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Co-founder of Clothing the Gap, Laura Thompson Yarns Up on Kool'N'Deadly

Laura Thompson is a Gunditjmara woman and co-founder of Clothing the Gap, Spark Health and The Koorie Circle with Sarah Sheridan. I’m from a line of strong Black women and I’m proud of my family and what they have achieved. I watched my family play key roles in building Community Control in Health, through the creation of Aboriginal Medical Services.

There is not a day that goes past where I don’t have a moment where I think “women rock!” There are strong women everywhere and I take something from all of them.

My business, The Koorie Circle, is one way that I acknowledge all of the wonderful women around me by sharing my earrings with them. In this simple exchange, I can show gratitude and appreciate their beauty.

I grew up in the Commission flats and spent all my spare time on the Basketball Court shooting hoops with the kids in the neighbourhood. I have three sisters who are much older, so I grew up hanging around my nieces and cousins.

I was studious and sports kept me busy so I only have good memories of my childhood. I never thought of myself as disadvantaged because of I where I lived or my background. I felt lucky because we had a walk up flat, the biggest mob of family and I was proud to be Aboriginal and a part of the Community. The future for Aboriginal women is bright and we can control our destiny. So, I would say to young Aboriginal women to be proud of your culture, use your voice and don’t be afraid to try new things or look silly! Be yourself, you are good enough, more powerful than you think and more beautiful than you realise.

Self-determination to me means the power to create our mob’s own destiny. It’s having the ability to step outside the box and to design our own programs and set our own agenda to address the issues that matter most to our Community. Self-determination is exciting and it’s overdue. I’m a Mother, Sister, Aunty, Cousin, Friend and Community woman. I’m a Gunditjmara woman and I’m also a business woman, who has two businesses called Spark Health and The Koorie Circle. My Grandmother, Edna Brown (nee Clarke) grew up on Framlingham mission. Nan moved to the city with my mother Rose Dwyer (nee Brown) when she was quite young. Framlingham remained an important place in our lives, but Collingwood was home. I was born and raised in Collingwood and as a kid, I hung out at the Victorian Aboriginal Health Service.


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