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Interview - Beth Woods

Beth Woods interviewed for the City of Cockburn Aboriginal Oral History Project (2001)

The City of Cockburn Aboriginal Oral History Project records and summarises the oral histories of eleven indigenous people with a custodial or cultural connection to the Cockburn district. In this interview with Dr. Leonie Stella, Beth Woods talks about her work with Aboriginal organisations in the City of Cockburn area, and her employment with the Health Department of Western Australia. She also pays tribute to the work of her husband Robert.



This is an edited transcript of the interview with Beth Woods, speaking with Dr. Leonie Stella at South Lake on 9 June and at Coolbellup on 29 June 2001.

Leonie Stella (interviewer): Beth, could you please state your full name and date of birth so that I can test the tape?
Beth Woods: My name is Beth Woods, and my date of birth is the first of the first 1943. I was born at Cosmo Newberry.

LS: Thankyou. Would you like to start by telling me a little about her parents?
BW: My mother’s tribal name was Thungoona, [she was Wongutha – Central desert] the non-Aboriginal people named her Princess Smith, then when she lived traditionally with an Aboriginal man – Dingi Mason – her name became Princess Mason.

LS: And they [staff at Mt. Margaret Mission] gave you a name and date of birth?
BW: My date of birth was a given one, it was the first of the first ‘43, and a lot of our people were either given birth days in January, July or December so that it sort of fitted in with either the first half of the year or the second half of the year….

LS: So they would guess your age and fit you in with the school year?
BW: School, yeah, well depending .. I s’pose like … I was lucky I lived around the Mission before being put in the Mission [Mt. Margaret], so people had a fair idea how old I was but not the exact date of birth.

LS: OK. So like I said we are not doing family history at this point but asking about leaders in the Cockburn Area, so we can now move onto asking how you came to be living in the Cockburn area?
BW: When I married in 1965 I lived in Rivervale, and me and my husband applied for a house through Homeswest – it was the State Housing Commission at that time – and we were fortunate to get a house in Coolbellup. We moved to Coolbellup in December 1966 and we have sinced lived in our home, which was a brand new home at that time, we were the first owners and we have actually bought our house through the Homeswest scheme. They have given [that opportunity to] people who have lived in their accommodation for a number of years.

LS: What is your husband’s name?
BW: My husband is Robert Charles Woods, he is a Nyungar person, he grew up in Brookton and Pingelly and it wasn’t until he came to Perth in the 1960’s that we went to lived in Coolbellup.

Working Life

LS: You started to tell me before about the Coalition of Peoples – …
BW: That is one of the Committees that I am a member of at the moment… but the early ones that I was involved in were Marr Moodijt, The Perth Aboriginal Medical Service which is now Derbarl Yerrigan, and after I finished employment there – I was with them for 10 years – that’s when I became a member of the Executive Council, and I served on there for 3 or 4 years, then because of my commitments at work I wasn’t able to continue. But one of the other organisations I have been involved in for a long time was the Marr Moodijt Foundation which is a College for training Aboriginal Health Workers. I have had a long association with them, having worked with them as their first secretary back in ‘83 and then since then I have served for many years on the Executive Council, and at the moment my role there now, not on the committee but I am involved in Health Worker Training – where the Health Department, which I currently work for in the Nutrition Program – we conduct nutrition education with the students so I have been doing that there now for the last 6 years.

LS: The Marr Mooditj College is one of Joan Winch’s initiatives?
BW: That’s right, Joan worked with the Perth Aboriginal Medical Service as a Community Nurse for a number of years and she felt that what was needed to improve the status of Aboriginal people was to train Health Workers so that can go out in the field and deliver health education as well as clinical skills to Aboriginal people in the communities.

LS: Yes. The Consumer Reference Group?
BW: How I came to be a member of the Consumer Reference Group – and that is with the Fremantle Division of General Practice – was because they were looking for an Aboriginal person to be on the committee that could represent the Aboriginal Community in the Fremantle District, and as I was living in Coolbellup one of the people asked if I was interested in the Consumer Reference Group. My role has been to ensure that Aboriginal people in the area have access to Health Services where they can feel comfortable attending local GPs without having to travel a fair distance to have access to services like the Derbarl Yerrigan Health Services.

LS: Perhaps we could just go back, you said earlier that your first work had been as a clerical typist and then gone into Native Welfare [in the 1950’s when the State government Department for Aboriginal Affairs was still called Native Welfare Department]
BW: Well, it was funny working with Native Welfare, when I look back now, I went to work for the organisation that in that era was taking or removing children from their families. And you know, going back to work for them I suppose … like in that era – during the early fifties – people never had the employment opportunities that they have today. And coming from a Mission upbringing really we, you know, we were fortunate we had encouragement to go and do things later on in life, but for a lot of the people they either married at a very early age, or went to work on sheep stations. So I suppose at the time, when I finished doing my high school – I attended up to year 10 – I was fortunate that they asked me did I want to work [with Native Welfare].

LS: So you would have only been about 15 or 16?
BW: 16 at the time, so that was difficult at the time you know, moving from a … I suppose a sheltered life on the Mission and then suddenly coming to Perth as a young 16 year old, and then finding yourself alone to make decisions for yourself in life… so …

LS: Not to mention all the other things …
BW: …other difficulties and as I said, when you came from a sheltered environment – there you were sort of able to access everything without somebody telling you you couldn’t do this and you couldn’t do that – and … you know that was difficult, but luckily I have had people who supported me, and believed in me that gave me the opportunity to do what I wanted to do.

LS: Were there any particular Aboriginal people amongst those people that you would like to refer to here?
BW: Well, I suppose it started off being in the Mission, we had role models like, we were fortunate Mt Margaret Mission produced the first school teacher and trained nurse out of there, so I suppose when I was a young child I was keen to look at a teaching career because having your own Aboriginal person being a teacher in the early fifties …

LS: Are you able to mention her name?
BW: Yeah her name was May Miller who is now May O’Brien and I suppose you know she had an influence in my life to go on and do that. And another person who had a lot to do with me, and was like a role model for me when I was growing up, was Maisie Graham who now is Maisie Harkin.

LS: I asked you before, but perhaps you would say it for the tape, were there any other voluntary organisations that you used to belong to over the years in Cockburn?
BW: Not so much in the Cockburn area but I also was involved with the NASAS organisation, and that stood for Nyungar Alcohol and Substance Abuse Services. I also contributed to the people in the Cockburn Area through working as a Health Worker with the Hilton Community Health Services. That’s where my involvement came in, in helping young families because part of my role as a Health Worker was to go out and weigh Aboriginal babies and make sure that they attended the health services for immunisation and where ever we could deliver health education to them. And I suppose it was from there – working as a health worker – that I felt that there was a need to create that awareness with Aboriginal people and offer them more education so that they could take control and be responsible for their own health. So that was where I started sort of working with community groups trying to get people to – not only have services available to them – but have the confidence to access those services. And I know from my own experiences like, when we first came to live in Coolbellup a lot of the services that we have today weren’t provided, we had to sort of go out of Coolbellup – and when I look back – for GPs and other services we had to go over to Melville or Fremantle, so it wasn’t until other services started to be provided at Coolbellup …. People of today now don’t have to go much out of Fremantle to get those services…

LS: You have seen a lot of improvements in those ways?
BW: Oh yeah, definitely, and my children also, they went to North Lake Primary and did their High Schooling at the North Lake High School which is now a TAFE college, on Winterfold Road.

LS: What years did you work at the Hilton Community Health Centre?
BW: In Paget street, I worked there from November 1987 – I worked there for a couple of years – and I suppose it was like a training area for me, after being there I still saw education as an important tool to empowering our people to take responsibility for their own health and having worked as a Health Worker and then moving into a position as a trainee staff development officer, that’s when I became involved in Health Worker training, and it was from early 90-91 that I started to get involved in Health worker training. I have been working in this area from there right through to 2001 now.

LS: So we are now up to talking bout your current job?
BW: That’s right.

LS: So, what is your current job, do you have a special title?
BW: Well I work as a Health Promotion Officer in the Health Enhancement Branch of the Health Department of WA in the Nutrition Program. I have been working now altogether for the Health Department for nearly 14 years, so I have seen lots of changes and actually worked on the first steering committee for a career structure for Health workers in the Health Department…

LS: Oh yes… as a sort of almost like a positive opportunity …
BW: Yes, that’s right, I mean up till then Health Workers were just really getting on the job training and for a lot of health workers they worked for 10 or 11 years and even – I think we had a lady working for 17 years – and she said, well she had been doing her apprenticeship for all those years! So it wasn’t until about 1992 that she had an opportunity to get accredited training.

LS: With the Hilton Health Centre, were there other Aboriginal people working there?
BW: Yes, at that time there was myself working at Hilton Community Health and that sort of covered areas like Hilton, Willagee, Hamilton Hill – not so much Coolbellup – but down Fremantle, and in that region. There was another health worker employed, Derrick McCale, in Coolbellup, but it wasn’t until they took the community health into Hilton that they saw the need of providing services to the community in Coolbellup. When we first moved to Coolbellup in the late 60’s there were a number of Aboriginal families living in there, quite a high population of Aboriginal people living in Coolbellup.

Community Centres

LS: You didn’t ever belong to the Southern Suburbs Progress Association yourself?
BW: Well, I wasn’t actually a member, but I did have input into there, because I knew Jean Collard and Fred Collard very well. They were some of the people who set up the Southern Suburbs with the assistance of several members of the Ford family and were assisted by people like Joan Winch. We used some of their facilities and they had sewing classes and things like that for Aboriginal women and we were able to utilise these classes because they not only had classes during the day for people but for a lot of those that were working – they also had the opportunity to attend the sewing classes of an evening. And that was very good because it was assisting young mums and mothers to make their own clothes for the children and it gave them some pride being able to achieve that.

LS: And a pleasant place to get together…
BW: That’s right, and it wasn’t just sewing, I remember we did arts and crafts like producing photo frames and things like that and they organised fetes and things like that where they could raise funds for their particular organisations. And a lot of the services – they improved – I mean there was Kulunga Day Care Centre, that was established at the Hilton primary school through the education department for kids who would not normally go to a pre-primary school, they made the program available to young mums – you know, of children that were 3 years of age, so that they could go one day or a couple of hours just to meet or mingle with other children. We did this because we all know that at lot of our people don’t sort of go through that process of going to pre-primary so when they go to school sometimes you know, a lot of our people are disadvantaged in that respect.

LS: Yes, that would make it difficult for them to interact at school…
BW: Yes so that was why they opened it up to you know people … so they had like it was more of a play group where they could go and you know, the mum could have a couple of hours doing their own thing, rather than always having the children around and that.

LS: So was it connected to the Education department…?
BW: Yes, it was through the Education Department, and Elaine Gamble, Jean Lewis and Chris all worked in the Education Department. For a number of years Jean was instrumental in setting up that day-care centre attached to the Hilton Primary School.

LS: Was she a local person?
BW: Yes, she was, she was actually a Yamatji from Perenjori but was living in Perth at the time and working with the Education Department.

LS: Did she live in the Cockburn area?
BW: Yes, she did, I think it was over at Southwell – Hamilton Hill I think they refer to it now, but years ago it was called Southwell.

LS: Mr. Ford had something to do with that did he?
BW: Oh Mr. Ford was also part of Southern Suburbs, there were a number of local people that lived in surrounding areas, whether it was Coolbellup, or Hilton but they were involved with Southern Suburbs and they had quite a big following of people. Not only Mr. Tom Ford, that was living in Coolbellup, there was a Ray Ford and his wife as well who were actually working at Mopsa Way – Pine View actually – Day Care Centre.

LS: Mr Ford mentioned that, and he also referred to Kulunga at Hilton…
BW: Oh even before that was started up, Jean used to work through the church there, I think it was the church [Church of Christ] there in Hamilton Hill just near the supermarket, a lot of our children … well actually my youngest son attended that kindergarten there before he went to the one in Mopsa Road Day Care, before it was Pine View – that was sort of established later on, but just to make sure that Aboriginal kids had a start by going to kindy – they were started by church groups ..

LS: By Jean..?
BW: Jean, yeah, like a play group at the church, that was in Winterfold down near the shops, just before Carrington Street there, and my son used to go there as a three year old, two afternoons a week, and when I look back, when my daughter was going to kindy there was no services in Coolbellup. She had to go all the way over to North Fremantle just to attend the kindergarten and actually she had to go by a bus, it used to come round and pick the kids up, and you used to have to go all the way over there. But the older son went to Pine View Day Centre..

LS: When you were talking then you kind of referred to other people involved in these organisations, can you name of few of them for me?
BW: Oh well, Ray Ford, he used to work with Homeswest in Fremantle so he had young children round about the same ages as my children so we sort of teamed up, with lots of families that had kids, similar ages to our own kids. There were the Fords, there were the Wallams, the Littles, the Yarrans so there was quite a number of people you know that lived at Coolbellup.

LS: But no one in particular springs to mind as a community leader?
BW: Well other than Fred and Jean’s children – Marie Taylor and Neville Collard, there were Joan Winch and Muriel Collard they were heavily involved in working, in particular through Southern Suburbs. Southern Suburbs was one of the organisations set up for the people living in this area so they set up a lot of programs through their organisation – a lot of self help programs.

LS: They had a homework group going didn’t they?
BW: That’s right, they used to provide homework classes for the young people, and I saw that as an important program because often people mightn’t get that support in the school system so they were able to get that special tutoring after hours, and I suppose even with my own children when kids were going to school they used to be able to get access to the tutors – have tutors come out and tutor them. To help them to perform better at school.

LS: So when they ran the homework group were they mostly parents that helped supervise or did other people come in and help?
BW: Well they used to have tutors – and resource workers – there through the Education Department, and they were paid like a small fee to assist people.

LS: Would you spell Derrick McCale’s last name for me?
BW: McCale, yeah he was actually from Kununarra at the time, but he was married to a Yamatji girl and they lived in Belmont but he was based as the Health Worker in Coolbellup.

LS: When you decide that it is a good idea to train Aboriginal Health Workers what are the main areas that concern you in that …
BW: Well, I suppose when Joan first set up the Health Workers Course she felt that from the point of view – of Aboriginal people – they couldn’t always get jobs with main stream services. But in an Aboriginal organisation you could become a resource for within your family structure – and you could recognise the health problems for early intervention, and then do something about it and stop it from getting worse. She saw the need, and because [Aboriginal] health workers knew the families they’d have a good rapport with them and could understand where Aboriginal people were coming from. So that was the reason for getting Health Workers trained. And I suppose from a non-Aboriginal perspective Aboriginal Health workers could guide them. Mainstream could see the problems but didn’t understand the cultural issues which prevented the people from doing what was needed and communicating effectively.

LS: So they have more like a liaison role… to facilitate for people to get the service?
BW: That’s right, yeah, and by having those present, then people would be more comfortable about attending a centre – because they saw a familiar Aboriginal person that they looked up to as a role model. And I suppose over the years there have been a number of people that I have been a role model for. Not only as a member of the Health Department, but elsewhere. I saw my role, when I worked at the Aboriginal Medical Service as a receptionist, as one of being able to have that rapport with young mums who may have had two or three kids – and its very rewarding when you meet the children of those parents in later years – you know? You get a sense of pride having been able to contribute to their lives.

Bibra Lake

LS: I said earlier that we weren’t really looking for information about the Land, the sorts of things that people look for when they are talking about Native Title, but I wonder are there any places around this area that you know of that are especially significant to Aboriginal people, or just places that people like to go to?
BW: Well there is Bibra Lake, which is just close by to Adventure World, that was a place of significance to Aboriginal people because a lot of people used to camp around those parts of the area when they didn’t have proper houses, and they still like going there because its like a little park. We used to take the kids, you know, for a picnic, or we often had people visiting us from country and we used to take them down to Bibra Lake and have a barbecue with them. We could allow the kids to run around and have a game of cricket or football, or whatever, so it was a meeting place where people used to go, to relax and you have all their family around them.

LS: Yes I think there is a bit of interaction happens on the other side of the Lake where they have the Cockburn Wetlands building and the wildlife or animal rescue place isn’t there? Sometimes they have Aboriginal Festivals at that site don’t they?
BW: Oh well, yeah that’s right, and a lot of people go up there, I know when they had the one round there last year, it was down at the picnic area where we used to go for a number of years. And they still go there because there is plenty of open spaces and the kids don’t get bored. The only drawback to that is I suppose that it hasn’t got proper swimming facilities, but definitely people can have a game of cricket or run around but now they have the bike track down there you can ride your bike around Bibra Lake now.

LS: This is another question that might not be suitable for you because you are from Wongutha country, but have you ever heard local people talking about the past history of the area, like whether they worked as shepherds or guides to the settlers or anything like that?
BW: Unfortunately I haven’t heard a lot of that information, coming from a different area, and my husband is from Brookton so he didn’t really live around this area, but I know having worked at Native Welfare there were families that used to have a long association with the Fremantle area, I know that Sullivan [Patrick] Humes and his family lived in Fremantle, long before Coolbellup was even established, so there are those people’s connections. And even Joan Winch had connections to this area.

Aboriginal Community Leaders

LS: You were talking to me about people with a long association with this area…
BW: I worked with Joan for a number of years, she was living in Coolbellup too, only two streets from where I lived, so Joan spoke of her early life when she was living in the Fremantle area, and at that time there weren’t many Aboriginal people around so she would be somebody that you could talk to to find out some of the stories about what it was like growing up in Fremantle. Because even when I look back on my own life even though I have lived in Perth for 45 years, it wasn’t until I came to live in Coolbellup that I got to know this area because most of the time I lived in the Mt Lawley area prior to coming down this way.

LS: Yes, I remember hearing Joan speak about growing up around the Lake and Willagee a long time ago… Do you know of any other people in the area in employment at the moment?
BW: Well like for … I suppose for a lot of the children in this area who went to North Lake Primary, there was an Aboriginal teacher actually at the school at the time called Colleen Hayward, and I know a lot of the kids used to like having somebody that they could look up to, and use as a role model for their own life. Quite a few people mentioned that that’s what they would have liked, more Aboriginal teachers in the schools while they were going to school so they could feel comfortable with that. And I think when my kids were going to school at North Lake Primary they were fortunate they had a headmaster there, his name was Mr. Walter Gable, who was very good with the kids and to me he brought in high standards for the children to use as a guide for them when they went out into the workforce or when they were ready to leave school. And I think by having those prominent people associated with them in the school and in the sporting groups … [they benefit]. And when I look back even the coaches that coached the Aboriginal children in the footy arena where prominent people who left a, you know a mark in young people’s lives…

LS: They have got a very important role haven’t they?
BW: That’s right, because they were seen as that person, and then the one that comes readily to my mind was Sergeant Graeme McKenzie who not only lived in Coolbellup but he was a Sergeant and the kids looked up to him and he was one of the coaches and I felt that he was very fair in including Aboriginal people ‘cause Aboriginal kids were given the opportunity to participate in any sporting fixtures here in the Cockburn area. Having worked on the Coolbellup football committee I have been fortunate to meet some of the people who have been influential through the Cockburn Shire. Like the Cockburn Shire person, Nola Watters, she was very good in helping people and even through the North Lake Little Athletics Club, there were a lot of non-Aboriginal people who were very supportive and encouraged Aboriginal people to participate.

LS: And Aboriginal people in this area who have made names for themselves in the sporting areas – there have been quite a few, haven’t there?
BW: Yes, well we were fortunate I think, like out at the Coolbellup footy club we managed to have one of the footballers go onto better things. Clem Michael who played his junior football in the Coolbellup football club is now playing with the Dockers. They had good models like Steven Michael, he is one footballer playing with South Fremantle, and I think in my own era too they had those footballers playing footy at the time that were role models. Maurice Rioli, Basil Campbell, Bennie Vigona, they were all role models for the children growing up, even though some of them were from the Northern Territory they were still role models to the Nyungar or Aboriginal people here in this shire, because they used to go there and work with the footy club as role models.

LS: What about the girls in the area, what did they do?
BW: Well the girls played netball and my daughter certainly played with the Coolbellup Netball Club, and quite a few people played with family members who could put in a team. They even attended the Police Youth Club, they used to run a centre in Paget Street, where the kids used to go and play basketball, so there were quite [well catered for] … and I find that with children, it is the kids that break into the sport that seem to have a higher self-esteem, and they seem to do well because they have the confidence to talk to people and their other peers without feeling alienated. I think that it is in sports that you can break down the barriers because lots of people want the good kids to play for them in their teams so [it helps]…

LS: Yes sport has always been important for young people, and for the families involved in the area, keeps contact with each other, helps that sense of community …
BW: That’s right yeah, and I think everybody used to want to go down and watch their kids play whether it was netball or footy or cricket. All the parents from this area used to go down there and watch the kids play.

LS: I think that was all I had on my list really, unless you had anything else you’d like say about living or working in the area, or anything you might think of that I haven’t thought of to ask about…
BW: When I think about it, as we look at things today, I think we have to work together in a partnership to improve things… you know? With Reconciliation in our communities, I think we can all learn from each other, and I think it is through having respect for each other, and recognising people’s differences that we will be able to go a long way to achieving reconciliation.

Oh one of the things I forgot to say was although I left the job as Health Worker in Hilton, I have still kept those connections in the community, I am familiar with other health workers that have come and replaced the ones before and I have been privileged enough to have been able to work with people such as the late Irene Calgaret who was originally from Bunbury. She worked as a health worker in Coolbellup. And Jane Jones who started out as a Health worker and has gone on and done her nursing training, has just graduated as a registered nurse. That is the result of being a health worker and getting insights into other professional areas, and choosing what you want to do.

Often people come on site as a health worker and then move on to better things, so it is sort of like a little career path, where people are taking up those opportunities to move further and as I said, in my job as a health promotion officer I still come and run groups when there is a need – like they have got a women‘s group operating out of Hilton Community Health and when they wanted to know about nutrition education they asked me to come in and do work with community groups so that they have a better understanding. The types of food, and budgeting schemes that we can teach them. Even though I am not specifically attached to committees down here if people want to run workshops, or want to know where they can access services they still can feel free to ring … say ‘oh, ring Beth and find out’ you know, I am someone they can tap into so you can still be a resource to the people in the community. As well, [I can be helpful] with the GPs that I go to myself, like at the time I am attending for my own health reasons – and they can take the opportunity to ask – like where can we refer Aboriginal people onto … you know agencies to follow up their treatment or whatever… so you still have connections in this area.

LS: Yes, good, thanks

[Interview resumed 29 June 2001]

Robert Woods

LS: You said you’d like to add something about Aboriginal Leadership in the area and.. could you tell me your husband’s name
BW: Yes, My husband’s name is Robert Woods, and I just thought I would like to tell you about the work he has been involved in. As you are aware, working in a juvenile detention centre is very demanding and I think his contribution – having worked for many years in that institution- he is one person who has made a big contribution. Not only to Aboriginal people, but also for non-Aboriginal people. He is sort of respected in that way, he has like a father figure relationship with the children and I think that people know that they can have a bit of fun with him, as well as having that firmness with him. He has had a lot of respect from a lot of people who have been through that institution. When they meet up with him after [they’ve left] in the street they will always come up and say to him “Hello, Mr. Woods, remember me?”, and talk to him. Some of them have actually turned their life around, others have been not so fortunate to be able to do that, but I think it is great that the kids can do that, it shows that a person can appreciate his contribution to their life.

LS: Yes, it does say a lot when they can speak to him in the street when he has been in charge of them, sort of thing.
BW: Yes, I think so, it shows a lot of respect for somebody that – even probably at that time, they might not have thought that it was a good idea if he corrected them in regards to their behavior, but at least he has been able to help them move forward in their life.

LS: When he works at the detention centre what sort of commitment does it require, I mean does he have to go to work and stay over night and things like that?
BW: Well, yes it is shift work, and you have to do three different shifts; you can go morning shift, afternoon shift, or evening shift. So it requires a lot of dedication – having to do shift work for a number of years.

LS: Just in a general sense, what sort of things does he have to do as part of his job.
BW: Well, not only supervising them, when I say supervising it is in role of preparing meals – not so much preparing the meals, but supervising them doing the wash up and tidying up times, as well as doing educational activities and recreation.

LS: So he would be like watching that the youngsters did what they were supposed to do in terms of cleaning up and then attending classes and so on.
BW: Yes, that’s right, so it is sort of like a group leader’s role, supervising 6 to 8 inmates at the one time.

LS: How long has he been doing that work?
BW: He has been doing that now for 26 years, which is a very long time in the one field of employment. And as I mentioned, it is very demanding and can put a lot of stress on him, because you are working with all sorts of kids from all sorts of backgrounds.

LS: Yes, kids who have been under a lot of stress themselves.
BW: Yes, that’s right.

LS: Does he have time for sport or anything?
BW: Well in his earlier years he played a lot of football, and he enjoyed that, not only just in the metropolitan area, but he played a lot of country football before coming to Perth. He played in the Great Southern, Upper Great Southern League, and quite a number of Aboriginal people also played for them.

LS: Which town was he in when he played for Great Southern?
BW: Well he played for a team called Cuballing, which is just out of Narrogin, but I mean most of his younger years playing football was in that competition so he played with towns such as Wickepin, Narrogin, Wagin.

LS: Cuballing is betwen Narrogin and Wandering, isn’t it?
BW: Well it is in between Narrogin and Pingelly.

LS: OK, was there anything else that you remembered you would like to say?
BW: Oh, I think I have said enough, I just wanted to mention that because without his support over the years I probably wouldn’t have been able to continue with the work that I have done,

LS: Yes, I think too, that you are right, he is long term resident in the Cockburn Area and he is an Aboriginal Community Leader in his own right.
BW: That’s true.

LS: Thank you very much.
BW: Ok then.

About Beth Woods

Beth was born at Cosmo Newberry, Western Australia and spent most of her childhood at the Mt. Margaret Mission. In these interviews however, she speaks mostly about her previous work as an Aboriginal Health Worker, and her current employment with the Health Department of Western Australia.

In the second part of the interview Beth speaks about the work of her husband Robert, who works as a Group Leader in a juvenile detention centre.




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Ngalak kaadatj dayin boodja, kep wer malayin. Ngalak kaadatj koora koora wer yeyi ngalang birdiya.

City of Cockburn acknowledges the Nyungar people of Beeliar boodja. Long ago, now and in the future they care for country.
We acknowledge a continuing connection to land, waters and culture and pay our respects to the Elders, past, present and emerging.