Young Mob – Transcript
This week Insight is coming to you from Alice Springs. A lot is said about this place and it is usually adults doing the talking, tonight in a series of interviews Jenny Brockie will talk with Aboriginal teenagers and they have plenty to say.
TERAZITA: My family, we’re from here – Alice Springs – we’re Central Arunda people from here. I live with my mum and dad. I’ve a lot of cousins, about 14 cousins as in my mum’s brothers’ and a sisters’ kids. And yeah, it’s a big family that keeps me happy and really supportive to me.
JENNY BROCKIE: Have you always lived with mum and dad?
TERAZITA: Yeah, always, like sometimes I stay with nana, yeah, sometimes.
JENNY BROCKIE: Why do you stay with nana sometimes?
TERAZITA: Just to have a bit of break from mum and dad sometimes.
JENNY BROCKIE: You’ve just moved to Perth for a while, haven’t you?
JENNY BROCKIE: Why?
TERAZITA: I moved to Perth because, also to live in another city and like just to make new friends and because I don’t think Alice Springs is a good, like it is home for me but it isn’t a good environment for me to study and like to focus on my education to finish school.
JENNY BROCKIE: Why is Alice Springs not a good place to study?
TERAZITA: Well you get a lot of peer pressure and like family violence sometimes. Back with the community where I used to live at, like there used to be a lot of fights and it was like everywhere you go – fighting and all to do with alcohol. I remember yeah, it was scary, like especially seeing family fight. It was sad.
JENNY BROCKIE: Hmmmm. There was a big fight in your family a while ago, wasn’t there?
JENNY BROCKIE: Can you tell me about that, about what happened?
TERAZITA: Well like I don’t really want to say too much about it but it was just my family against another family and things just got out of hand. Like that was probably one of the most scary things that I have ever had in my life. I was only 14 at the time and it was scary going through like what I had to go through and seeing what my family had to go through, yeah.
JENNY BROCKIE: So can you tell me a little bit about what happened or you don’t want to?
TERAZITA: Um, well my mum and dad, like went into gaol for a while from what happened and yeah, that was, I was staying with my nan at the time. She was a good support to me when my mum and my dad were in there.
JENNY BROCKIE: Were people drunk?
TERAZITA: Pretty much, yeah, some were, yeah.
JENNY BROCKIE: Do you fight?
TERAZITA: Yeah, yep, I’ve been in a couple of fights.
JENNY BROCKIE: And why do you fight?
TERAZITA: I don’t know, I guess like sometimes things are just said too fast, you react too quick to it which is what happened to me but I took anger management classes to help me because I had a pretty quick temper back in boarding school.
JENNY BROCKIE: What did anger management teach you?
TERAZITA: Well, when in the anger management class they said to me to put a lucky band on my wrist. Every time I get angry I flick it and I just feel that pain – like usually what I do when someone makes me angry – I walk away, like breathe in and out, take deep breaths and yeah, just try and be cool.
JESSE: Um, I live here in Alice Springs, I live with my auntie and it’s just us two.
JENNY BROCKIE: And do you stay there all the time with your auntie?
JENNY BROCKIE: And why are you living with your auntie?
JESSE: Oh, well my dad stayed with her and I moved in with him and then, yeah, then once my dad just left I just, yeah, stayed with her and just stay with her now.
JENNY BROCKIE: And when did your dad go?
JESSE: He left about six months ago, almost a year ago actually.
JENNY BROCKIE: And what about mum?
JESSE: Um, I haven’t seen mum for almost two years now.
JENNY BROCKIE: And how do you get on with her?
JESSE: Um yeah, I get along pretty good with my mother but we don’t really keep in contact really. But um, when we do, it’s just like really long conversations and stuff.
JENNY BROCKIE: And why don’t you keep in contact much?
JESSE: Oh, well mum doesn’t really have my phone number and like and she doesn’t really go on to like internet and stuff.
JENNY BROCKIE: How do you get on with your auntie?
JESSE: Oh, pretty good, like pretty, we see things the same and, and just kind of listen to each other and, yeah, and just do all the things the same.
JENNY BROCKIE: Do you get in many fights?
TREVOR: Yeah, I do, probably like four fights probably, four fights a month or so, but it used to be like a lot of fights back then when I was about 14 or so.
JENNY BROCKIE: And what are those fights about usually? TREVOR: I don’t know, people just jealous of us. Like mainly all them darker Aboriginals like jealous of us, like half caste creamy kids so yeah, they just like start on us and stuff because they think like, yeah, just pansies or something.
JENNY BROCKIE: And how often do you get hurt, like really hurt, in those fights?
TREVOR: Not often.
JENNY BROCKIE: How often do other people get hurt by you in those fights?
TREVOR: I don’t know, just try not to hurt anyone much but yeah, I sort of do get hurt but no, not that much.
JENNY BROCKIE: You were in a fight recently. What happened to you?
TREVOR: Oh cut, just scraped the bottom of my foot off, the skin, because I had no shoes on when I was fighting and it was on the bitumen, the road, so yeah, he hit me and then like I twisted and scraped my foot open and so, yeah, I couldn’t walk properly. So his uncle come along with a stick and tried to chase me so I just kept running and made it worser.
JENNY BROCKIE: When did that happen?
TREVOR: Probably on four days ago, four, five days ago.
JENNY BROCKIE: And what was that fight about?
TREVOR: Because my mate had a fight with his little brother, so he just wanted to fight us, but yeah, I stood in front of him and, yeah, we had a fight.
JENNY BROCKIE: Everyone here talks about the fighting all the time as though it’s really normal. Is it really normal?
RHIANNON: Yeah, girls fight about boys. Boys fight about girls. Girls are just like grabbing each other’s hair, punch each other on the face, roll around on the ground. They get full into it. But the boys like put their fists up and they like actually fight.
JENNY BROCKIE: And do people get really seriously hurt?
RHIANNON: Yeah, one girl she got cut on the eye and her eye went down like that and she had to go to hospital for it. She got plates in her eye and stuff. It’s really dangerous.
JENNY BROCKIE: Do you get in fights?
JENNY BROCKIE: Tell me about the house? How many people live in your house?
RHIANNON: Just me, my mum and Kyle at the moment. Me and Kyle don’t get along that well.
JENNY BROCKIE: Why?
RHIANNON: We always argue about the smallest things. Like, if he doesn’t let me use the cream we have a big argument.
JENNY BROCKIE: What cream?
JENNY BROCKIE: You fight over moisturiser with your brother?
RHIANNON: Yeah, we have our individual ones now because he claims all of the creams in the house.
JENNY BROCKIE: That’s interests.
RHIANNON: We always fight. We get along a bit better now I guess, now that he’s a bit older maybe. We argue less though.
JENNY BROCKIE: Uh-huh. And what about mum? How do you get on with mum?
RHIANNON: Me and her are like best friends – I can tell her anything. She can tell me anything and I won’t tell nobody, we’re like we are best friends.
KYLE: When I was in Year – primary school I run a muck – and that pretty much means I didn’t listen and I done my own things my own way. And when my brother had his accident I kind of snapped out of it.
JENNY BROCKIE: Tell me about your brother’s accident. What happened?
KYLE: My cousin and my brother, they were drinking together. He grabbed a shovel and they were fighting and my brother got hit over the head with a shovel, but he got back up and he was alright. But they kept ongoing and then he hit him again. And then he fell over and he hit his head on the wall and he kind of broke it, because it was one of them hollow ones, he broke it with his head. And then them to, he got back up and was stumbling around but was still alright. They started having a go again and then my brother fell on a tree stump. When he fell on the tree, he jumped on top of ’em and broke his neck.
JENNY BROCKIE: And you saw all of this?
JENNY BROCKIE: So your mum wasn’t there when this happened?
KYLE: She wasn’t there. When she came home – because my mum knows Joel when he’s drunk or something’s wrong, and then she knew something was wrong and wasn’t right. So then we went to the hospital. They said he had a broken neck. I think what was pretty hard was he died three times bur t somehow they revived them three times as well. Like, he was in IC in the hospital. But somehow his heart started beating again. And then when he was in the plane, just about landing, he died again. And then when he was in Adelaide in ICU his lungs collapsed. And then that’s when I went and seen him, it was kind of hard for me because, like, I seen all of the wires up his arms and the tube down his throat and everything. It’s pretty hard.
JENNY BROCKIE: Uh-huh.
KYLE: And like it was just pretty tough.
JENNY BROCKIE: And he’s in a wheelchair?
KYLE: Yeah, for life.
JENNY BROCKIE: He’s paraplegic?
KYLE: Yeah. All he can do is lift his arms – so no movement from the neck down besides his arms. So, yeah.
RHIANNON: I don’t think I’d change the accident. Like, I know that it was really hard to go through but it changed Joel as well. Like, because he was like going down a bad road, he was like an alcoholic. When he got in that chair he changed himself. But I would change him so he could walk again and fix all of his body and make him healthy as a horse and stuff but. Kyle had like a big meltdown, like, big wreck. He couldn’t deal with it.
JENNY BROCKIE: In what sort of way?
RHIANNON: Like Kyle when we first got there – he just dropped to the ground, he was like crying and he was upset. I was sad but I dealt with it pretty good I reckon.
JENNY BROCKIE: How old were you when that happened?
KYLE: Nine, ten. And the thing was, in the same year, like, my first cousin he had an accident and he passed away.
JENNY BROCKIE: What sort of an accident, Kyle?
KYLE: He had a car crash and then he just lost control and he got like wrapped around a tree. And, yeah, so, he passed away. That was pretty hard. Pop passed away in the same year and my aunt, my nana, all of that, in one year.
JENNY BROCKIE: That’s a lot to deal with when you’re nine, yeah.
KYLE: It’s pretty hard.
JENNY BROCKIE: Uh-huh. You were saying before that when you were little you used to run amuck a bit until that happened. How did that change you, do you think when you were nine? What impact did it have on you?
KYLE: I’m just like – I thought to myself – if I keep running amuck like that and I keep being naughty. And I said to myself, “If I keep going down this road I might end up like my brothers, I might end up going doneys or going like pass way, do something bad and get locked up.” Something like that, so I said, “I’m going to stop and be a good boy and just be good and that’s when I won that award.” I got Chief Minister’s Literacy Award Achievement.
JENNY BROCKIE: You won that when, in 2011?
KYLE: Yeah, I got most improved in NT.
JENNY BROCKIE: How did you feel when you got that?
KYLE: Speechless. I didn’t know what to say.
JENNY BROCKIE: Now, you won that award for a specific reason.
KYLE: When I was in Year eight my aunt was my teacher. At the start she gave me a reading test and I was below average of a 6-year-old, so I couldn’t read that well. And then within about three-four months of reading and practising, she tried to give me the same book back that I read and struggled with. I said, “Aunt, this is too easy.” She gave me another one probably Grade seven. I said this was too easy and so I chose one myself and said, “I want to read this one.” When I was reading it, I read one page and then she just looked at me, she covered her hands over her mouth and she started crying because my average reading level went from a 6-year-old to Year 10.
JENNY BROCKIE: How do you get on with dad?
NOEL: Yeah, good. As I was growing up it wasn’t so good. Yeah, but now, yeah.
JENNY BROCKIE: How come you didn’t get on so well with dad when you were younger?
NOEL: I was sort of knocked around with the wrong crowd, I got into trouble a lot and after a while realised what was right from wrong and he sort of told me all of the way, “You shouldn’t hang around with fellows like that and do these things.”
JENNY BROCKIE: So what sort of trouble were you getting into?
NOEL: I was stealing.
JENNY BROCKIE: How old were you when you were doing that?
NOEL: 14 to 15 – on my 15th birthday I got sent to a detention centre. And ever since then I’ve never been back, I didn’t like it one bit.
JENNY BROCKIE: Where was the detention centre?
JENNY BROCKIE: So a long way from home?
JENNY BROCKIE: And what was it like in the detention centre? How long were you there – three months?
NOEL: Yeah, and it felt like ages. Everybody just was lost in there.
JENNY BROCKIE: What do you mean?
NOEL: They didn’t know what they wanted to do with their lives and where they was going to be. All they seen was the big house across the road, the jail. And they just sort of looked up to them fellows. As soon as I got out of there – they were straight back in and I didn’t want to do that because I knew I had my family support and my family loved me.
JENNY BROCKIE: So how did you feel during those three months when you were in there?
NOEL: Just lonely. Home sick a lot and yeah once I was out of there – I didn’t want to go back and turn my life around so I did.
JENNY BROCKIE: So was that a bit of a turning point for you?
NOEL: Yeah, like I went back to school straightaway. Some of them fellows were still at school and sometimes I’d get drift away with them and, yeah. I’d go doing things. But then after a while, I did just completely stop hanging around them.
JENNY BROCKIE: What made you stop? Was there something that helped you to stop?
NOEL: Well when I started coming – it wasn’t from middle school or nothing but when I got into Year 10 and I met the teachers here and, yeah, my teacher Lucy, she was a good support, she was right there telling me like good stuff.
JENNY BROCKIE: Yeah. Well, I saw your report card, your dad was very proud to show me the report card. You got all As and Bs yeah?
NOEL: That was since Year 10 when I started pulling my head in.
JENNY BROCKIE: And what about mum? What happened to mum?
NOEL: She had a heart problem when I was six. When I turned six she passed. Uh-huh. Yeah, that was a hard time but as I was so young I didn’t realise how much pain and how much my dad suffered and just sort of stressed him out for a long time and took him a while to get over it. As a single parent, it was hard growing up with two kids. So I sort of in a way, that’s when I started going off the track and doing the wrong things, hanging around with the wrong people. Sometimes I had to find my own way to footy training and if I’d come late home or something dad would growl. Just didn’t realise what he was going through.
JENNY BROCKIE: So he was really deeply affected by it?
NOEL: Yeah. On top of that, he took seizures and only he did take them, me and my sister had to like know the physician and how to control it and then ring the ambulance. We took that on at a young age.
JENNY BROCKIE: How old were you when you were doing that sort of thing?
NOEL: Seven to ten, yeah.
JENNY BROCKIE: Some of the kids talk about being creamy. What does that mean?
JESSE: Skin colour, you know. Like me, I’m kind of like Carmel colour. One of the boys called me white coconut because I’m creamy and because I’m half cast.
JENNY BROCKIE: So this is Aboriginal kids saying this? Yeah. Does that happen much?
JESSE: This is the first time that I’ve been called coconut or, you know, or white mutt and everything like that. But one of the kids, he called me all of those names and everything like that. But, you know, didn’t really fuss me all until he threatened a girl. So, like, and this girl you know I’ve gone out with her, you know, our friendship’s pretty strong – we’re best friends.
JENNY BROCKIE: Why did he threaten her? What about?
JESSE: Oh, well she, all she said first was, you know, just stop it and then he’s like shut up or else I’ll go there and punch your head in. No need, come on, you’re a bloke threatening a young woman.
JENNY BROCKIE: So there’s lots of fighting here?
JESSE: Over this past few years there’s been a lot of fights.
JENNY BROCKIE: Are there people around you that you feel believe in you?
TREVOR: Sort of. Not really. Well, most teachers try to believe in me and that, so, yeah.
JENNY BROCKIE: What about family, do they believe in you?
TREVOR: My mum does. I’m not pretty sure about dad. He thinks I’m going down the wrong track and everything.
JENNY BROCKIE: Do you think you’re going down the wrong track?
TREVOR: Sort of, yeah. Yeah, I do actually.
JENNY BROCKIE: So what would get you on the right track?
TREVOR: Probably a whole new different scenery. The people in this town are just getting me like they’re wrong and that. If I’d better friends and probably it would be easier.
JENNY BROCKIE: What sort of things do you think could stop you from doing what you want to do? Like, what are the things that you think would get in the way of that?
TREVOR: Friends. Yeah. I strongly believe in friends.
JENNY BROCKIE: Would stop you?
JENNY BROCKIE: How would they stop you?
TREVOR: I don’t know, it’s just like they influence me in a way to do so stuff. If they want to do something they’ll convince me to come with them and stuff. Yeah.
JENNY BROCKIE: Do you ever say no?
TREVOR: It’s kind of hard to when they put all like guilt on you and stuff like, “So you’re not my butter boy anymore, you don’t want to be my mate or anything” they’ll put it over you and stuff and you kind of have to.
JENNY BROCKIE: Have you been in trouble with the law?
JESSE: No, no, not really. Yeah, I’m not really that kind of person to kind of go and do stupid things like break into houses and steal stuff like that.
JENNY BROCKIE: But you have friends who do that?
JESSE: Yeah. But whenever I’m around them I kind of just kind of just shut myself out of the group and go and hang out with other people who I feel comfortable around.
JENNY BROCKIE: So when you say you really mucked up at school. What sort of things did you do?
JESSE: Like, I skipped a lot of classes, I disrespected my teachers, I gave my family a bad name, I made myself look like an idiot.
JENNY BROCKIE: Why did you do that?
JESSE: I was kind of – at that time my pop, he’d passed away. I was pretty upset and then when I was at school I kind of took advantage of that and just kind of went AWOL.
JENNY BROCKIE: Tell me how you started drinking? How you started drinking the first time.
JESSE: I would have to say it’s kind of just my mother just said, “If you want to, you can have some as long as you just go slow” and then that happened.
JENNY BROCKIE: How old were you then?
JESSE: I was 14 turning 15 and at the time I thought, you know, I was a big hero and thinking I was, you know, a big kid drinking. And then, yeah, just one night mum just said, “Yeah, you can try this. Just try different things.” and then I went over the limit and just…
JENNY BROCKIE: So how much did you drink that first time?
JESSE: That first time I only had, like, a sip. Well maybe two or three sips and that was it and then the second time my mum just said, “Oh, you can have a little bit more as long as you can take it” and then after that, just kind of built up and built up and built up. And then on Christmas Day that’s when I had my first and then on New Year’s Eve mum just said I could go out with a couple of people – I only had one bottle like of Smirnoff and that was it. And then on my birthday mum said I could get as drunk as I want and I just thought oh, yeah why not, I’m 15, I’m not around my aunt, my father, my mother and she let’s me do whatever I can do. And my attitude changed and you know, I got really drunk, passed out and yeah it didn’t really go well. I was kind of just spewing up everywhere. And I finished. I finished one big bottle of Scotch and drooled a few yaeger bombs and some other stuff.
JENNY BROCKIE: So do you still drink now?
JESSE: No way. If I did, I would get in a lot of trouble.
JENNY BROCKIE: Is it hard to stay out of trouble here?
JESSE: Very much. It’s very hard you know.
JENNY BROCKIE: Why is it hard?
JESSE: Well I’ve got friends who do good things, I’ve got friends who do bad things, you know, so sometimes I’m with the wrong people at the wrong time, with the bad people where they do, you know, stupid things like break in. When they do that I take off, I don’t want anything to do with them, you know, I just take off. I got asked if I wanted to go here and go there, 2 o’clock in the morning, you know, my auntie sees me, she’ll get out of the car, she’ll punch me.
JENNY BROCKIE: She’ll punch you?
JESSE: Yeah, you know, she, she’ll tell me to get in the car and go home. You know, she’s very strict, you know. I know she’ll hit me because I know what she’s like, she’s done it before, you know? That’s
how they were brought up. My aunties, my uncles, they were all brought up fighting each other. My dad, you know, when my dad and my aunties were younger, you know, they’d always fight each other. You know, boy against girl, girl against girl, boy against boy, they’d fight, you know?
JENNY BROCKIE: Do you think you’ll do that when you’re older with kids?
JESSE: No, no way, no way. You know, I respect, I respect people, I respect women most of all.
JENNY BROCKIE: What about alcohol, what about drinking, is there much drinking in the family?
KYLE: Well, besides my mum and my dad, yes, there’s a lot. Well, that’s, like they think it’s helping them stress less but it’s not, it’s just making it worse. But like you can’t tell someone if they’re drinking, you can’t tell them, they’re always right. They’re, like you try to help them out – but no, you can’t because they’re supposed to be right. But there’s a fair bit of drinking that happens.
JENNY BROCKIE: Do you drink?
KYLE: No, never have, never will. I don’t want to.
JENNY BROCKIE: Other drugs, have you tried other drugs?
KYLE: No, I don’t want to.
JENNY BROCKIE: Was there much alcohol around you when you were growing up, when you were littler?
TREVOR: Yes, not all the time, but yeah, there was, yeah.
JENNY BROCKIE: When did you first try alcohol? How old would you have been?
TREVOR: Probably 14, 13.
JENNY BROCKIE: How much would you drink?
TREVOR: Probably every fortnight or so.
JENNY BROCKIE: And how much each time, like what sort of amount?
TREVOR: Probably share a 30 pack with a mate or so.
JENNY BROCKIE: A 30 pack of what?
TREVOR: Probably either Jim Beam or Jack Daniels.
JENNY BROCKIE: So what – like mixers?
TREVOR: Yeah, pre-mixed.
JENNY BROCKIE: So 30-pack between two of you?
TREVOR: Two or three of us. Yeah.
JENNY BROCKIE: Do you still drink like that?
TREVOR: Not really. I’m slowing down.
JENNY BROCKIE: What were you like when you drank like that?
TREVOR: I don’t know, a bit wild. Yeah. Uncontrollable.
JENNY BROCKIE: Have you tried alcohol?
JENNY BROCKIE: How old were you when you tried it?
TERAZITA: That was like last year.
JENNY BROCKIE: Last year?
JENNY BROCKIE: Do you drink at all now?
JENNY BROCKIE: Have you ever talked to your family about things like alcohol and violence?
TERAZITA: Not really. No. Oh, like I speak to my mum. My mum gets into arguments like mum and dad. I speak to both of them about it but sometimes I feel like I’m talking to myself.
JENNY BROCKIE: Why do you feel like you’re talking to yourself?
TERAZITA: Because like I try and tell them how I feel about them, not only my mum and dad but like all of my family members. And I tell them how I feel about them drinking and how if affects somebody being sober and seeing how they act when they’re drunk, which isn’t really a good thing to see.
JENNY BROCKIE: Yeah. And do they listen to you do you think?
TERAZITA: I don’t think so.
JENNY BROCKIE: You don’t think so. So it sounds like you try to reach people about these things a bit?
JENNY BROCKIE: Who do you talk to about your problems?
TERAZITA: I talk to my nana. I talk to my best friend Tyler. I talk to a counsellor that I used to go to Head Space to talk to my counsellor and my aunts and my mum’s sisters.
JENNY BROCKIE: Do you feel supported emotionally?
TERAZITA: No. Like, some of the things I used to. I don’t think I’ve huge support.
JENNY BROCKIE: What sort of things don’t you feel supported about?
TERAZITA: Sometimes I feel when I tell somebody something like they don’t really quite understand. I feel they don’t understand where I’m coming from, what I’m trying to tell them. Because, like, I’ve had problems like family problems and I spoke to the police about it. And the police I thought they didn’t really do anything about it, which they should have.
JENNY BROCKIE: Do you want to talk about that a little bit? About what that was about?
TERAZITA: Oh, well like, I used to get hit from my mum, you know, not really badly but, like, just like it just hurt me, I used to cry. And I tried to talk to the police about it like for me to go and stay with somebody. Or go somewhere and stay in town. But…
JENNY BROCKIE: Are you OK?
JENNY BROCKIE: You tried to talk to them about helping you?
JENNY BROCKIE: And did they help you?
TERAZITA: Not really. But I just want to stay with my grandma. And all they said was like, “Someone…”
JENNY BROCKIE: Do you want to stop for a little while?
JENNY BROCKIE: OK. So how do you feel about talking a little more about it? Do you want to or not?
TERAZITA: Yeah. I’d like to.
JENNY BROCKIE: You’d like to? OK. OK. So how long ago did all of this happen?
TERAZITA: Two years ago. Uh-huh.
JENNY BROCKIE: And you went to stay with your nana because you felt safer staying with nana?
TERAZITA: I guess, like, every teenagers have like the point where they like want to have a say but like some people think it’s back answering so you kind of get in trouble.
JENNY BROCKIE: So you were in conflict, you were having real conflict?
JENNY BROCKIE: And when you say that you didn’t feel that you had support about that, you didn’t feel you had support anywhere?
TERAZITA: Yeah, like, my nana, she supported me. But like I tried to go see Head Space, they didn’t really, well, they did support me but like they kind of, I just felt that they didn’t understand what I was trying to say.
JENNY BROCKIE: And what were you trying to say?
TERAZITA: What can I do to help myself. You know, with the problem.
JENNY BROCKIE: I’m interested in this story, because you talk about having changed and how you wanted to change and like when you were younger. Why are you on home detention?
NOEL: Two years back, me and a few of my mates, my old mates, we got into an altercation, where somebody was injured and he got a head injury. But after a while, I came out and I told them that I hit somebody else and that went on for a while. But then just in January they gave me a home detention.
JENNY BROCKIE: So it was for assault?
NOEL: Yeah, one assault.
JENNY BROCKIE: Tell me what happened with that assault. What was the circumstance of that?
NOEL: Oh, well, we was walking home one night after a party, a cousin’s party, and we was all drunk and one of my mates went across the road and asked this bloke for a cigarette. But he said no. And then the bloke I was with, he sort of kicked the car and started with anger and he started mouthing off and stuff. And I sort of backed away, because I knew what was going to happen, you know. And then I walked away from it.
But then by the time I went to look back there was almost a big brawl on the road and then I seen a young fellow getting hit on the ground and he was getting hit and there was older men sitting on top of him, and I seen him hitting him on the ground and I thought I can’t just watch this little fellow get hit. So I seen a stick on the ground and then I hit that bloke, because I was scared at the time, so I hit him, and then as he stood up, he walked away. I grabbed the little fellow and we walked off. It finished just like that. But then the next day we all got charged and, yeah, we went to court.
JENNY BROCKIE: How badly was the man hurt that you attacked?
NOEL: No, he wasn’t even. He looked at me and he walked away.
JENNY BROCKIE: Noel, I want to read to you something that the judge said in your case, because I was reading the judgement and he said what you did was utterly disgraceful and he said that it show a complete lack of human decency. Now when I read that, it didn’t match with the person I had spoken to when I first met you and I wonder, do you think that’s a fair description of what you did first of all.
NOEL: No, because they sort of looked as they were the victims. But, you know, we tried to walk away really – or I tried to walk away and it got sort of held up to me.
JENNY BROCKIE: But you got a strip, you stripped the leaves off the stick and you went and hit somebody. I wonder what’s going through your mind when you do that.
NOEL: When I seen a little fellow getting bashed and I thought I’d help him.
JENNY BROCKIE: Do you think what you did was wrong?
NOEL: Yeah, what I did was wrong.
JENNY BROCKIE: How do you think it was wrong. What do you think you should have done?
NOEL: Maybe I should have just walked away from the start and just left everything instead of helping somebody else. What I tried do was help someone.
JENNY BROCKIE: Do you get angry? Do you find yourself getting angry much?
NOEL: I get angry but then I think about it, is it worth getting angry. Is it worth all of the trouble that you get into.
JENNY BROCKIE: Because fighting’s pretty normal around heave, isn’t it? A lot of people fight and a lot of people talk about fighting.
NOEL: Yeah, that’s true.
JENNY BROCKIE: Tell me about the snake you keep at home. Why do you like snakes?
NOEL: Oh, it’s sort of like it can feel your pain, it can feel what you’re going through. So like when I do grab a snake I relax myself and let my heart beat you know, slow down. And then when I do hold it, you know, and then if I do get a bit scared and my heart starts jumping the snake will feel that. So I sort of feel that connection, yeah.
JENNY BROCKIE: And you like that connection?
NOEL: Yeah, it’s very good.
JENNY BROCKIE: Do you think you will move away?
TREVOR: Probably. I don’t know. 50/50 chance.
JENNY BROCKIE: Do you feel like you fit in here?
TREVOR: Yeah, sort of. Yeah, sort of, I reckon I do fit in here but not really though.
JENNY BROCKIE: What do you mean?
TREVOR: I don’t know. Probably not my sort of town.
JENNY BROCKIE: What would be your sort of town?
TREVOR: I don’t know. Probably everybody’s all good and happy and that. Just want to party and that. Not fight and swear at everyone, yeah.
JENNY BROCKIE: So you’d like a place that didn’t have as much fighting?
JENNY BROCKIE: Even though you fight yourself?
TREVOR: Yeah, I fight myself but I do have my reasons to do it, but, yeah. Just got to getting tired of it now.
JENNY BROCKIE: What about other drugs than alcohol?
JENNY BROCKIE: You smoke dope?
TREVOR: Yeah, tried it.
JENNY BROCKIE: How often would you smoke dope?
TREVOR: I don’t know, probably not often. Like, a few a day. Not – probably like a few three days a week or something, I don’t know, just when I’m bored or something or with a mate.
JENNY BROCKIE: When did you start smoking dope?
TREVOR: Probably I first tried it like probably at the end of Year 8 or so.
JENNY BROCKIE: So at about 13, 14?
TREVOR: Probably 14, on to 15.
JENNY BROCKIE: You’ve been doing community service, is that right?
JENNY BROCKIE: Why have you been doing that? What was that about?
TREVOR: Oh, for when I broke into the truck stop and stole all of the smokes out of it and a few cigars and that. So they put me on this youth diversion thing for children that haven’t been in trouble with the police before so they go on this thing to clear their record, they get me on that youth diversion doing community service at the rugby oval every morning and that. I’ve to cook breakfast, get set-up and everything. Yep.
JENNY BROCKIE: So why did you break in to that place and steal smokes?
TREVOR: I don’t know. It was a boring night. At the same time we felt like smokes. Needed a few smokes, so just thought oh, yeah might as well just do that. Yeah. And wasn’t that smart!
JENNY BROCKIE: And had you been drinking or smoking dope that night?
TREVOR: No, haven’t touched any of those. I wasn’t really a smoker or doing dope back then, but, yeah.
JENNY BROCKIE: Have you smoked dope today?
TREVOR: Yeah. Just a little bit.
JENNY BROCKIE: Before you came here?
TREVOR: No, not before I came.
JENNY BROCKIE: So how long ago today?
TREVOR: Probably like after school.
JENNY BROCKIE: And why do you do that?
TREVOR: I don’t know. It’s with a friend and that and they just do it often and that. Just, I don’t know. Just get that feeling again.
JENNY BROCKIE: What’s the feeling? Describe the feeling for me?
TREVOR: I don’t know. Sort of like happy and relaxed mood, I don’t know. Yeah. Yes? I don’t know. That’s the only way you can probably be happy in this town.
JENNY BROCKIE: Explain to me what a shame job is.
TERAZITA: Shame is like, you feel isolated and you just don’t want to do anything. You just back down from something, that’s were pretty much how I’d describe shame.
JENNY BROCKIE: Do you think it holds people back, kids back from doing things, achieving things?
TERAZITA: Yeah. In Alice Springs you get that a lot. So, like, just say if me coming on here and like, you know, I’m thinking should I do this because what if people say negative stuff about me and all that stuff holds people back and puts them into their shells.
JENNY BROCKIE: It’s about not wanting to perform in front of people in a way.
JENNY BROCKIE: So how does this feel?
JESSE: Before when I was coming I got gut feeling kind of, kind of really shy I suppose.
JENNY BROCKIE: And what else is a shame job for you?
TREVOR: Probably walking around with socks up to my knees. That’s a shame job, I wouldn’t do that.
JENNY BROCKIE: That’s very funny. What else?
TREVOR: Working at Wendy’s, that’s a shame job, that’s shameful. I’ve only seen one boy working at Wendy’s.
NOEL: Sort of like this thing I’m doing now. If somebody else was doing it, that would be shame. But I always thought shame is what’s holding us back from doing what we want to do.
JENNY BROCKIE: So, Noel, what would you like to do with your life when you leave school?
NOEL: I’d like to go to university. Yeah. Study architecture.
JENNY BROCKIE: Why architecture?
NOEL: Oh, ’cause I sort of like the art and design, yeah, I’ve got a creative side.
JENNY BROCKIE: What is it about architecture that appeals to you?
NOEL: I’m into the construction and everything that goes into construction. I’d sort of like to be in the office, yeah. I don’t want to really get my hands dirty.
JENNY BROCKIE: So you want to make the big decisions about how things look?
JENNY BROCKIE: Why do you want to be the boss?
NOEL: My dad is a labourer and a few times he took me in to work with him and he got me to weld up things and he taught me a few things. I look at the boss and I see how he’s living his life and yeah, he looks really successful.
JENNY BROCKIE: So has anybody in your family finished Year 12?
TREVOR: Not that I know of, no.
JENNY BROCKIE: What would you like to do?
TREVOR: Mechanic. Or play football if I can’t. Yeah.
JENNY BROCKIE: What do you play – what code?
TREVOR: AFL footy.
JENNY BROCKIE: Are you good?
TREVOR: Yeah, I’m alright. I wouldn’t say that good but yeah, I’m alright.
JENNY BROCKIE: And why would you like to be a mechanic?
TREVOR: I don’t know, I’m just sort of into cars and that. It’s like yeah I like driving ’em and stuff.
RHIANNON: I want to do university because nobody in our family has really finished Year 12. And to do that, I reckon it would be like the best feeling ever. And to finish university, I reckon I’d feel so good after that and just go get to be like a doctor and I reckon I’d have that as the biggest goal of my life.
JENNY BROCKIE: Why do you want to be a doctor?
RHIANNON: I love helping people. It’s just nice to make somebody else feel good.
JENNY BROCKIE: So you think it will happen?
RHIANNON: I don’t know. Like, it’s possible. Like, it might happen. But I have to make of it happen. I got to study for it, I got to be up to do it. Like, if I want to do it, I have to get up and try to and go to the university and stuff. So, yeah!
JENNY BROCKIE: You love playing footy?
KYLE: I won’t say I’m the best. but I’m getting better. I’m improving a lot. I’m not that bad at AFL. I’m a really like at any sport, I’m a really good defender. But at rugby I’m a good attacker and a good defender. So I wouldn’t mind getting a scholarship for any of those sports, any sport.
JENNY BROCKIE: Well which one do you like the best?
KYLE: I prefer rugby, I like AFL but before they get tackled they always hand ball it. I always get tackled. I like doing stuff physical. I like tackling people, it takes my stress off. So, yeah.
JENNY BROCKIE: Tell me more about tackling people taking your stress off?
KYLE: Like I get kind of angry and get really like I just want to let it out and hurt someone but I don’t want to hurt somebody but I don’t. And then when rugby comes I’m like, “Yes, I finally get to let it out.” And AFL’s exactly all of the same so I have all of the energy in this one little area. As soon as you release it you feel good, it’s like a restart button, yeah.
JENNY BROCKIE: So you play hard?
KYLE: I’m the best at my… I’m the best.
JENNY BROCKIE: Do you play clean?
KYLE: Yeah, I’m not a dirty player. I play properly. I don’t really like cheating. I like doing things fair. Because then you can say that was fair and square.
JENNY BROCKIE: So where do you think that kind of real aggression comes from in you inside you? When you say you want to hurt somebody but you don’t. You want to play hard like that. Where do you think those feelings come from inside you?
KYLE: It actually started from when my brother had my accident because I was kind of angry and upset with the person who did that, my cousin, I was upset with him. Literally, I actually wanted to kill him but I got over it now. It was an accident. Plus, he has to live with that for the rest of his life.
JENNY BROCKIE: And if it wasn’t sport, what else would you do?
KYLE: If it wasn’t sport, I’d just like to – one of my other dreams is to be in the Australian Defence Force as well. I’d like to do that, because I like helping people. Like, it’s just that I like helping people out, making sure people are alright, if they’re sad I try help ’em out.
JESSE: I’d like to be a person PE instructor or physical education instructor. Or I’d just like to follow up sport and play in the highest league that I can make, I guess.
JENNY BROCKIE: Do you dream about what kind of life you might have in a perfect world?
JESSE: Family you know ….To support my family. Support, you know, if I have, you know, a girlfriend or a wife and kids, support them, support their family, like, you know, their grandparents and all of that if they need anything.
JENNY BROCKIE: Where would you like to be living?
JESSE: Certainly not in Alice Springs.
JENNY BROCKIE: Will you finish Year 12 do you think?
TERAZITA: Yeah, hopefully. At the moment I’m going to say that I’m going to finish Year 12.
JENNY BROCKIE: What do you mean at the moment you’re going to say that?
TERAZITA: Because, that’s kind of my goal right now to finish Year 12, which I’m going to do. I want to join the Navy – the Australian Navy, because there’s a ship, I don’t know if you heard of it, it’s called the HMAS Arunta and it’s named after my tribe Central Arunda.
JENNY BROCKIE: So they got it wrong?
TERAZITA: I don’t mind like because that’s how people pronounce our word. And in our language we roll our tongue a lot in our language, which is difficult. But like it will not only make me happier but I try to make my people back here happy. As an Central Arunda person working on HMAS Arunta, I’d be really proud of myself if I do achieve that.
JENNY BROCKIE: So why did you decide to do this?
TERAZITA: Just to put my story out there and just do and tell people what I believe and my story and like it’s a way for us young people to get our stories out there instead of like the older people like politicians and all of that saying all of the stuff about places when really we’re the future, like, you know. My advice for whoever is watching this. The young person, if you want to do something, do it. Don’t let anybody hold you back and tell you ‘you can’t do it’. At the end of the day, it’s not another person telling you, you have to be self-motivated.
JENNY BROCKIE: It’s a good message. Thanks, Terazita. That’s great. Thank you.