‘Two Cultures, One Story’, an Aboriginal Elder’s memoir

08 Jul 2021

By Contributor

“Two Cultures, One Story” it is the account of a life full of compassion, faith, integrity, and hard work written as the memoir of highly respected Bibilmum Noongar Elder Dr Robert Isaacs AM. Photo: Sourced.

An Aboriginal Elder’s memoir bridges the cultural divide between black and white Australia,

celebrating the talent and diversity of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander voices through the publication of quality literature.

Part tale of survival against the odds, part political odyssey, Two Cultures, One Story is the memoir of highly respected Bibilmum Noongar Elder, Dr Robert Isaacs AM.

Released on 1 March 2021, Two Cultures, One Story is the account of a life full of compassion, faith, integrity, and hard work.

The book was written by Tanaz Byramji in collaboration with Dr Robert Isaacs.

A member of the Stolen Generation and a proud West Australian, Robert spent his entire young life in institutions before rising through the ranks of the Public Service to become one of Australia’s most inspiring leaders.

He has dedicated his life to breaking down cultural barriers and improving the lives of disadvantaged people.

His challenging beginnings makes his life achievements and faith all the more impressive.

“I grew up not knowing I was Aboriginal – but I was always determined to rise above my circumstances and do my best to make a difference, to attempt to break the cycle of poverty and disadvantage I saw around me from an early age. Everything I’ve achieved or fought for has been for the betterment of my people.”

“When I left Clontarf Boys’ Town I didn’t know what I was going to do next, but I knew that whatever it would be, it would be on my own terms. I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do, but I wanted to give back to the community in some way.”

Robert dedicated his life to breaking down cultural barriers and bridging the divide between black and white Australia. Over his long career in local government, he successfully introduced innovative policies and programmes in Aboriginal Affairs, Housing, Health, homeownership, and Education.

In addition to holding senior roles and board appointments in each of these areas, he has contributed to the community as a Justice of the Peace, Ambassador for the Office of the Commissioner for Children and Young People, and many other volunteer roles.

Rachel Bin Salleh, Magabala Books Publisher, said what Dr Robert Isaacs AM has achieved will reverberate for generations to come.

“It has been humbling to publish this inspiring book,” Ms Bin Salleh said.

Career highlights include: establishing the first Aboriginal Medical Service and associated dental, rehabilitation and health care clinics; negotiating the first land use and mining royalties arrangement; improving relations between Aboriginal people and the justice system; assisting in establishing Clontarf Aboriginal College; and leading ground-breaking housing initiatives.

Robert has been the recipient of numerous awards, including Member of the Order of Australia (AM) on the Queen’s Birthday Honours List (2016), NAIDOC Male Elder (2016), West Australian of the Year (2015), Freeman to the City of Gosnells (2015), and the Centenary Medal (2000).

He now continues his community work through board appointments, ambassadorships, his work as a Justice of the Peace and speaking engagements.

Available now in all good bookshops and online from Magabala Books – RRP $24.99.