'If it wasn't for Sharon [Huebner], who breathed life into this story of my ancestor Bessy Flowers, it would have been like all the other historical achievements of Aboriginal people: documented, stamped and put in an archive where nobody can make contact with it.'
– Ezzard Flowers
About this video
Watch the second part of this journey of connection, as two families share their tales of discovery of their ancestor, Bessy Flowers, and the significance of reclaiming her history from the archive as an Indigenous story.
Ezzard Flowers talks about the long and heartfelt journey of taking Bessy's history out of the archives and bringing it to life.
In an open conversation with the audience, descendants of Bessy Flowers talk about their ancestor; the forced migration of the five mission girls from Albany, Western Australia, to Gippsland, Victoria, of whom Bessy's story is the only one documented; and the emotional journey of reconnecting with the story of their ancestor, Bessy Flowers, and going into Bessy's country.
This free event was held at State Library Victoria on 1 December 2016.
Image credit: Pictured (left to right) are Regina Wilkinson, Phyllis Andy, Flo Hood, Amy Hood and Betty Hood-Bryant at Bulla Miel (Bluff Knoll) in the Stirling Range, Western Australia, 2013, copyright Sharon Huebner.
This is the second in a two-part video. Watch part one of 'No longer a wandering spirit'.
- Ezzard Flowers is a Wirlomin Minang Noongar from the Great Southern region of Western Australia. He was born on the United Aborigines Mission Gnowangerup in 1958. Ezzard is connected to Bessy Flowers through his grandfather, Clifford Flowers. Since 2010, Ezzard has been collaborating with Bessy’s great-grandchildren descended from her eldest daughter Magdalene, and belonging to the families of Keith (Bessy’s grandson) and Esther Bryant to reclaim and enrich the memory of their ancestor as part of contemporary Wirlomin Minang Noongar and Koorie stories that fuse the past with the present.
- Phyllis Andy (Bryant) is Bessy Flowers' great-granddaughter from East Gippsland.
- Flo Hood is from East Gippsland.
- Regina Wilkinson (Bryant) is Bessy Flowers' great-grandaughter from East Gippsland.
- Margaret Bryant is from East Gippsland.
- Sharon Huebner is a writer and photographer. In 2014 she was a Library Creative Fellow and in 2015 she was the Hugh Williamson Fellow at the University of Melbourne Archivers. In her research, Sharon explored the historical biography of Minang Noongar (Western Australia) woman, Bessy Flowers. This research drew on collaborations with Bessy’s Wirlomin Minang Noongar kin and her Koorie descendants developed as part of Sharon’s doctoral project at the Monash Indigenous Centre – a memory project which explored questions of identity through contemporary methods of inquiry that provided support to Noongar and Koorie practices of kinship.