ACU’s Doseena Fergie has become an inspiration for a new generation after she was admitted to the Victorian Honour Roll of Women for her work in nursing and community health.
The proud Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander woman is a nursing lecturer at the Melbourne Campus and has just submitted her PhD thesis on post-natal depression in Aboriginal women.
"My mother was taken out of school when she was in grade three, to look after the rest of the 15 children in her family," Doseena told the Age newspaper.
“She was denied schooling and became a cleaner, but through her – my heroine – I was given an education."
Doseena worked as a nurse and midwife in Brisbane, as a healthcare worker in the remote highlands of Papua New Guinea, and came to Melbourne two decades ago to work with an Indigenous health team in Healesville.
"Those women who came before me planted my seed in softened fertile ground, allowing my generation to come forward," she said.
"And I hope that the ground that I have dug and cultivated has allowed my children to live successfully in two cultures, indigenous and white Australia.
"I believe in empowering Aboriginal women, who have been silent for many years," she said.
"Feminism began in the western world, but for Aboriginals I think it means the raising of the grandmothers, the mothers and the aunties to a place where they feel strong, and can lift others with them."