Winnie Quagliotti

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Winnifred Evelyn Quagliotti (née Terrick; traditional name Narrandjeri, known as Auntie Winnie; 1931 – 4 August 1988) was a Wurundjeri community leader. She was the great-great-niece of the Australian Aboriginal leader William Barak.

Early life

Quagliotti was born in 1931 on the Murray River between Koondrook, Victoria, and Barham, New South Wales.[1][2] Her father, William Terrick, was a truck driver[1] and shearer,[2] and her mother was Jessie née Wandin.[1] They had grown up at the Coranderrk Aboriginal Reserve near Healesville, before being moved to Lake Tyers Mission.[2] Quagliotti was one of ten children, and grew up in the Healesville area,[1] and in the Melbourne suburb of Collingwood.[1] She married Paul Quagliotti,[1][3][4] from Trieste, Italy.[2] She had two children of her own,[1] and fostered others.[5]

Community leader

In 1968, Quagliotti and her husband moved to Doveton, Victoria,[1][4] in the district of Dandenong. She felt that her children were old enough, and began working for the Aboriginal community.[2] In 1970, with her brother Johnny Terrick and Walda Blow,[4] she co-founded the organisation which in 1975 became the Dandenong & District Aborigines Co-operative Ltd.[1][6] Quagliotti served as its first chairperson[7] for thirteen years, until her death.[1][4] She was chairperson of a housing co-operative which helped to provide Aborigines with housing loans,[1] and was one of the founding members of the Aboriginal Housing Board of Victoria (now Aboriginal Housing Victoria),[5][8] serving as its chairperson in 1987–1988.[1][5][6] In that role, in 1987, she received the title deeds to the head office of the organisation, the first time an Aboriginal organisation had owned property in Victoria since Quagliotti's great-great-uncle William Barak had witnessed Wurundjeri elders signing Batman's Treaty in 1835, to sell their land to a white man.[5]

Quagliotti worked at two Aboriginal Hostels Ltd properties (Gunai Lodge and W. T. Onus Hostel) as a cook, cleaner and manager;[1][4][5] worked to set up the Burrai Child Care Centre, which also provided family support;[1][4][6] and helped establish an Aboriginal Family Aid Support Unit.[4][6] Quagliotti also served on the council of a secondary school for Aboriginal students at Healesville, Worawa Aboriginal College,[1] including as vice-president;[5] and was involved with Camp Jungai, a camp for Aboriginal children near Eildon, as a member and chair of the board.[1] She is quoted as saying, "I'm so proud to look at the little kids I nursed and see them in Aboriginal politics."[5]

She is also remembered for her protest against the tall ships at Melbourne during the Australian Bicentenary.[1][2][5][9] Wearing a possum-skin cloak[1][5] with emu feathers around the neck,[10] and with ash smeared on her face as a sign of mourning,[1][5] she threw a wreath of wattle flowers into the water at Princes Pier.[2]

In August 1988, she met with the federal Minister for Aboriginal Affairs, Gerry Hand, about Aboriginal land issues in Victoria,[1][5] including the ownership of Coranderrk Cemetery, Healesville. Shortly afterwards, she suffered a cerebral haemorrhage, and died in Heidelberg.[1][5] She was buried several metres outside Coranderrk Cemetery.[11][12][13] Her family's request to bury her inside the cemetery was refused by the cemetery management committee, on the grounds that the historic graves might be disturbed.[11][12] As a compromise, it was proposed to extend the cemetery boundaries to include the location of Quagliotti's grave,[11][12] and a nearby road was blocked in anticipation of the extension.[12] Six months after her burial, the block was removed and allegedly dumped on Quagliotti's grave.[12] Ownership of the Coranderrk Cemetery was finally passed to the Wurundjeri in September 1991.[13]

On Quagliotti's headstone are the words: "You know that I have some beautiful dreams. I urge you to start work on them as soon as possible. Pull yourselves together, stick together and get the job done."[13]

Recognition

Places in Victoria which were named in honour of Quagliotti after her death include the Burrai Child Care Centre (renamed); Narrandjeri House, the headquarters of Aboriginal Housing Victoria; and a conference room at Camp Jungai, called "Aunty Winnie's meeting place".[1] A street in the Canberra suburb of Bonner was named "Quagliotti Street" after her in 2010.[14]

References

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v McPaul, Christine. "Quagliotti, Winnifred Evelyn (Narrandjeri) (1931–1988)". Australian Dictionary of Biography. Australian National University. Retrieved 19 August 2019.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g Hutton, Barbara (22 January 1988). "A grief too great to join the party". The Age. Melbourne, Victoria. p. 13. Retrieved 25 August 2019.
  3. ^ "Family and friends pay tribute to Winnie Quagliotti". The Age. Melbourne, Victoria. 4 December 1990. p. 17. Retrieved 25 August 2019.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g NEILL, CASEY (29 September 2014). "Aunties honoured". Dandenong Star Journal. Dandenong, Victoria. Retrieved 25 August 2019.
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l West, Rosemary (10 August 1988). "Death of a leader". The Age. Melbourne, Victoria. p. 23. Retrieved 24 August 2019.
  6. ^ a b c d Kovacic, Leonarda; Henningham, Nikki (23 September 2004). "Quagliotti, Winnie (1932–1988)". The Australian Women's Register. National Foundation for Australian Women and The University of Melbourne. Retrieved 27 August 2019.
  7. ^ Carbines, Louise (15 February 1984). "After initial rejection, Stud Road neighbors start dropping in on a black co-operative". The Age. Melbourne, Victoria. p. 3. Retrieved 24 August 2019.
  8. ^ West, Rosemary (22 November 1984). "Blacks split over control of advancement league". The Age. Melbourne, Victoria. p. 17. Retrieved 25 August 2019.
  9. ^ Pirrie, Michael (1 January 1988). "Day for mourning, say tribal elders". The Age. Melbourne, Victoria. p. 2. Retrieved 24 August 2019.
  10. ^ "Immigration to Victoria: 1980s, Multiculturalism takes effect". Museums Victoria. Retrieved 27 August 2019.
  11. ^ a b c McNamara, Marie (10 August 1988). "Row over Aborigine's grave outside cemetery". The Age. Melbourne, Victoria. p. 3. Retrieved 25 August 2019.
  12. ^ a b c d e Schwartz, Larry (7 February 1989). "Final insult to the grave of a princess". The Sydney Morning Herald. Sydney, New South Wales. p. 6. Retrieved 25 August 2019.
  13. ^ a b c Button, James (6 September 1991). "Swap of axe for sacred site makes dream reality". The Age. Melbourne, Victoria. p. 5. Retrieved 25 August 2019.
  14. ^ "Public Place Names (Bonner) Determination 2010 (No 1)". ACT Legislation Register. Canberra, Australian Capital Territory. Retrieved 27 August 2019.
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