Aunty Jane Harbour

Aunty Jane Harbour (nee Burns) was born under the Leichardt tree at Myra vale station in Normanton, which is now a sacred site.

The story from her grandmother and aunties is she was born prematurely, back then being premmie or born with a disability things were grim, her mother shunned her because of this and her grandmother became her main caregiver.

Aunty is the last of 11 children and the youngest, her bush name is Garbon after the brolga and her totem's the black cockatoo.

Aunty Jane recounts wonderful stories growing up with her grandparents and extended family; she explains as young girl lore meant she wasn't able to talk with her brother or grandpa directly.

When they went looking for food in the early morning's they'd go to the river, they had no fishing lines or bait but her grandmother showed her how to make a hook from barbed wire to catch fish.

She remembers feeling around under the paperbark trees for red claw (lobsters,) Aunty also mentioned her grandpa catching snakes for food and biting off their heads but she wasn't allowed to watch; or her brother bringing home fresh water muscles but she couldn't ' eat them - this was lore, though grandma could.

Aunty recalls when she was about 7 they used to collect magpie geese eggs, grandma would tell them to put leeches in the bottoms of the dilly bags as it attracted the magpie geese.

I found yarning with Aunty Jane invaluable her remarkable stories and her Kurtijar language she shared with me captivating, I could've listened all day. It's essential these stories are documented from our elders before they become lost forever.

We spoke about how different things were for her growing up, especially living traditionally and following her tribal customs.

Aunty Jane's grandson is Lord Mayor of Normanton, and the first Aboriginal person to hold that position, she's very proud of him. She wants young people to get a good education; she says, "We didn't even have the opportunity to go to school when I was young".

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