Roma Loo-Kickett, interviewed for the City of Cockburn Aboriginal Oral History Project (2005)

The City of Cockburn Aboriginal Oral History Project records and summarises the oral histories of eleven indigenous people with a custodial or cultural connection to the Cockburn district. This recorded interview of  Roma Loo-Kickett by Nikki Brannigan and Uta Eckhardt took place November 2005. Full audio and a summary below.


Summary of some of the subjects covered:

(Tape 1 — Side A)

  • Born on mission
  • Childhood moves and experiences of school
  • Move to Moora and experience of returning 2004
  • Family of 8 hide in bush to avoid children being taken
  • Taken by train to Roelands mission
  • Experience of mission
  • Happy memories of trips to beach
  • Memories of going to church
  • School and education
  • Missionaries and rules and guilt
  • Leaving mission, losing friends, and loneliness
  • Writing letter to parents
  • Finding parents
  • Getting a job and finding somewhere to live
  • Back to mission, sisters looking after each other
  • Work and racism outside
  • Coolbaroo Club
  • Looking for love; mission life and its ongoing impact on relationships and family
  • Parenting
  • Birth of children; Katanning Hospital had one ward “for natives only”
  • Children working and playing football

(Tape 1 – Side B)

  • Working Katanning, ironing, hospital, soft drink factory, hostel, meat works
  • Children, shyness and loneliness, mistrust of white people
  • Blaming white people, 1905 Aborigines act, policy of removal
  • Children growing up
  • Making friends with white people
  • Finding herself and knowing something was missing
  • Born in 1936 in Badjaling
  • Her family’s living conditions then, description of where they got their water.
  • Recalls being very sick as a little child, having the experience of “going to the other side”.
  • About her children, five sons and one daughter. How happy she is to have all of them. Roma’s view of the special relationship between women and their daughters.
  • Description of her time in the marriage, committed to looking after the children until they can look after themselves.
  • Tight finances in those days, especially around Christmas, difficulty to buy presents for the children. One time kindness extended by a local minister.
  • The separation from her husband, move to Coolbellup then Armadale.
  • Counselling at Manguri and how it helped the marriage. A period of getting back together and splitting up again.
  • Furthering her education at TAFE in Midland: normal school subjects and crafts. Also: TAFE Leederville, TAFE Rockingham: craft, painting.
  • There were deaths in the family at that time also Roma’s daughter’s fiancé. The good relationship with his family.

(Tape 2 — Side A)

  • Deaths in the family.
  • Studies at Fremantle TAFE: Roma, her cousin Liz and Liz’ husband, Noel Morrison, attended the Aboriginal Tourism course. Learning Nyungar names for plants. Enjoyed working with primary school children in Leda, Fremantle and other schools.
  • Move to Willagee and continued studies at Fremantle TAFE. Her English teacher Paul helped her research the 1905 Act. Relationship with white people.
  • Remembering Nyungar maths teacher Patina Jacobs, who went to Canada, then came home and got married later.
  • Travels with the Fremantle TAFE course participants to Albany, Bremer Bay, Esperance, Newman, Tom Price
  • Meeting with elders in Tom Price.
  • Stay in Coral bay in tents. Visiting TAFE in Carnarvon, welcome by a Nyungar band. Travel on to Geraldton
  • 1985 attended two-year-counselling course at Wasley Centre, Mt Lawley. Description of what made her strong. Met up with a girl from the mission at this course.