Rona Glynn-McDonald: closing the gap in knowledge and understanding
There are significant knowledge gaps in Australia’s understanding of Indigenous history and Rona Glynn-McDonald is aiming to fix that.
Rona, a proud Kaytetye woman from Alice Springs, founded Common Ground, a website devoted to sharing cultures, history and lived experiences of First Australians. Rona’s vision is to ‘create a united Australia that embraces and celebrates its First Australians’.
‘We’ve tried to present stories, oral histories and song-lines that reflect the diversity of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people,’ Rona said.
Rona is also a Heywire Trailblazer. An Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) initiative, Heywire seeks out regional youth ‘at the centre of the conversations that shape their communities’. As a Trailblazer, Rona’s project has received extra support and attention from Heywire.
But that’s not all. The value of Common Ground is being recognised by organisations with similar aims. Rona has developed partnerships that enable her to collect existing online stories, generate new content, and bring them together into one space.
Rona’s own family history goes a long way to explaining her motivation. She is the granddaughter of Freda Glynn*, the co-founder of the first Aboriginal media organisation, the Central Australian Aboriginal Media Association (CAAMA).
Rona, a Melbourne University graduate with a Bachelor of Commerce, knows there is a long way to go.
‘The challenge is not just reaching as many people as possible, but asking Australians to come with an open heart and open mind, so they can about our First Australians, and celebrate our diversity.’
And Ben Darcy, the National Editor of Children’s News at the ABC, and Rona’s Trailblazer mentor, can help with that.
‘We make teacher resources to go with the stories that we put out on programs like Behind the News and often teachers want extra links to find out more and delve deeper into some issues,’ Ben said.
‘So when we do Indigenous stories, if there is an article from Rona’s website, we can immediately link to it.’
*Freda Glynn was a pioneer in the media industry in the 1970s. Through her work, she empowered many Aboriginal people, giving them a voice and enabling them to give others a voice as they trained to become media professionals, working in all areas of the media and in filmmaking.