Family Matters

This section will record the whereabouts of (1) material already in the public domain about family members and (2) material I have been given, discovered or researched.

In no sense, therefore, is this section autobiographical. However, the history of my family has been one major influence in feeding my curiosity about and understanding of recent social history. Both my parents were first generation educated beyond primary level. We are all products of diverse personal and cultural influences as well as living with our unique DNA. And, like some Aborigine people, I believe we may arrive on this earth with some form of ‘remembered’ history. What we make of our complex personal inheritance and nurture is the challenge each faces. That challenge can be affirmed: or stunted, including by a narrow imposed prescription of educational ‘success’ and by prejudices of any kind, including racial, religious, sexist and ageist.

When I was nineteen and a staff journalist, I made a pact with myself. I vowed I would never accept favours as a means to acquire ‘power over.’ I wanted to discover how life could be lived recognising that we are all essentially equal and that it was our personal responsibility to enact that belief. It does not mean that we have to like everyone or are immune from making mistakes!

It was my experience that most of the emotional abuse experienced earlier in my life was perpetrated by those (including a few in my extended family) who embraced the notion women were expected to be compliant in temperament; domestically highly efficient; invariably supportive: and willing to have their intellectual property colonised.

I learned also that I usually felt safe in circumstances which conventional views suggested might be ones I should fear. We still live in a society in which those using ‘power over’ rather than ‘legitimate authority’ too often continue to extol the belief that their views, actions and beliefs are per se the right ones. It simply is not true.

To reinforce this view, after the death in recent years of two extended family members, significant facts about their lives surfaced which they had never fully made known. They had simply lived them, staying true to their ideals of equality, which in the context of their time and place in history were remarkable (read more).

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