Meet the Mob – a celebration of 100 stories

A unique collection of 100 contemporary Hunter voices was celebrated by 1233 ABC Newcastle in a live broadcast from the Birabahn building, home of the Wollotuka Institute at the University of Newcastle on Thursday 15 October.

The recordings are interviews with local Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people for the 1233 ABC Newcastle Meet the Mob podcast, which has been downloaded by more than 50,000 people to date. They were gathered over a three-year period by 1233 ABC Newcastle Mornings presenter Jill Emberson.

“I’ve been challenged by every single one of these interviews – I’ve laughed, I’ve wept and discovered Koori- oke! Listener feedback shows a real hunger to get to know this community better,” said Jill Emberson.

Dean and Director of Wollotuka, Professor Peter Radoll, said Wollotuka was thrilled to partner with the ABC to host the live broadcast that highlighted the local community, our local Elders, our local leaders and our local voices.

“In our role as national leader, Wollotuka is committed to our local community so we are pleased be involved in such a positive initiative. Sharing yarns, stories and music from Birabahn is the perfect way to celebrate 100 Meet the Mob voices,” Professor Radoll said.

As a collection, Meet the Mob is an original record of a thriving Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community making its way in an urban setting better known for its natural resources than its indigenous people.

The conversations are intimate, funny, poignant windows into the issues of contemporary indigenous Australia.

Traditionally the Hunter is home of the Awabakal, Darkinjung, Worimi and Wonnarua peoples and today has New South Wales’ largest indigenous population outside western Sydney

Who are they? What are they doing? What are their dreams and aspirations?

Teenagers like Leonie Whyman, star of ABC3’s Ready For This, who left school to pursue her acting career. Elders like Dorothy Wotherspoon, the first Aboriginal publican in Australia. Families like the Whaleboats, originally from the Torres Strait Islands, who moved from Cairns to work on the railways in Maitland.

One listener was so moved by a story that she wrote a song about interviewee, Joy Reid (pictured above) who had rejected an offer of marriage from her white lover only to be reunited with him again 30 years later on Maitland railway station.

Joy Reid joined a selection of Meet the Mob guests at the live broadcast from the Wollotuka Institute to celebrate the collection of 100 Meet the Mob interviews.

Hear Joy’s story:

Photography by Sophie Brown for 1233 ABC Newcastle.

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