Bathurst Health Services first Aboriginal Liaison Officer Mrs Pat Crawford says farewell after 18 years of service at Bathurst Hospital and to the larger Bathurst Aboriginal Community.
“There have been many Firsts in my life,” explained Pat.
“I was part of the Freedom Ride in 1965 with my father in Walgett and I was the first Aboriginal Liaison Officer at Bathurst Hospital, she said”
Pat recalls the Freedom Ride and the changes over the years…
“The Freedom Ride came to Walgett. They were a group of university of Sydney students who organised a bus tour to towns in western NSW. They drew public attention to the poor state of Aboriginal Health, education and housing. Charles Perkins protested against racial segregation and discrimination and this led to a fact finding mission. I went with Dad to the Walgett protest as a young girl. I think I was the first young girl to spend a night in jail. The freedom Ride through Western NSW towns raised the Consciousness of racial discrimination. I was meant to be part of the Freedom Ride, as this has stayed with me all my life. I have enjoyed coming to work, and helping Aboriginal families."
Pat has spent the past eighteen years of her working life, working closely with the Bathurst Health Service social work department. Her role identifies Aboriginal Patients in hospital, that need assistance and she helps Aboriginal patients link with other health and welfare services once they are discharged from hospital.
Pat’s roles provided a friendly face, and she has helped many Aboriginal patients and their families while they were in hospital. She helped families understand the hospital routine, assisted them with making follow-up appointments and worked closely with the hospital Social Work Team to help Aboriginal families attend follow up appointments and navigate their way through the hospital system
"I worked closely with Aboriginal families to make their hospital admission less traumatic over the years I have meet many Aboriginal families here in hospital, it has been a pleasure to help them while they were in hospital.
I loved that my role has provided me with the opportunity to meet may people. I was able to work with the whole Multidiscipline team, nurse, doctors, Allied health staff, administration staff and I also got to know all the cleaners. I have made many lasting friendships over the last 18 years working at Bathurst Health Service.
There have been many changes over the years, we moved into the new hospital in 2008 and that has changed how we do things, we all have know a lot about computers, and services that the Bathurst Community has for Aboriginal families.
I was born in Walgett on the 18th March 1948 on the Veranda at home, this would not happen today. I sit in the middle of a large family I have three brothers and three sisters, we all went to school in Walgett. I met my husband Laurie Crawford at school in Walgett I was 14 when we first met we were married on 27 December 1969. This was a good day we do most things together with the family and our Grandchildren-We are life long partners Laurie and me.
In Walgett I had a few different jobs, I worked at the Pre School, I was a Nanny and I worked in Aged Care. My First Child Tracey was born in 1970, then Kylie, Bud and Lisa and my baby Des. I also raised my Grandson Keelan who is now 22. My three eldest children were born in Walgett except for Des who was born at Bathurst Base Hospital he’s my baby. All my kids are great, they have good jobs and enjoy living in Bathurst.
We moved to Bathurst in 1978 so that Laurie could attend Mitchell College-He was a teacher’s aid at Walgett and wanted to enrol in teacher education. I am proud of his work.
I have made many friends at Bathurst Health Service. I am looking forward to spending more time with the family. Doing just what I want to do for the First Time. My life work has been for family and helping family,” Pat said.