Aunty Sandra Lee
My name is Aunty Sandra Lee and I am a descendant of Gomebeeree, chief of the Boorooberongal clan of the Darug nation. I am a proud Darug woman and continue to promote Darug heritage and culture with my family's centuries-old connections to the Blacktown area.
In 2013 I foundered the Burbaga Aboriginal Corporation which not only recognises the Darug community and their Elders, but embraces all Aboriginal communities. I spend a lot of time visiting many local schools in order to educate children about the importance of heritage and culture of the Darug peoples, complementing the work of teachers under the Board of Studies' curriculum.
I am passionate about the future of Aboriginal young people, and continue to assist the Department of Community Services in observing cultural and clan protocols when placing Aboriginal children in foster care.
I am a strong advocate of First Peoples sovereignty, changes to the Native Title legislation, education and the welfare of Aboriginal youth. As a member of Blacktown City Council's and Holroyd Council's Aboriginal Advisory Committees, I receive many requests for information from researchers, archaeologists and government through this I work with many different community and business groups, facilitating connections to the Aboriginal community.
I also go to Parklea gaol and assist with the Aboriginal inmates, and help them as much as I can answering their questions.
I grew up and went to school in Blacktown. I had a great time in primary school, which was full of kids from all sorts of backgrounds. I don't know if there were any other Aboriginal kids there because it was kept pretty quiet about being Aboriginal in those days. People didn't speak about being Aboriginal because they were scared of the Protection Board coming in and taking children. It was all part of the Stolen Generation and that's what happened to them. They did it to a lot of families, took the kids and put them into institutes and missionary schools. I'm not dark skinned; I'm white so I kept quiet. That's the way it was back in the Fifties and Sixties.
Since taking over I have incorporated Darug language, heritage and culture which I speak in my Welcome to Country Addresses, we're now in the early stages of putting together classes for people learning to speak it.
We've just signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Swedish company Holcim, which took over Readymix. It has to do with a piece of land near their Rooty Hill. It's about 28 acres, and they're going to build a nursery and offices on it, and it's worth about $2 ½ million to us. I feel really proud because they specifically asked to sign the MOU with me.
A lot of Aboriginal people are lost and need to find a way back.
I tell them about their own history, that goes back well before Captain Cook ever arrived, the first boat people. My people greeted them and the next thing you know they've taken our land, where we got our food. And when we needed food and killed a sheep they hung us for it. Along Richmond Road, to Blacktown, they used hang Aboriginals for a lesson to other Aboriginals. A lot of people don't know about that. When they held an anniversary for Governor Macquarie a few years ago they asked me to come and celebrate and I said: 'He put the order out to hang my people, why would I want to say nice things about the man?' That's part of the history of our land. As an Elder it's my responsibility to hold onto the truth and pass it on.