Lyndsey Hicks has lived in the Moreton Bay Region for most of her life. The mother of two works for Thoroughbred Horse Racing as a Steward with the Integrity Section. She is one of only a handful of women working in the male-dominated industry, where both her father and brother have had success as jockeys. She shows an extraordinary amount of mental strength, and attributes this to a long line of predecessing strong women in her life. Lyndsey is a proud Australian who is extremely connected to her Indigenous heritage, having learned the dances, stories and culture of her people from a very young age.
Lyndsey’s grandmother, Aunty Yvonne Chapman, is an elder of the Wakka Wakka people in Queensland’s South Burnett Region, and her grandfather is of the Goreng Goreng people. Her father is the eldest of their nine children, so consequently Lyndsey and her sister grew up with their uncles and aunties for companions. They frequented her grandmother’s property in Eidsvold, connecting with the spirit of the land of their ancestors, painting ocre on their faces from the age of three.
Lyndsey feels very fortunate to have grown up with the combined cultures of her father’s Indigenous heritage and her mother’s white Australian heritage. “We’re lucky, we had the best of both worlds,” she explains. “We spent every holiday with my Grandmother, and we needed that time to go back and connect with our elders, our family and the land.”
As lucky as she feels, Lyndsey has also felt the pressures of growing up as a white Aboriginal, particularly in her youth. “As a fair-skinned Aboriginal, I always felt I had to prove myself and work harder to overcome the stigma surrounding me.”
She now follows a philosophy of working hard to make herself proud without feeling the need to impress others, and always remembers the words of her Grandmother, ‘It’s in you. It’s in your blood, no matter what colour your skin is.’
The connection she has always had with her Aboriginal heritage is something she is grateful for, and it saddens her to hear of the many Indigenous who haven’t the opportunity or the knowledge to begin exploring their culture. “I’ve been so connected my whole life, and I find it sad that so many have lost that connection. That’s their identity to their people, to their land,” she explains. “As soon as I get back home to my country, I take my shoes off to reconnect with the land of my ancestors. Thousands of years in this country has given our people a special connection with the land.”
For a united Australian future, Lyndsey would like to think that Australians will work toward a greater understanding of all aspects of our history. January 26, to her, is a reminder, not a celebration. After researching reports documented by non-Indigenous Australians from that day, and speaking to elders who witnessed the haunting events on the banks of the Brisbane River, she implores non-Indigenous people to acknowledge and respect the associated pain that comes with the current date of our country’s celebration. “I can’t imagine the emotion and the terror felt by the Indigenous people who were running or trying to defend themselves from the slaughter,” she recalls, tears streaming down her face. “I want to celebrate Australia Day, as many of our forefathers fought for this country alongside white Australians. But not on a day which represents the genocide of our country.”
Lyndsey feels that the pain felt is still so raw because people who bore witness to the atrocities are still alive, their trauma having been passed on to today’s generation. She wants all Australians to speak with pride when they discuss our Indigenous people. “Our country is extremely privileged and we shoud be proud of that,” she says sincerely. “I want our country to be proud of our Indigenous heritage, to say ‘these are our people, and they’ve stood up after what they’ve been through and we are so proud of them.’”