Bessie Bond, Dorothea Douglas and Rita Cobbo celebrating Naidoc Week in Cherbourg on July 10.
Bessie Bond, Dorothea Douglas and Rita Cobbo celebrating Naidoc Week in Cherbourg on July 10. Jessica McGrath

NAIDOC WEEK: Cherbourg elder shapes community

NAIDOC Week reminded Dorothea Douglas of her mother's dedication to the Cherbourg community.

"I'm really proud to be one of her daughters, I'm happy to be who I am because of her,” she said.

Cherbourg elder Bessie Bond was born in 1927 when Cherbourg was still called Barambah.

Ms Douglas was proud of the role model her mother was and how she helped shape the community.

"She's a proud mum, grandmother and great-grandmother,” she said.

"Because of her, we're here today.”

With countless grandchildren across a number of generations of her own, Ms Bond also helped raise other children from the community.

"When they don't have anywhere to go, I give them a bed and a feed,” Ms Bond said.

The 91-year-old enjoyed seeing the dances and songs at Cherbourg's Naidoc Week celebrations on Tuesday, July 10.

"It's good in a way to see everyone get together and be one,” Ms Bond said.

The dedicated elder has invested decades of work shaping the Aboriginal community.

She initially worked in the boys' and girls' dormitories, before taking up a position at the Cherbourg council when it was established.

Ms Bond was the first policewoman in Cherbourg and served on the committee at the shire's Catholic Church.

In her role as an elder, she also spent time visiting Cherbourg youth in jail.

"There were no deaths in custody since the elders have been visiting,” Ms Bond said.

Over nine decades Ms Bond has seen the community of Cherbourg grow to be very different.

Naidoc Week 2018 recognised the essential roles Indigenous women play in their communities as active and significant role models.

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