Tyra Hayward, Dandjoo Darbalung Resident

Can you tell me about your background?

Half my family is from the Kimberley and half my family is from Perth. My cultural background is Aboriginal, Chinese and English. My family from the Kimberley were pearl divers in Broome and my great grandfather on my Dad side, met my grandmother there, and that’s where that connection comes from and the reason there is this Asian mix. I was born here in Perth and through-out my life we have travelled to Broome to visit family.


What are you studying at Notre Dame?

I am doing the tertiary pathway program into nursing.


What inspired your interest in Nursing?

It was a decision between primary school teaching, nursing or painting. I did work experience as a painter. I liked it, but I think I would do it as a side activity. Nursing is more of a vocational passion for me. The experience that really set it in stone for me, was when I went on work experience to King Edward Memorial Hospital in paediatrics. It was so great and I really enjoyed being there.


How did you hear about Dandjoo Darbalung at St Catherine’s College?

Many Perth high schools attended National Sorry Day in the city last year. I met Lynn there, the founding director of the Danajoo Darbalung program. I didn’t really know what Dandjoo Darbalung was, but I heard my grandpa mention St Catherine’s college and that he knew Lynn. The process then, to be a part of Dandjoo Darbalung was so quick and easy.


What has been your experience of the Dandjoo Darbalung program since you have been here?

We always have fun. Our group is so energetic, we all get along so well with each other. We are very close and connected. Everyone knows someone in someone else’s family. I think that’s what makes us bond so well. We know people from different areas and you can identify with all these people.

We have women’s campfire and men’s campfire which is really great – it is talking about what you’re going through and a connecting experience. We also have women’s business and men’s business where we hold a fire in the Jull Common Room at St Catherine’s College. And there is always lots of mentoring and teaching in the Dandjoo Darbalung room. I wouldn’t have been able to handle some assignments if it wasn’t for the Dandjoo Darbalung mentors.

And the mentors are people that you can talk to about anything. We go to the gym together. If I need to go for an appointment, someone can drive me. They are like a family member helping you and watching out for you.


How does Danjdjoo Darbalung make you connected to your cultural background?

We always talk about our cultural background and the differences between cultures in everyday conversations, as we getting to know each other and connect. It is the first thing that happened when I arrived, and it is a part of every day.

What does indigenous access mean to you?

This world is very different to the world of remote communities (bush life is so different to city life). How are we meant to keep in touch with both when we have different priorities and different ways of living in each world.  In terms of this, I think indigenous access might be, how to go from one lifestyle to another lifestyle and be able to thrive in that lifestyle.


What’s been your favourite experience at St Catherine’s College?

I’ve been here since February this year and the best experience has been just gaining some independence. I lived at home before I came here and it’s so different, you need to take more responsibility for yourself. I have one older sister and two younger siblings. I am so glad I came here, because it is hectic home. I miss them, but I wouldn’t be able to study with the distractions.


What inspires you in your life?

To help people. It is one of my internal drivers and instincts. It also comes from, all my life seeing people that can’t get help. I have a lot of empathy towards people and I feel that by doing nursing, a part of me will feel full and fulfilled. I don’t know, I think it’s a bit in my heart that drives me.

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