20 July, 2023
107 locals receive their birth certificate for the first time
Over a hundred local First Nations people have received birth certificates for the first time earlier this month, after Pathfinders and UNICEF Australia brought their birth certificate roadshow to Gilgandra.
Over two weeks, the organisation visited six towns
in the region including Gilgandra, Cobar, Nyngan,
Warren, Coonabarabran and Gunnedah, to help individuals sign up to receive their birth certificates.
For the Gilgandra event, which included some visi- tors from Gulargambone, 107 certificates were pro- cessed for issue, and the attending community members were beyond grateful for the opportunity.
Former Gilgandra local, Ron Naden, is a Pathfinders cultural support manager.
“I have been liaising with the medical services and they’ve been telling us that there’s quite a few that moved back here and have been want- ing to get a birth certificate, but I didn’t realise it was going to be over 100 people,” explained Mr Naden.
“It was unbelievable. It was great to catch up with family and old school friends. But we thought we’d get 70-80 odd people.
“We blew it out of the park.”
Mr Naden explained that one of the main reasons some Aboriginal people don’t have birth certificates is due to the large extended families they live in.
“In a lot of cases, mums have big families in amongst our Aboriginal community so, they’re in hos-
pital for two to three days, and they want to get out to the rest of their children. But by the time it comes to 60 days to get their forms in to register their babies’ birth, they forget about it.”
But 13-years-later as Mr Naden explained, Pathfinders come along and provides a program like this to help.
“Basically, we want our people to be part of this community, and they can’t do that without their birth certificates. They need it for their driver’s licence, for bank accounts, they need it for sporting activities. It’s a big thing,” he said.
“Someone did say it’s like food and water – you can’t do without it.”
Since 2015, Mr Naden said that the program has dealt with around 18,000 applications for birth certifi- cates, the bulk of which are in NSW.
“We just want our people to be a part of it, and not struggle to get through the fence. This has just made life a lot easier for them,” he said.
“Everyone in Gilgandra was just so happy that we were able to get out there. Gulargambone especially has been chasing me for two to three years, so it was great that they were able to come down.
“We are grateful to all the Local Aboriginal Land Councils and the Gilgandra Local Aboriginal Medical Service for allowing us to come, it was a great trip out to the six communities.”