SBS Learn
20 Jan 2015 - 11:22 AM  UPDATED 29 Mar 2016 - 4:28 PM

Marcus, Allison and Jasmine arrive at Shane Phillips’ family home. For Marcus and Jasmine, this is the first time they have ever met an Aboriginal family. Over dinner, a discussion ensues about the safety of the Redfern area. Shane informs the participants about the action making positive changes for the community.

 "We have to create our own destiny and develop our own tools to do it."

Shane Phillips, CEO Tribal Warrior & Local Australian of the Year 2013

Meet Shane Phillips

An Indigenous entrepreneur, Shane is the full-time CEO of the Tribal Warrior Association. TWA is a non-profit organisation directed by Aboriginal people and elders that offers training for employment and helps at the grassroots level with emergency relief for struggling families.


  • Redfern is an inner-city suburb of Sydney.
  • Redfern has long been a meeting place for Aboriginal peoples. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people have gravitated to Redfern to make links to family and community.
  • The Block, a central part of the inner Sydney suburb of Redfern was considered the first land rights claim of its kind, it enabled the Indigenous Australians of Redfern the ability to develop their community.
  • Redfern is an inner city community known for its cultural, ethnic and economic diversity.
  • Redfern has a working class history due to its proximity to the railway line and factories. Today given it’s close location to the University of Sydney there are also many professionals, students and academics who live in Redfern.

Just like Jasmine, this is the first time Marcus has ever met an Aboriginal family.

Marcus: “Right now I’m studying at Uni. It’s only four hours a week. Other than that I’m surfing and working a little bit, and hanging out with friends.”

Marcus Solomon lives with his girlfriend’s parents who live on Sydney’s Northern Beaches. He believes his sheltered life means he’s never had the chance to meet Aboriginal people. Something he wants to change.

Marcus: “I really want to see what Aboriginal life is like first-hand because I think it will be completely different to this area, the people around here, and how I’m living.”

Marcus: “For me, I can’t live in this perfect bubble the whole of my life. I feel like I’m definitely a blank slate and heading into something that will completely scribble all over that.”

Marcus: “Like, I’ve always thought of Redfern as a kind of unsafe area. And yeah, not always sure if people from the Northern Beaches want to go over there and spend the night there ’cause they are just worried about getting mugged or something.”

Shane: “There was a time when it was like that but the whole community got together and we chose to be the solution and change things. In a generation some of these kids…the doctors, and they could be the lawyers and police officers and pilots from this area. That’s what we’re thinking. And for a long time we were shackled by our own perception of ourselves. If we look at crime stats, of top places, we are way down below. We are no longer in the place where we were. In fact the opposite is, the Northern Beaches is one of the highest ones.”

Marcus: “Oh no. Shame. Shame on us. Now I know where to bring up my kids.”


Resources and related content

Click here for teachers notes and resources.

Related content

Learn about the history of Redfern on SBS’s The Block website:

Watch an interview with Shane Phillips talking about the importance of Redfern in urban Aboriginal history andits place for future generations.

Discover truths about education, employment, health and voting relating to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples.