BUNDARRA’S new bridge is waiting on the road works for its approaches and a name before it takes on traffic.
Submissions are closed for new names, and Uralla Shire Council will make a decision at their August 24 meeting.
One name submitted is the Nurse May Yarrowick Bridge, named for the local woman who may have been the first Aboriginal woman to qualify as a nurse in Australia.
Anaiwan Local Aboriginal Land Council chief executive officer Greg Livermore said he has deep respect for tradition, but he said this was a rich chance to recognise a great local woman.
“Not only for Bundarra, but for the Uralla Shire Council, it’s an opportunity to recognise somebody that hasn’t been recognised for all the good work that she’s done,” he said.
“Certainly, if all the research to date is correct, the first Aboriginal trained nurse in this country, right here within our midst, buried at Bundarra at the cemetery.
“What a great way to honour a new bridge.”
May was born at Stoney Creek Station in 1876 with two strong lineages in the area.
Greg said she was a descendant of both the Broun and Kelly families, the pioneer settlers of the Bundarra area.
“And she was a descendant of the Yarrowyck mob of the Aboriginal people,” Greg said.
May qualified at Paddington Hospital in Sydney in about 1906, worked at several Sydney hospitals.
She then returned to the Inverell, Tingha and Bundarra districts where she travelled widely on horseback in her duties until the 1940s.
She often stayed for days with expectant mothers to help before and after the birth.
Greg said the research into May’s life was ongoing, and several people are establishing her history.
He said the name of a midwife was often recorded on birth certificates at the time.
“For people to get their parents, certainly those over 80, to check their birth certificates, and certainly their great-grandparents,” Greg said.
“It would be interesting how many people put there are descended from people who were delivered by Auntie May.”
If you find May Yarrowick’s name on a birth certificate, please phone Anaiwan LALC on 6723 3022.