Two Cultures, One Story: Dr Robert Isaacs AM  

[by Xenica Ayling]


 Image: supplied


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Part tale of survival against the odds, part political odyssey, Two Cultures, One Story is the memoir of highly respected Bibilmum Noongar Elder Dr Robert Isaacs AM.


Released 1 March, it is the account of a life full of compassion, commitment, integrity and hard work. A member of the Stolen Generations, Robert spent his entire young life in institutions before rising through the ranks of the Public Service to become one of Australia’s most inspiring leaders. His challenging beginnings makes his life achievements and dedication all the more impressive.


“I grew up not knowing I was Aboriginal – but I was always determined to rise above my circumstances and do my best to make a difference, to attempt to break the cycle of poverty and disadvantage I saw around me from an early age. Everything I’ve achieved or fought for has been for the betterment of my people.


“When I left Clontarf Boys’ Town I didn’t know what I was going to do next, but I knew that whatever it would be, it would be on my own terms. I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do, but I wanted to give back to the community in some way.”


Robert dedicated his life to breaking down cultural barriers and bridging the divide between black and white Australia. Over his long career in local government he successfully introduced innovative policies and programs in Aboriginal Affairs, Housing, Health, home ownership and Education. In addition to holding senior roles and board appointments in each of these areas, he has contributed to the community as a Justice of the Peace, Ambassador for the Office of the Commissioner for Children and Young People and many other volunteer roles.


Rachel Bin Salleh, Magabala Books Publisher, said: “What Dr Robert Isaacs AM has achieved will reverberate for generations to come. It has been humbling to publish this inspiring book.”


In recognition of his service to the community, Robert has been the recipient of numerous awards, including: Member of the Order of Australia (AM) on the Queen’s Birthday Honours List 2016, NAIDOC 2016 Male Elder, Western Australian of the Year 2015 and Freeman to the City of Gosnells in 2015.


Two Cultures One Story was written by Tanaz Byramji in collaboration with Dr Robert Isaacs.