Uncle Murray Harrison

Uncle Murray knows that Bunjil (God) has been looking after him all his life because he has lived a full and rich life despite some significant challenges.

His people are the Wotjobaluk, from the Wimmera River area in north-west Victoria and he has boyhood memories of exploring the fields and grasslands of that area. After his mother died, Murray and his brothers and sisters spent time living with tribal family in Gippsland, hard-working people involved in saw milling and harvesting.

When he was 10, Uncle Murray and two of his sisters were forcibly taken from these family members to Melbourne and then onto the Ballarat orphanage. They became part of the Stolen Generations.

Ballarat became his lifelong home. He made friends at the orphanage, made steady progress through school and got involved with boxing and football. Finishing school at 14, he joined the railways, played football for East Ballarat and fell in love with Norma, a supporter of East Ballarat’s main rival, Golden Point.

Uncle Murray credits Norma with saving him from potential alcoholism and giving him strong purpose in his life. They married after he completed National Service, and now stand at the head of a strong and proud extended family.

Uncle Murray speaks with authority on the terrible impact the Stolen Generations period had on him and the broader Aboriginal community. A very positive turning point in his life was the public parliamentary apology to the Stolen Generations in 2008.

Now in happy retirement with Norma he spends a lot of time on community activity and particularly enjoys his time with Buninyong and Black Hill primary school students, playing his music and telling stories of the Dreamtime.

Life's greatest reward is the connections you make with people along the way, he says. And remember that no matter where you come from or what you do, you can get on with your life and be useful in the community.