Alngindabu – Matriarch
Alyandabu was and remains a tribal matriarch and succeeded by our mothers and aunties in the role as Almeyuk (senior woman). Her brother Maranda can be seen at the very right of this tribal group in this photo of our ancestors. Our membership comprises the descendants of this extraordinary individual, a woman before her time in many respects. Singer-songwriter Ted Egan describes Alyandabu as ‘around six feet tall (183 cm), straight as a gun barrel, black, proud, barefooted, wearing a simple cotton frock and a wide-brimmed stockman’s hat. In her hand, she carried a few items tied in a red handkerchief, and she puffed contentedly on a pipe as she walked’.
The descendants of Lucy Alyandabu and Steven McGinness (McGuinness) are too numerous to count but still identify proudly with their strong heritage. Their children Bernard, John (Jack), Margaret, Valentine and Joseph inherited many of their talents amongst those a love of music and an inherent gift for engineering something out of nothing. They took their place in the 1930s fighting for Indigenous rights and leading the way for their own children and grandchildren to become leaders and professionals in their own right.
“Aboriginal history was not written on paper but on peoples’ hearts and held in their minds. There seems to be a need to know about our origins. In the past, we were made to feel ashamed. Much has been lost to this generation, but we can feel proud knowing we do have a history. These have been kept safe by storytellers.”
- Mickey Dewar, ‘ Alngindabu [Lucy McGinness] (1874? – 1961)’, Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 13, Melbourne University Press, 1993, p. 39.
- Bishop, I. M. (2000). Ngun Koongurrukun: Speak Koongurrukun