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Cathy's Bio
15 Jul 2014
Published To
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Cathie Cragie is a proud indigenous woman. She exudes confidence with every word, with every hand gesture that she makes. Sitting down to hear her stories, it was clear that this woman has the gift of the gab. Cathie has come a long way since her humble beginning in Moree.

She was born and spent her early years in Moree. The community was very close and everybody knew each other and their families. She loved growing up in an indigenous community. Cathie started life on the mission but moved into town in the sixties. She lived with her five siblings and she used to get up to lots of mischief. Cathie attended East Moree Primary School. Her favourite teacher, Mrs Thompson, a librarian was the person who sparked her love for writing and reading. Mrs Thompson used to buy Cathie little books for her to take home; Mrs Thompson was one person who influenced Cathie greatly.  Cathie was one of those kids in Moree who never stayed in. She always tried everything. She did things like ballet even though she wasn’t very good at it. Her mum would drop Cathie and her sister off at ballet and they’d sneak out to the shopping centre and spend their ballet fees.  Her mother, Edna, taught her that if you stayed in one spot and have the same thinking all the time, you don’t get an appreciation for what else there is in life. This great advice helped Cathie embrace the differences between the country and city.

When her family moved to Redfern after Cathie completed her primary education, her parents were the first tenants of The Block when it was first built. Back then everybody sort of knew each other you knew people who worked in the shops and worked in the area. Redfern was a very safe community. When her sister, Mary, was only two, she went missing and her family called the police. The police told her parents not to panic because the area was really safe. Sure enough somebody found her sister wandering around and took her to the local pub.  Kathie remembers her sister not having a beer, although she likes a beer now. Even though she enjoyed her time in Redfern, Cathie knew she had to spread her wings.

She left her family and the Redfern community to board at MLC in Burwood. She had fun and made life-long friends who she is still in contact with today. Cathie realised how valuable independence was and that the lessons she learned here, other girls her age wouldn’t learn. She said it was the boarding school environment that allowed her to think for herself. She believed that one of the key foundations, allowing her to do a lot of things was her independence. She gained a belief in herself, a great confidence that allowed her to reach further than her other friends.  It is here that she became interested in communications and technology, and she followed her interests into University.

After her time at boarding school, she attended UTS where she became interested in the Arts and Media. She became involved and volunteered at the UTS radio station, 2SER. Here, she became enlightened of her love for the radio. After University, when she returned to Redfern, where she saw the need for an Aboriginal Radio Station. She’d gotten a group of her friends together and the long battle for the radio station began. They had to compete against other radio stations to get their own licence. It took them 10 years for Koori Radio to achieve live broadcasting.

 

Today Cathie has a long list of achievements. Those achievements include working for the ABC on their first Aboriginal television show, setting up an Aboriginal Unit at ABC, writing for papers and being an accomplished author. Cathie is a great inspirational figure for both indigenous and non-indigenous people. Lucky for her, she took her mother’s advice and spread her winds, far and wide.

By Lena

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COMMUNITY HOMEPROJECT REDFERN STORYWRITING SYDNEYSTORYFACTORY WATERLOO
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