Today marks the 23rd anniversary of the Mabo Decision and for me it is a reminder of my time with Uncle Eddie "Koiki" Mabo in the early 80's as a student of the Black Community School in Townsville established in 1973 and eventually closing down in 1985. This blog is not about revisiting history but my personal journey as a proud Black Community School student.
I use to wait in anticipation with my bala's and sissy's at the Sailor residence in Gulliver for the familiar BEEP of the white coaster bus and the driver and Director, Uncle Koiki to usher us all onto the bus. As the bus did its rounds and filled with other friends and relatives who joined in the laughter and being together.
I attended the Black Community School when it was over at the old Catholic precinct, South Townsville and when it moved to a small house at Boundary Street, Railway Estate. It was great learning how to read and write but also about Indigenous history in an environment that allowed me to express who I was with my 'pamle' (family).
Uncle Koiki and the "half pay' teachers were always around ensuring a positive balanced education (Indigenous and non-Indigenous) and passionate about our learning needs. I look back on those days with a warm smile and it acts a experiential reminder that it is important to strive towards our dreams against whatever barriers we face and keep in mind there are people who can assist and support us.
At the end of each action packed day at School, we would all pile onto the bus for the ride home to share our days journey at the Black Community School with our families. Our families along with Uncle Koiki decided to challenge the education system and send us to the Black Community School - thank you.
Thank you Mr Eddie "Koiki" Mabo and all those who supported him with the Black Community School, and for the gift of education and identity.
For more information on the Black Community School: