Colin Walker Snr is a Yorta Yorta elder. He tells of mission life and living in Echuca.
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Culture, Respect and Law
Colin Walker Snr
First Person: ACMI Stories ACMI Digital Storytelling
We got our law, our respect for our law, our justice for our culture, so it all fits in together four ways as far as I’m concerned. You got your culture, your law, your justice and then you got your justice, culture, respect and law.
I was born on Cummeragunja Mission in 1935. My grandmother’s name was Florence Walker who was the Missions midwife…delivered me in a tin hut with a dirt floor. The hands that brought me into this world would be the same to teach me about our culture and make me the strong Yorta Yorta man I am today. Yeah my mother passed away when I was only seven and my grand mother Florrie and grand father Abbot Walker took on the role as mother and father raising four children. Three boys, that’s me and my two brothers Barney and Roy and me sister Walda. All our childhood was spent in a white man’s school; our real education came from our elders. They would always talk to us about our Yorta Yorta law, they were very spiritual people our elders. My grandfather would take me fishing and talk about the importance of the river and how it was our protector and provider. I started working as a roustabout ion the sheering sheds at the age of thirteen and then about eighteen I took up shearing with my brothers, uncles and my father. Around that time we lost grandfather and a few years later we lost my grandmother, the family started to drift apart. I continued my work as a shearer and also undertook seasonal fruit picking when I could. It wasn’t long I started my own family, marrying Faye in 1956 and raising four children on the same land I grew up on. Well, I go to the cemetery every Sunday, I go up to visit the family plot. I still talk to my grandparents every Sunday when I do go up there. I’m just talking to them on the going on of the family and how things have changed over the years. Now that I am an elder I pass on Yorta Yorta law to the young ones I will never forget the teaching of my grandparents.