Raised by a single mother and her grandmother, Jayne Christian was not short of strong female role models growing up.
“Mum is like an older version of me, which is a bit scary,” Jayne admits, mentioning their shared love of 70's music.
But their connection goes deeper than Stevie Nicks.
Before she was born, Jayne’s mum and nan discovered their Aboriginal ancestry, and in Jayne’s childhood that line was traced to the Darug nation.
Today, Jayne and Julie help others become aware of their heritage and connect with their communities.
“I’m inspired by my mum because she throws all of herself into things, she’s really passionate about.”
“And recently in the last few years, she’s gone to university for the first time to pursue Indigenous studies. So that’s all been very new and scary for her, and she’s just embraced the whole thing,” she says.
Jayne describes her mum as ‘genuine’ and ‘respectful.’
“And she has a wicked sense of humour – even though she’s known to talk a bit too much,” she laughs.
But it’s her softer side that stands out.
Once on a road trip with her nan and mum to Toowoomba to see family, the three came across a three-legged turtle on the side of the road.
“None of us could leave it there,” Jayne remembers.
“So we put it in a box and my nan carried it on her lap all the way to Queensland.”
Once they arrived, her mum found a sanctuary which could look after the turtle they affectionately called ‘Lee.’
Jayne says they were all emotional ‘releasing’ the turtle.
“We got really attached to this turtle in the car!”
Raising her only child with her mother’s support, Julie says it was a close household growing up.
“It was always the three of us. If mum or Jayne couldn’t go, we wouldn’t go. We were the three stooges like that.”
“Jayne was just always there. Two steps in front of me or two steps behind,” she says.
Being a single mother who needed to work, she says having her mum there to help raise Jayne was a ‘blessing.’
Since then, Julie has watched Jayne grow up, complete two degrees and connect more to her Darug heritage. And she couldn’t be prouder.
“She’s determined, but she’s very, very ethical.”
“And she’s had to struggle through a lot and really work hard to get to where she is today.”
Going through so much together, Julie says being apart now is difficult.
Today Jayne lives in Sydney, while Julie has stayed in their hometown of Wagga Wagga.
“I really do miss her all the time,” Julie says.
“But I look at her now as an adult, and as a young woman who knows her own mind.”
“We’ve actually grown up together, if that makes sense. We’ve been through the bad stuff. We’ve been there for each other.”
Jayne is a Legal Aid solicitor, and Julie is completing her Bachelor of Arts degree at Charles Sturt University in Aboriginal Cultural Heritage. While they are far away from each other, they stay connected through a Facebook group they set up called "Darug People." Through it, they help Darug descendants connect with family, and learn more about their culture. They are also part of the Wagga Wagga 'Hands On' weaving group.