Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander viewers should exercise caution when watching this video as it may contain images of deceased persons.
Guide Dogs NSW/ACT continues to share Aunty Mary’s story and message as per the wishes of her family.
Vale Aunty Mary
Aunty Mary was an Indigenous Elder and Bundjalung woman who played a major role connecting Guide Dogs NSW/ACT to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.
She passed away on Monday, 30 September 2019.
Aunty Mary was originally from near Taree on the Central Coast and lost her own sight due to Diabetes. Before her passing she lived in Rylstone, near Mudgee, for around 10 years.
Aunty Mary started working with Guide Dogs in 2012, with the creation and development of education materials in Aunty Mary’s Story which later became the Aunty Mary Program. This project was to help Indigenous people learn the importance of looking after their eyesight.
Aunty Mary worked tirelessly, and with the strong support of her husband Rodney, to educate her own community through field days, the annual Yarbon Festivals, NAIDOC and other events. She worked alongside Aboriginal Eye Health specialists, Optometrists, the Brien Holden Vision Institute, presenting at numerous conferences.
Aunty Mary is remembered for her natural warmth, sense of humour and relentless promotion of Guide Dogs’ services in her desire to improve the eye health of Indigenous people. She even had her own long cane painted in the colours of the Aboriginal flag. She will be greatly missed.
The aim of this campaign is to provide the community with information, that will assist understanding of the services that Guide Dogs NSW/ACT offers to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities. In turn, this will allow answers to questions and provide advice to members of the community who are vision impaired.
Facts & Figures
- Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities are six times more likely to get vision problems
Why is this campaign so important?
Titled 'Aunty Mary's Story', the video is the cornerstone of a collaborative campaign between Guide Dogs NSW/ACT and Aboriginal Elder Aunty Mary Hooker, a Bundjalung woman, who has impaired vision.
Through telling Aunty Mary's story about how Guide Dogs NSW/ACT's services helped her re-gain her confidence and independence, the campaign aims to raise awareness that assistance is readily and freely available. The video includes information about vision loss, common vision conditions and practical tips on how to assist people whose vision is impaired.