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Interview - Roma Loo-Kickett

Roma Loo-Kickett, interviewed for the City of Cockburn Aboriginal Oral History Project (2005)

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. This recorded interview of  Roma Loo-Kickett by Nikki Brannigan and Uta Eckhardt took place November 2005. Full audio and a summary below.


Summary of some of the subjects covered:

(Tape 1 — Side A)

  • Born on mission
  • Childhood moves and experiences of school
  • Move to Moora and experience of returning 2004
  • Family of 8 hide in bush to avoid children being taken
  • Taken by train to Roelands mission
  • Experience of mission
  • Happy memories of trips to beach
  • Memories of going to church
  • School and education
  • Missionaries and rules and guilt
  • Leaving mission, losing friends, and loneliness
  • Writing letter to parents
  • Finding parents
  • Getting a job and finding somewhere to live
  • Back to mission, sisters looking after each other
  • Work and racism outside
  • Coolbaroo Club
  • Looking for love; mission life and its ongoing impact on relationships and family
  • Parenting
  • Birth of children; Katanning Hospital had one ward “for natives only”
  • Children working and playing football

(Tape 1 – Side B)

  • Working Katanning, ironing, hospital, soft drink factory, hostel, meat works
  • Children, shyness and loneliness, mistrust of white people
  • Blaming white people, 1905 Aborigines act, policy of removal
  • Children growing up
  • Making friends with white people
  • Finding herself and knowing something was missing
  • Born in 1936 in Badjaling
  • Her family’s living conditions then, description of where they got their water.
  • Recalls being very sick as a little child, having the experience of “going to the other side”.
  • About her children, five sons and one daughter. How happy she is to have all of them. Roma’s view of the special relationship between women and their daughters.
  • Description of her time in the marriage, committed to looking after the children until they can look after themselves.
  • Tight finances in those days, especially around Christmas, difficulty to buy presents for the children. One time kindness extended by a local minister.
  • The separation from her husband, move to Coolbellup then Armadale.
  • Counselling at Manguri and how it helped the marriage. A period of getting back together and splitting up again.
  • Furthering her education at TAFE in Midland: normal school subjects and crafts. Also: TAFE Leederville, TAFE Rockingham: craft, painting.
  • There were deaths in the family at that time also Roma’s daughter’s fianc√©. The good relationship with his family.

(Tape 2 — Side A)

  • Deaths in the family.
  • Studies at Fremantle TAFE: Roma, her cousin Liz and Liz’ husband, Noel Morrison, attended the Aboriginal Tourism course. Learning Nyungar names for plants. Enjoyed working with primary school children in Leda, Fremantle and other schools.
  • Move to Willagee and continued studies at Fremantle TAFE. Her English teacher Paul helped her research the 1905 Act. Relationship with white people.
  • Remembering Nyungar maths teacher Patina Jacobs, who went to Canada, then came home and got married later.
  • Travels with the Fremantle TAFE course participants to Albany, Bremer Bay, Esperance, Newman, Tom Price
  • Meeting with elders in Tom Price.
  • Stay in Coral bay in tents. Visiting TAFE in Carnarvon, welcome by a Nyungar band. Travel on to Geraldton
  • 1985 attended two-year-counselling course at Wasley Centre, Mt Lawley. Description of what made her strong. Met up with a girl from the mission at this course.



City of Cockburn
Whadjuk Boodja
9 Coleville Crescent,
Spearwood 6163

Po Box 1215, Bibra Lake DC,
Western Australia, 6965

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Cockburn Nyungar moort Beeliar boodja-k kaadadjiny. Koora, yeyi, benang baalap nidja boodja-k kaaradjiny.
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.