Talgium Edwards is a proud Taungurung man, an Elder in his community, and member of the Stolen Generation.
Talgium and his five siblings were living with their mother on the banks of the Goulburn River near Shepparton when he was convicted of vagrancy and deemed a child in need of care. He was seven years old. He was taken away and placed in an orphanage in Ballarat.
My mother didn’t know where they took us. She found us in Ballarat in 1956. She was always hardworking and always fought for her children, but we were moved around different institutions. Talgium has hazy recollections of his early years, and trauma and separation are enduring themes in a life ruptured by orphanages, stints in prison – and institutional racism.
I wasn’t a bad fella, but I got into trouble for things I didn’t do. Things like vagrancy, insufficient means, being an accessory. He’s also had a life of adventure, with time in the merchant navy sailing the world, as well as on container runs between Melbourne and Tasmania around the Australian coast.
I went ashore at Cape Town, I’ve seen apartheid, crossed the equator and went to England and Europe.
Music is an abiding love for Talgium, and he doesn’t need an excuse to break into the songs of storytellers like Tom Waits or Kris Kristofferson. He also works as DJ Talgium 2 Time on 3KND, Melbourne’s first Indigenous owned and managed radio station. You can hear him on 1503 AM on Fridays from 2pm to 4pm.
His secret to living a good life is staying close to family and community, and keeping fit and healthy.
I’m Stolen Generation, he says.
I haven’t ceded my sovereignty. I’m here by the grace of the Great Spirit to go out each day and do the best I can.