The Block: Stories from a Meeting Place

Kaye Bellear, 67, is a retired nurse and political activist originally from Ballarat in Victoria. Here she tells us how she was instrumental in the establishment of the Block in Redfern for the interactive documentary The Block: Stories from a Meeting Place.

She met and married her husband Bob Bellear in Sydney in 1966. The couple was heavily involved with the Redfern ‘Black Power’ movement and helped set up various Aboriginal community-controlled organisations.

Bob helped to establish the Aboriginal Legal Service in 1970, and in the following year the couple took part in setting up the Aboriginal Medical Service.

Kaye began working at the now-defunct Rachael Forster Hospital in Redfern in 1971.

She developed a close friendship with Redfern priests Father Ted Kennedy and Father John Butcher - together they became the protectors of a group of homeless Indigenous alcoholics, known as “goomies”.

In 1972, when 15 goomies were arrested for occupying an abandoned house in Redfern, Kaye and Father John fought to get them released into their care and set about finding more-permanent housing.

In 1973, Bob began studying law at the University of New South Wales. He wrote a submission to Gordon Bryant and succeeded in getting a grant of $530,000 from the Whitlam government to buy and repair houses in Louis St for Aboriginal housing. This led to the creation of the Aboriginal Housing Company.

Kaye set up the Aboriginal Children’s Service in 1975, which was the first of its kind in Australia.

Bob went on to become Australia’s first Indigenous judge. He passed away in 2005.

Kaye currently lives in Bondi. She has three children and six grandchildren.