Ruth Ross

Ruth Ross was born in the 1940s and raised in Gayndah. One of eleven children (eight boys and three girls) her childhood was in some ways typical of the era for Aboriginal people. Times were always tough but fortunately her family lived together on Ruth's grandfather's country which was next-door to her grandmother's country.

In 1950, Ruth started school which was just before Gayndah's 'black school' closed down. She recalls her attendance during her first two years of schooling as irregular as she and her family lived out of town in a shed near where her father worked.

In Year 3, Ruth was able to attend school regularly and repeated her earlier lost years of schooling to catch up. She loved learning and was smart but left school in later primary to earn a wage working as a housemaid on a nearby pastoral station.

After growing up and raising her own family, Ruth decided she wanted to make good on her earlier love of learning and natural smarts and moved towns so she could be closer to university. In the mid-1990s Ruth gained her Bachelor of Arts.

Not long after completing her degree, Ruth took up the role of Community Education Counsellor to three high schools in Caboolture. During her 12 years of service she supported Indigenous students across the three schools from Years 8 to 12.

"If you do the numbers that's a lot of students and a lot of situations," she said.

Ruth says that a 'personal touch' is the key to making a difference in assisting young people, families and communities.

Despite an early life of lost opportunities, Ruth not only went on to complete a university degree and support our young people, but also made a difference, and is a strong advocate for her community.