Katrina, Karl and Lucy Amon are on a continual path to discovering their family’s history.
Katrina’s great grandmother, Lucy, and her daughter, Mabel, were part of the Stolen Generation. The Stolen Generation was a period in Australia’s history between the mid-1800s, up until the 1970s, where Aboriginal children were forcibly removed from their families through government policies.
Through Katrina’s great Aunt, Kath Walker – an activist, educator and poet – the Amon family has been able to reconnect and learn more about their culture which originated in the Quandamooka (which means sea spirit) and Noonuccal tribes on North Stradbroke Island in Queensland.
Katrina, herself, was born in 1963, four years before the National Referendum to change the Australian constitution to recognise Aboriginal and Torres Strait islander people as part of the population.
“For four years of my life, I was flora and fauna. I was deemed as a plant and animal. I wasn’t a person. I know for my daughter Lucy, she was dumbfounded. She was horrified,” Katrina says.
Katrina, even while in primary school in the 1960s and 1970s, was not immune to the racism her grandmother, Lucy, was confronted with everyday.
“She didn’t drive so she would catch buses places and quite often the buses didn’t come,” Katrina says. “She explained to me why, ‘Well, they don’t stop because of the colour of my skin.’
“I think that was probably the first time that I became a little bit aware of being different.
“My sister and I pledged that when we had our first job that we would get her a taxicab so that wouldn’t happen again. When we asked her, ‘How’s the taxicab going?’ She would say, ‘I ring them and they come but when I walk out the door and they see the colour of my skin, they drive away.’”
Picture supplied (from left): Lucy, Karl and Katrina Amon
After almost three decades in the education space at Parkdale College, Katrina Amon was earlier this year appointed as St Kilda’s Indigenous Development Manager.
Karl Amon, a proud Noonuccal Indigenous man, has played 112 games for Port Adelaide since being selected to the club at pick No.68 in the 2013 Draft, while sister Lucy is the Indigenous Programs Coordinator at the Methodist Ladies College in Melbourne.
“To realise your family has been part of the Stolen Generation it hits home quite hard,” Karl says.
“We’ve come along way in the last decade and my Mum, sister and I have tried to learn as much about our culture and understand what happened. The greatest thing we can do is have a conversation about it.”
Karl is a well renowned Indigenous leader at Port Adelaide and part of the AFLPA’s Indigenous Advisory Board. He takes pride in the role he plays at the Power in helping to educate his teammates and those at the club about his own culture, as well as other cultures.
“Growing up I didn’t know and understand a lot about our culture,” Karl says. “But since getting into the AFL system, I’ve learnt so much about myself and my culture and it’s given me a lot of pride to be a young Indigenous Man.”
Katrina is proud of Karl’s on-field achievements. The Power midfielder is regarded as one of the most accomplished wingmen in the AFL.
However, she’s even more proud of the interest both her children have taken in their culture and how they are helping to educate others.
“With both my children, the thing that I’m really proud about is that they have both engaged in their culture. They want to be involved and they want to make a difference. As an educator, that’s really special for me,” Katrina says.