Australia
However it’s a totally different story for that regions indigenous population. A people who have, once again, made the news for all the wrong reasons,
AN absence of leadership in the delivery of Aboriginal services in Western Australia's Kimberley region contributed to "disastrous" living conditions and high suicide rates, the state coroner has found.
Whenever this periodic tale of woe resurfaces I’m reminded of a previous passenger encounter...
A middle-aged female boarded the cab complaining how ‘f***ed’ Sydney was, and how she couldn't wait to return to the Kimberley where she worked with 'Kooris' as a nurse for the Area Health Service.
This was around 2001 when the Daily Telegraph had just published a horrifying front page pictorial of numerous aboriginal women who had been intentionally disfigured by their men. They did this to discourage other suitors to their women.
After mentioning this I asked the nurse, “What's the talk amongst your colleagues when patients present with such disfigurements?” Much to my surprise she airily dismissed the query, “Oh, there's a certain inevitability about it”.
I then suggested that, as a woman, she would have some natural empathy for her sisters and their defenceless position. “Oh no, one can't get involved in Koori business - it's a cultural thing.”