The Victorian Senior of the Year Awards acknowledge older Victorians who volunteer to assist, support and encourage others in their communities.
Held annually, these awards are a partnership between the Department of Health and Human Services and Council on the Ageing Victoria.
One of those acknowledged this year is Robert Lowe Senior. Robert is a Peek Whurrong Elder from Warrnambool who volunteers in the community as a relationship builder, role model and educator. In this video, Robert describes his volunteering in educating people about Aboriginal history in Warrnambool, and the cultural significance of Swan Reserve.
Robert Lowe Senior voiceover:
My name is Robert Lowe. I am a Peek Whurrong Elder, which just lies in the Marr nation. Our nation covers from South Australia right up to Colac - foothills of the Grampians.
The history here is very important that we get it out there because not many people know the stories.
One day, our younger son, Robert Junior, who works in education, he come and knock on the door and he said
Dad, I want you to come to the schools. I want you to tell the stories of our history. So, now, eleven years later, we’re still doing the same program.
Swan Reserve is certainly bigger. Before the reserve was there, there was an old site outside and when we were kids, coming off the mission, that’s what we called our little area. We couldn’t go anywhere else. So, we got in contact with Warrnambool Primary School and St Joseph Primary School and then the City Council purchased six poles. So, the poles were placed at one of the schools and both schools, on a weekly basis, got there and they did and told their stories and Aboriginal symbols. Now, those poles are in Swan Reserve but we needed to go further. So, we come up with an idea – not too many people know all the tribes in the area. So, it was a good help off a local quarry. They cut up some slabs for us. We got the names engraved in the slabs and we placed those stones in the ground and, I think, by understanding each other, we can achieve a lot. Those non-Indigenous and Indigenous and I think that proves within the last few years what we’ve achieved, say, once a site. I think with some of the sites in the area and the schools in the area, having knowledge of that, I think, yeah, our future is on a good path.