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Braided Channels of History Recording & Transcript - 17 - 01 of 03 (Text)

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IN 00:00:00 OUT 00:29:09
Trish FitzSimons
Elizabeth June Wilcox
Griffith Film School
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17 - 01 of 03
5 June 2000
So this is Tape 17 on camera, DAT Tape 8 is on 105.25 and it’s 5 June 2000, Trish FitzSimons recording, Erica Addis on camera. We’re recording June Jackson and this is the third camera tape that this interview has gone onto. TAPE 17_BC_DV Updated 04/01/10 Timecode from Tape 17_BC_DV Topics in Bold
Braided Channels of History Recording & Transcript - 17 - 01 of 03
Work Race Relations
PTA refers to Part A of Tape 17.
Recorded creative work created by permission of the copyright holder. Copyright in individual works within this collection belongs to their authors or publishers.
June Jackson
End of interview with June Jackson. Tape 3 of 3. No obvious faults with footage.
part of:
Braided Channels of History Recording & Transcript - 17 - 01 of 03
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17_BC_DV_PTA_JACKSON-plain.txt — 27 KB

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I’m just interested a bit more, not in how the technology has shifted but how your role and
        your satisfaction in running a Post Office and the experience of it, how that has shifted
        over that period in which the technology has changed so radically.

Work: Post Office

        00:01:28:18    I don’t think it’s shifted. I think it’s a job I love. I think it’s a job I’m pretty
        good at and I think just as changes are implemented, you go with it. I don’t … I think it’s
        like any job. If you like it, you just keep improving and perhaps getting better and learning
        the new things that come along. I don’t know if that’s what you want but that’s how I feel.
        Whatever they put in there, I learn to use and it’s for the betterment of the customers and
        it’s just what we have to do.

When you were describing being the telephonist, you said ‘People would want me to know
        that Joe Bloggs was out at the Five-Mile or Joanna had gone out to Glen Ormiston’ or
        whatever. Do you still feel you have that kind of knowledge of comings and goings of the

Work: Communications

        00:02:24:00    No, nowhere near as much since we lost the exchange. I think that was the
        big thing. When it finally did close, people would say ‘Well, how are we going to know
        what anyone’s doing?’ and they’d ring up and say ‘Oh, June, how much rain did so-and-so
        have?’ and I’d say ‘I’m sorry, but unless they ring me I don’t know’, and I think it took a
        while for them to realise that I was no longer the PMG Department, that I was a private
        enterprise, that phone calls that were made other than a small subsidy, I paid for, and I
        think it took people a long time to realise that I was now a business person so I wasn’t
        going to ring twenty-five properties so that they could ring me and find out what it was.
June Jackson                                                                                         2

         They didn’t realise that it was costing them a phone call to ring me. It would cost them a
         phone call to ring the property, so they may as well ring the property and get it first-hand.
         I think it took the community to realise that things were changing and there was a lot of
         resentment. Why does it have to close? What are we going to do now? But, like all
         country people, and people everywhere, I guess, that things change so you find some other
         way of doing things. So they would then call someone on their two-way and say ‘Have
         you heard what so-and-so had?’ so they used the two-ways a lot for a long time.

I don’t think that I realise. So you’re saying you’re a franchise. You pay for the franchise
         and then make profit as a percentage of what you do, rather than being on a wage? Is that
         what you’re …?

00:04:13:10    What happened was that I purchased the buildings. I’m paid a wage and
         I’m paid a commission. My wage, I suppose, is I’m paid so much for mail delivery, mail
         sorting, to be here. I’m paid for those things. On top of that, I earn commission on people
         paying their bills and doing banking, whatever. I have to pay for all the … I don’t
         purchase the equipment but I pay rent on it. There’s a units threshold on things, when you
         are under that threshold, you then pay for. So sometimes to have this latest technology is
         expensive.     00:04:59:02

So Australia Post has never been privatised exactly but the delivery of those services has
         been partially privatised?

00:05:09:20    Ummm. It’s embarrassing to admit but I really don’t know. They own … I
         don’t … oh, what can I say? I can sell the Post Office but Australia Post has to … they
         have to approve of the people that are coming in. I can’t just sell it to you. I have to go
         through Australia Post to be able to sell the business. I can sell you the building but I have
         to run the business. But I can sell you the business with Australia Post’s approval and that
         takes some doing. They just won’t put anyone in here. I own the stock. I purchase the
         stock from Australia Post but they own the equipment, the technology.

And so I can look outside. Clearly this business is a lot of your life, June. I can also see
         the ironing board in the back room, so you can do things along the way, and I can see a
         beautiful garden out there. Am I right that you and Ray have got a very integrated kind of
June Jackson                                                                                        3

         working and home life between this building and your house that’s just behind it and the
         gardens around it?

Work/Gender Relations/Post Office

         00:06:30:05    Most definitely. Yeah. I work of a morning which is when most of the
         business is done and then he’ll come over here and sit with his feet up and read the
         newspaper, and I will be ironing or whatever, so if he gets a problem I’m not very far
         away. I don’t go away and I don’t go to meetings and things in the afternoon. This is my
         job and if people have a problem, or something that he can’t deal with, I feel I should be
         here because they’re entitled to the same service as they get anywhere else, so I mean, he
         can yell out in the back yard and I’ll come up. I don’t change out of my uniform until 6
         o’clock at night, so I don’t actually do gardening. I water the lawns or move the hoses or
         something, but the gardening is just weekend. And, you know, it’s just a relationship. We
         both work and we both do whatever needs to be done. And it’s working.

And the other parts of your life. I can see big golf clubs, I know you’re involved in the
         Historical Society. I want to get a picture of your life in this town.

Leisure/Volunteer Work

         00:07:36:10    Ummm. I’m a member of the P&C and have been ever since my children
         started school. Mind you, they have been left school for quite some years. Ummm, I seem
         to be involved in a lot of things that go on. I don’t like something to happen that I haven’t
         really got much to do with. Probably the last few years I’m holding back a little, mainly
         the Historical Society. I’m still very involved with that. The Golf Club, I have taken on
         the job as, I think I’m assistant ummm what would you say?               Assistant dogsbody,
         probably, at the moment. I used to be Captain and all of those things and just decided I’d
         rather play golf. I’m a member of the CWA. Very interested in whatever happens of an
         afternoon while I’m at work. I like to keep up with whatever committee meetings and
         things that are on, and that’s probably it. I love my golf.

You’ve won awards, haven’t you, for community service? Tell us what the awards are.

00:08:42:02    You’re a sticky beak. I have been given an Excellence in Award, presented
         with an Excellence in Education from the school, just for the years of commitment, I think,
         for being on the P&C so long and being president for a lot of years and secretary or
June Jackson                                                                                             4

         treasurer or whatever. As I said, you know, I’ve been up there since my children first
         started school.    Ummm, and I won a Citizenship Award a few years ago, just for
         commitment to the community, I guess.

In the little country community I grew up in, it was generally women that were at the heart
         of all those things that stuck the community together, and my Mum was very involved in
         that. Is that how things go here? Is it fundamentally women that keep the schools, the
         hospitals, the churches, the garden club, all those things, going or is there a lot of male
         involvement as well in that voluntary community stuff?

Gender Relations

         00:09:44:16    Ummm, I’d say all the things that you have mentioned, it’s the women. But
         if you get the Golf Clubs, the men like to be president of the Golf Club. The Race Club,
         they like to have a man president of the Race Club. The Rodeo Committee, they like to
         have a man president of the Rodeo Committee. The Camel Race 2000, they like to have a
         man. I mean, no women have ever challenged them yet. Chairman. I think it’s still a little
         male-dominated area that they like just to have that. Let the women have their CWA
         meetings and, you know, QGAP and things like that. Any of those sorts of meetings that
         have something to do with youth suicide and things like that, I think they like the women
         to do that but they like to do the manly, macho things. I think there’s still a little bit of that
         out here.

And is there a sense that it’s the women, say, doing a lot of work for something like the
         camel races but it’s the man that’s the president? Or are the men taking over those areas
         and then really running with them?

00:10:43:02    Ummm, I’d probably have to say, with the camel race it’s mainly men. It’s
         only new so no one really knows too much about that. The secretary is the president’s wife
         and myself. We’re probably the main women in that but the Race Club, they have a lady
         secretary. The Rodeo Committee, they have lady secretaries. So it’s just mainly, I think
         because they’re jobs that women can’t do. They can’t do the actual things for the racing.
         You know, it’s men who are the trainers mainly. The same with the rodeo, it’s the men
         who work in the back yards and so they sort of probably have more the say, whereas with
         the other things that don’t take brute strength, I think … see, the goat races, there probably,
         he’s the president because no one else wants to take the job on. But it’s the women that get
June Jackson                                                                                           5

         the prizes and the same with the things like the Claypan Olympics, I think the women run
         that because that’s a kids’ sort of thing. But, you know, the men’ll have, they’ll organise
         the bike sports for the little fellows on their motorbikes and I think it’s a pretty … hey, it
         works. It’s a happy community, so …

You’re describing, actually, an incredibly active community, those things you’ve just
         spilled off – the Claypan Olympics, and certainly coming into this town, there’s a sense of
         activity going on here. I’m thinking of things like Min Min and the new council housing
         and so on. Yeah, is tourism a big new influence on Boulia? Is that what’s driving it? This
         doesn’t look like a town of wealthy people but there’s money going into the town, if that
         makes sense. That’s how it appears from the outside.

CC Economy

         00:12:37:22    A lot of the money coming into this town is through the council. The
         housing, a lot of the housing is council. Tourism, I think, is just taking off. Being a tourist
         myself, you have a limited amount of money. You budget, so you can’t go to museum in
         A, B, C and D. You go in A and F perhaps. So we’ve got to have something special that
         makes the people want to see our museum or our Min Min Centre. I think it’s just such a
         clean, nice oasis sort of town. People think ‘Oh, this is beautiful after driving through
         what is normally a very dusty dry countryside’. There’s a lot of town pride. People take
         pride in their gardens and things. And the council is excellent. You know, they are doing
         whatever they can, any time. They’re responsible for all the gardening we’ve got here.
         They get grants for … I don’t know where they get money from. It’s a money tree
         somewhere. But they’re doing an excellent job.

         00:13:41:10    Ummm, and a lot of things … I think most of the community do things
         because that’s all there is to do, and you’re always looking for something to take your
         children to. So the goat races go off beautifully. I mean, they get, on Saturday morning
         they run round the countryside and find a few sheep and some wild goats on my brother-in-
         law’s place. They bring them in here, in a truck, chuck them in a pen, you buy a goat and
         you race it all day. Next day it’s chucked in the truck and let go back out on the property
         again. They auction the sheep off, so you buy a sheep and your kid rides the sheep or gets
         bucked off the sheep or something. It’s just an absolutely hilarious day. No one has
         trained goats because money just becomes too big a thing. If someone trains their goat,
         you know, for six months, and wins every race, that’s not the idea of it. It’s the day out.
June Jackson                                                                                         6

         00:14:33:04    The Claypan Olympics is mainly for the children, not just the children but
         the adults, but it’s another thing to get the country people and the townspeople all together
         and give the children companionship and competitiveness, and it’s just a great day. They
         get prizes from different places and then usually they’ll have the goat races in town one
         day, and then they go out to the rodeo grounds, racecourse complex out there, and they’ll
         have bike sports – motorbike sports – which is a great day. They ride from this side up to
         the … you know, the ringers and things, they bring their bikes in. So that’s a great day.
         Always food, of course, and a bar, which is a great attraction.

         00:15:22:21    Ummm, we have a Golf Club championship here every year which brings
         people from out of town, mainly Mt Isa, from Winton, some from Longreach, Hughenden
         perhaps. That’s always a good weekend for the town. Mainly for the Golf Club but then
         they do use accommodation so that’s booked out.

         00:15:43:00    Ummm, the Camel Race weekend is a very big weekend, meaning three
         days. The races and rodeo, which is held every April if it doesn’t rain. They race on …
         they have a barbeque, entertainment evening on Friday. They race on Saturday and they
         have rodeos Saturday night and Sunday, which is always our big weekend.

And race relations? Somebody said that they thought that the town was about thirty per
         cent Aboriginal now. Would that have been the case all the time that you’ve lived here and
         how do you think relations between the races have shifted or stayed the same? How would
         you define that?

Race Relations

         00:16:29:06    Ummm, what can I say? I think relationships have changed in the way that
         once upon a time, I think it was just that it was ‘them and us’. Now I think it doesn’t really
         matter too much and I think it’s because the Aboriginals are now living more like the
         whites, if I can say that without being racist. They’ve got to live in homes. They can’t live
         in humpies or in compounds, they’ve got to live in town, so the younger girls that are now
         twenty-five, etc. are saying ‘This is my house. This is my family’. It’s not all the uncles
         and aunts and things coming in from the properties and just dumping themselves in a house
         like they used to do years ago. And I think it’s what the government wanted. They wanted
         everyone to live like our ancestors. All be whites. You know, they keep their homes tidy.
         I mean, some of them trash them. Hey, that’ll happen with white, blacks, it doesn’t matter
June Jackson                                                                                          7

         what they are. And, to me, there’s no racism in the town. I mean, to be honest, I won’t
         have a barbeque and go and ask four or five Aboriginal families but then they really
         wouldn’t come and ask me either. Not because I’m white, it’s just because I’m not in their
         circle of friends, I think. I mean, Joe Blow across the road can have a barbeque and not
         ask me and I don’t think there’s a great deal of racism in this town that I know of. Talk to
         other people and perhaps they may say so but I think it’s more the Aboriginals with the
         Aboriginals that are having the problem, rather than the blacks and the whites. 00:17:53:10

What problems do you see in the Aboriginal community? What are you referring to,
         particularly, there?

Race Relations: Intersex

         00:18:27:12    As problems? I think one family, one clan family, might resent what the
         other family does. I think, for some reason or other, the tall poppy syndrome is really rife
         in Aboriginal families. They don’t like to see someone, or they don’t like to think that
         someone’s getting a bit above themselves. I have the situation where my son’s partner is
         an Aboriginal girl, not a black Aboriginal, but her parents are, you know, coloured, and
         she’s an Aboriginal. And I just see how different they are to how the Aboriginals are here.
         I mean, they live in Birdsville and down in Birdsville the whites and the blacks have been
         integrating for a lot longer than here. I think it’s only sort of two generations, even if it’s
         that long, that the Aboriginals and the whites have integrated here. Probably when I first
         came here, there were no white people and Aboriginals living together, but that has
         happened over the years and, you know, it’s just a common thing now. Nobody makes any
         comment about it.                                   00:19:38:22

Was that confronting for you, when your son had an Aboriginal partner?

00:19:43:12    Not for me. I mean, he could have gone with a Martian and I would have
         been happy. If he was happy, you know, that doesn’t worry me. To be honest, my
         husband is still having a big problem with it. I mean, she comes up here and he’s polite to
         her but he is polite, he’s not over-friendly, but that’s just him. He has this thing and, I
         mean, if he’d have come home with a Japanese girl it probably would have been a little bit
         the same, but most definitely because of an Aboriginal. But he’s happy and she’s a nice
         girl and I’ve got two beautiful grandchildren, so I’m not going to cut my nose off to spite
         my face, no way. And, as I said, you know, he is polite to her and she comes home and she
June Jackson                                                                                         8

         doesn’t have any problem with that. I think if he was downright rude, which I would be
         very surprised after all these years, my son wouldn’t bring her here for her peace of mind,
         but you know he brings her home and we’re just one big happy family when they’re here.

And does Native Title, has that been a source of great discussion amidst either white or
         black? I can remember the day I heard the Mabo judgement. I could tell you where I was
         and thinking ‘Wow, something big has shifted in this country’. But is that your view of it?
         Where does Native Title fit in?

Native Title

         00:21:07:18    Ahhh. I suppose because we only have a little block of land out there and
         when someone did look like wanting to say ‘My grandfather is buried on that’, I fought
         tooth and nail to find out where he was buried and obviously he’s buried in about six
         different places, wherever this lady wants to be able to say she wants to own. But we
         sorted that out and there was no Native Claim on that, nothing, but there’s a Native Claim,
         evidently, on a lot of the properties along this river here and I know a lot of the owners
         there are most unhappy. I really don’t know. I really can’t comment too much on it
         because you hear so many things and someone once said to me ‘If the Aboriginals would
         realise that there is going to be no dollar gain out of it, all the land claims would go away.
         It’s because they think they’ll end up millionaires’. But I don’t know. That was just one
         person’s comment and, to me, I really don’t know. I mean, I talk to Jos’s Mum and Dad
         about it and her father was one of the Stolen People.

Jos is your daughter-in-law?

Native Title/Women/Land

         00:22:24:20    Yeah. To me he says it’s not a big deal but I don’t know. Perhaps to his
         family he says it is a big deal. I don’t know. He says he probably wouldn’t be where he is
         today if he had been left with his family but, you know, people can say whatever they want
         to to somebody and then mean something else. I really don’t know. I mean, I get on well
         with them, so I have never sat down and said to them ‘You tell me about the fact that
         you’re a Stolen Generation’. I didn’t know that until his wife told me and I don’t think it’s
         my business unless he wants to bring it up. I mean, I go and stay in their home and she’s
         one of my best friends, so it’s like me having a problem with my mother and father. It’s
         none of her business so I think horses for courses, I think. I think it is causing a lot of
June Jackson                                                                                        9

         resentment where it needn’t necessarily be and myself, I feel that if the people who are
         standing up saying ‘I’m Aboriginal. I own this’ really sat down and thought about it, and
         thought ‘Well, this was a swampy ground. We lived off it. It gave us food, it gave us
         shelter in those days. It fed my parents and things. It doesn’t happen now’. You know,
         the world just keeps going on. You tell me how many races still live as their forefathers
         did, other than the African continent. You know, the world has just got to keep moving.

Does the government come out here or is there a lot of process put into kind of education
         or getting white and black in these towns to sit and talk to each other about what Native
         Title might mean?

00:24:18:20    There have been a few meetings, yeah. I went to two, I think. Ummm, I
         think the government does its best. I think it’s the do-gooders who probably do more
         harm. The people that live in the city, they may see the drunks on the corners, they may
         see houses destroyed. People will say, you know ‘Look at all these homeless Aboriginals’.
         Then you can come out here and see them living in these homes. You can walk into a
         home and find it’s been trashed by someone that’s lived here, whether it’s black or white.
         I don’t know. I just feel if it would go away, but it’s not going to go away. It’s just
         shuffled from one thing to another and it will probably be still around in fifty years’ time.
         I don’t know what the answer is, I don’t think anyone does.

Talking of fifty years. The future? What do you see in the future for yourself, June? This
         will be the last question and then we’ll stop.

00:25:16:22    Ummm, at some stage we will retire. We have some homes in Toowoomba.
         Ummm, I don’t want to give up work yet. I mean, I’m 56. I’ve just turned 56. I’d like to
         see myself still working in ten years’ time. Ray wants to retire now but he knows that I’m
         not prepared to do that so he’s prepared to stick it out, I think, probably for about five or
         six years, probably another five years. Each time another grandchild comes along, I’ll say
         ‘When it’s five, we’ll go’. And then he’s a little unhappy that he can’t play golf as much
         as he’d like but I think he’s prepared … he’s got his children here and, you know, his
         sister’s here, and we have a good life, have a good lifestyle. He goes away to play golf
         every now and then. He’s got a sister who lives in Toowoomba so if he really needs to
         play golf on grass greens, I say ‘Pack up and go for a month’. He’s gone for three weeks
         and then he’s back home again.           So I think it’s when you get to our age that
June Jackson                                                                                        10

         companionship, you’ve had someone for so long that, you know, if you’re gone for three
         weeks, you think ‘Oh, God, I’d better get home in case she’s not missing me’ or
         something. I mean, I’ll have a trip. I’ll go down to Birdsville for five days and see the
         grandkids there. Well, I’m pleased to come home after five days and get back into work.

That tradition of retiring away from the Channel Country seems to be really embedded.
         Why is that, do you reckon? Why will you retire to Toowoomba and not Boulia?


         00:26:44:16    Oh, I’d love to retire in Boulia. I’m going to be buried here, with my
         relations at Maxland there. I think it’s just something that, okay, you think you’ve done
         your time perhaps, so let’s go and live where there’s grass and things, and a lot of it is
         because the sons take over the properties so you don’t need Mum and Dad there telling you
         how they did it fifty years ago. I think it’s in self-defence that they move away, rather than
         have arguments with the children about how it should be run and, besides, you know,
         they’ve probably done their time. They’ve done it harder than people of my age and I
         think there’s a little bit of money so let Mum and Dad go and do the things that they want
         to do. As I said, I will probably stay here forever. If anything happened to Ray, I would
         most certainly be here, but we would probably go and spend three months of the year
         travelling around. Probably come back here and spend a month here and go back to
         Toowoomba or wherever we decide to retire. And it’s not that we want to get out of the
         place. It’s just that we feel, well, you know, we’ve spent such a lot of time here, let’s go
         and see something new. But I think we will always come back here.          00:28:02:18

Okay, that’s terrific. Thank you.

I didn’t tell you much about my mother-in-law. Do you want to talk to Ray about her?
         About the pub, or …?