Ten questions for Robbo aka @BiteTheDust

I drove off the lands on Boxing Day 2015 and stayed a couple of nights with Bob Gosford. For my sins he forced me to answer his 10 question quiz. The original post is here.

My pet hate listed in the quiz has certainly come to prominence following the 4 Corners investigation into the running of Indigenous Corporations. Please watch the show “Ripped Off” if you have not already seen it.

Ten questions for Robbo aka @BiteTheDust

In July 2015, Robbo was named the Pharmaceutical Society of Australia Pharmacist of the Year for 2015. Robbo has worked for the last ten years as a remote pharmacist in the vast Ngaanyatjarra Lands of Western Australia adjoining the NT and South Australian borders and is a tireless advocate for improvements in Aboriginal health.

Robbo, George and Girl outside Wanarn Clinic
Robbo, George and Girl outside Wanarn Clinic

I had a yarn with my good mate Andrew “Robbo” Roberts aka @BiteTheDust over the Christmas break just before he flew out of the country for a few months.

In July 2015, Robbo was named the Pharmaceutical Society of Australia’s Pharmacist of the Year for 2015. Robbo has worked for the last ten years as a remote pharmacist in the vast Ngaanyatjarra Lands of Western Australia adjoining the NT and South Australian borders and is a tireless advocate for improvements in Aboriginal health.

At the time of his induction he said that his:
”… biggest thanks go to the people of the Ngaanyatjarra Lands for welcoming me on to their lands and into their lives for over 10 years. I hope this award increases the recognition of the need for pharmacists to be working as part of the health care team for our remote Indigenous Australians.”

The Northern Myth: Tell readers about yourself in ten words.

Robbo: A ten word biography? Desert, bush, medication, literacy, best-practice, education … Dingo, four-wheel drive.

TNM: What makes you happy?

R: Coming out of the bush and having someone make me a fresh coffee that I haven’t had to make myself.

TNM: What makes you angry?

R: The sheer waste you see and the blame-shifting by whitefellas buggering up indigenous organisations.

TNM: Cats, dogs, both or neither?

R: Dogs. The less said about cats the better.

TNM: Sunday morning music?

R: I don’t really listen to music much but out bush where I am you get the church going or some locals playing music somewhere in the community. There is always music in the bush.

TNM: Your Desert Island disc?

R: There are a few bits of music that I always associate with certain things that happen in the past, so some of the old seventies songs, a bit of old Skyhooks or pretty much anything by Madness …

TNM: Where do we go when we are dead?

R: In the ground.

TNM: What do you sing in the shower?

R: Nothing. I’m not a singing person.

TNM: When did you last break the law?

R: Yesterday when I did a u-bolt outside your place without putting the indicators on (laughs) and usually every time I come into town because out bush you don’t worry about white lines or indicators.

TNM: Top-loader or front-loader?

R: Top-loader – out bush that’s all there is!

TNM: Most treasured possession?

R: Well I couldn’t count Girl (my Dingo dog) as a possession. Can’t really answer that one …

TNM: Pen or pencil?

R: Pen! I love a fountain pen. I’m left-handed and I’m a shocking writer so at least it makes me try and have hand-writing that is legible.

TNM: What are you reading in non-fiction?

R: Not much at the moment, all my stuff is packed up. The last book I was caught reading was just released about the life and works of the artists from Wanarn Aged Care called The Wanarn Painters of Place and Time: Old Age Travels in the Tjukurrpa made with the assistance of the arts centre from Warakuna. Some great old artists from the lands have ended up at the aged care centre, including Dr. Mary McLean who is now a West Australian Living Treasure. She doesn’t paint anymore but she is a renowned artist who lived in Kalgoorlie for a number of years and moved back out to country to stop at the Wanarn Aged Care facility.

TNM: What about fiction?

R: Yeah, I’ve been churning through a lot of books. I didn’t read much for ages but I’ve been reading some nasty and forgettable crime fiction recently. Not much of any substance for a while.

Indigenous News Update

This indigenous News Update contains more links to articles regarding the death of Mr Ward in the back of a prisoner transport vehicle on a 400km trip from Laverton to Kalgoorlie with outside temperatures in the mid forties (Celsius).

More links can be found here

  • Elder’s death: prison van temperature ‘hit 50 degrees’. metal floor in the back peaked at 56.6C during re-enactment. http://bit.ly/ukmrF
  • Mr Ward travelled the world representing his people, educating everyone about his unique way of life. http://bit.ly/GsnYu
  • “Ward, family does not want his last name published for cultural reasons” they don’t want 1st name used, hence Mr Ward http://bit.ly/W03L7
  • Transport guards failed to offer water to prisoner – this in over 50C and 4hr tripDidn’t even check on him http://bit.ly/nFkqj

I read a large amount of information each week on indigenous health and affairs. There is no way I can blog about it all. Many of the links I place on Twitter where I can be found as @BiteTheDust.

I will regularly compile these links and place on the blog under the category of Indigenous News Update.

If you like this post and what else you see on the blog please subscribe by RSS feed (the orange button) or by email. Visit my subscription page.

Indigenous News Update

The following all links going to articles on the death of Mr Ward as he was transported over 400kms by a private prisoner transport company in the back of a vehicle (a steel lockup) without working air-conditioning with the temperatures in the mid 40C.

  • Inquest into Mr Ward’s death heard he had core body temp of 41.7C despite cooling him with ice and water for 20mins http://bit.ly/HdkZP
  • Mr Ward was being transported by private prisoner transport firm GSL when he died in back of vehicle . http://bit.ly/HdkZP
  • Mr Ward was transferred in a 4hr journey, temperature was mid 40C, no aircon in vehicle and prisoner not checked? http://bit.ly/141uSh
  • Mr Ward was a cultural elder despite “young age”. 46 is pretty old for an aboriginal man. Bloody whitefella reporting http://bit.ly/QWulW
  • Prisoner tansport van must be destroyed – Warburton Community http://bit.ly/QWulW

(Disclaimer: I knew Mr Ward)

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