Born in Maryborough 1957 Uncle Den Fisher lived in the Cherbourg Settlement working on a dairy farm from the age of 10yrs.
Uncle Den joined 3KND in 2003 and has been a committed broadcaster and supporter of 3KND since. Uncle said he asked the spirits to send him a message of what he should be doing in Life.
I grew up in Queensland on an Aboriginal settlement. It was good as a child – it was great in fact – and we always had lots of games to play. You don’t understand as a child the way your people are treated.
As I grew up, I came to realise everything on the settlement was forced – we weren’t allowed to speak our native dialects and we were on rations from the government. On the settlement, we starved a lot, and we didn’t have work. Our rights were taken away from us. When the white men returned from war, they took all the jobs in manual labour that my people had been employed in.
I remember hearing from older people that white people thought it was dangerous to educate Aborigines, so when I grew up I wasn’t very educated and couldn’t read and write properly. I was born in 1957, and Aborigines weren’t even classed as Australian citizens until 1967. So for the first 10 years of my life, I wasn’t even classified as a real Australian.
People tell us to move on. If you’re going to tell Aborigines to move on, tell the veterans to not march on Anzac Day, tell the Jews to forgive Germans, and tell people who have lost their homes to floods and fires to forget about it. You don’t know until it happens to you. I can forgive, but I will never forget.
When I came to Melbourne, I was working voluntarily for a conservation group. I met a friend Grant Hansen making songlines – Aboriginal music. He told me he was starting up a radio station – 3KND – and asked me to join.
It’s our 21st year coming up, and it’s one of the best things I’ve ever done.
My show, Drive Time with Den the Fish, has healed me inside and out. I choose the songs; the voice is a powerful thing. It took me two years to get my pain and suffering out. I still see it happening today with my people. It doesn’t matter what colour a person is – we can’t help a person until we are ourselves healed.
So when 3KND opened there doors it was on my Birthday and that was the sign he had been waiting for…Uncle Den also works 4 days a week for the Royal Botanical Gardens, Melbourne as a Aboriginal Heritage Guide... a job he loves as he is able to educate visitors on aboriginal culture. 3KND healed me Uncle said. It gave me the platform to speak to our people in truth.
I’m also a poet, and go by the name Den the Fish. I call myself a no-hoper. “No” for violence against women, children, the elderly and people with disabilities. “Hoper” that we can one day all sit around a big fire and have a laugh, have a drink, have a cry, and move together as one.
You can hear Uncle Den, Mon, Wed and Friday on
KoolNDeadly Radio 3KND from 3 – 7pm.