The Block: Stories from a Meeting Place

Ali Golding, 71, is a respected Indigenous elder and proud Biripi woman who grew up on a mission in Taree, NSW. Here she talks about drugs and crime crept into the Block community in Redfern for the interactive documentary The Block: Stories from a Meeting Place.

She lived on the Block for 27 years and was an active member of the community. In the late 1970s, she first moved to 52 Eveleigh Street and later lived at 1 and 9 Vine Street, and at 35 Eveleigh Street.

In the mid-1980s she was one of the first Indigenous education assistants at Cleveland Street High School, now called Alexandria Park Community School, and worked there for five years.

In 2004, she graduated from Nungalinya College in Darwin with a Diploma of Theology.

Ali names the kookaburra as her totem animal because when she was living on Eveleigh St, one would appear at her balcony every day at 6am and 6pm; so regularly that she used its song as her alarm clock.

One morning, when the kookaburra didn’t appear, Ali slept in and missed her regular train. She later discovered that the train had derailed.

Ali has been an important contributor to many national and international forums, including the World Spirit Healing Conference in Canada, and has convened with many dignitaries including Nelson Mandela, Gough Whitlam and Queen Elizabeth II.

In 2010, she was named NAIDOC Female Elder of the Year. She is currently the Elder in Residence, in the Faculty of Medicine, at the University of New South Wales.

She and her English husband have had seven children, 23 grandchildren and one great-grandchild. They now live in Little Bay near La Perouse.