Women's Health Goulburn North East
Women's Health Goulburn North East

57 Rowan Street, Wangaratta, 3677
Tel 03 5722 3009 | Fax 03 5722 3020
Email whealth@whealth.com.au

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Our Vote counts: Stories of Aboriginal Women's Voting Experience

This year (2008) Victoria celebrates the 100th anniversary of women gaining the right to vote. This hard earned victory did not include all women, as most Indigenous women did not fully participate in the electoral process until the late 1960s, or even later.

WHGNE collaborated with members from Mungabareena Aboriginal Corporation and the North-East Local Aboriginal Education Consultative Group to write one of the 50 successful submissions: "Our Vote Counts: Stories of Aboriginal Women's Voting Experience"

This project has brought young Aboriginal women together with older Aboriginal women to hear how they felt about voting for the first time in the 1960s. This important history has now been captured on DVD for the Century of Women's Suffrage year.

"Our Vote Counts" highlights an aspect of women's suffrage not generally considered in our celebrations. It explicitly includes the perspective of Aboriginal women in the celebration of Women's suffrage and most importantly, it captures an oral history that will soon be lost to us.

20 November 2008

Our Vote Counts Parliament Celebration

Rita Wenberg and granddaughter Jessica Love"Our Vote Counts-Stories of Aboriginal Women’s Voting Experience" is now a DVD produced by Women's Health Goulburn North East for the One Hundred Years of Women's Suffrage Celebrations.

Six women were interviewed on film by younger Aboriginal women who learnt, that for some Aboriginal people, getting the vote, (some sixty years later than Victorian women), did not seem relevant to their lives.

Rita Wenberg who was interviewed by her granddaughter Jessica Love for the DVD Our Vote Counts

"They didn’t tell us anything about the vote", said Rita Wenberg, who was taken from her mother and brought up in Cootamundra Girl's Home, along with six sisters. "We were already second class citizens".

Feeling betrayed by consecutive governments, many Aboriginal people chose not to vote at the time. For others, it was a great achievement that finally allowed them to have a say in their own lives.

"So much has changed since those days", said Tracy Jackson, who was one of the interviewers. "Aboriginal people have so much more today; housing and health care. So many things have changed".

Our Vote Counts"We were so happy to be able to find Aboriginal women who remembered voting or not voting at the time when they finally were finally allowed to in 1968. Getting their stories recorded is so important for the whole community to be able to access as well as for young Aboriginal people to learn about the elders' history".

The stories of six Aboriginal women from North East Victoria will be showcased at Parliament House Open Day on November 23.

The "Our Vote Counts" DVD will be played throughout the day on a continuous loop with dozens of other visual projects supported by the Victorian Government's Centenary of Suffrage community grants celebrating women's suffrage.

 DVD outer cover artwork by Rita Wenberg.


Our Vote Counts - Part 1

Our Vote Counts - Part 2

Our Vote Counts Part 3