My name is Rachel Ware and I am a proud Wirangu/Mirning woman. I was born in Port Lincoln, my parents are Thomas Peel and Roxanne Ware. They were both born in Ceduna, so I pretty much had the typical West Coast upbringing surrounded by my large extended family. We moved to Ceduna, and then lived in the Aboriginal community of Koonibba, I remember the freedom of living on the community, being able to play outside all day with my cousins. We moved back to Port Lincoln, I went to Lincoln South Primary School and later Port Lincoln High School.
My first job, straight out of school, was at the Port Lincoln Leisure Centre. I also worked at the Port Lincoln Children’s Centre as the early childhood worker, and after four years I moved to Brisbane. I found work at the Brisbane International Airport as a lounge attendant. I made some great friends and had fun times but after two years I grew homesick. I decided it was time to return home to Port Lincoln.
I had every intention of enrolling in university, but with a bit of a nudge from Mum, I decided to commit to study. Unlike Mum and Nanna, I did not pursue teaching. I always wanted to work in the community, to help my people and advocate for others. It took me four and a half years to complete my Bachelor of Arts, majoring in Indigenous Cultures/Australian Society.
Once I graduated, I gained an opportunity to work with the Aboriginal Pathway Program for the University of South Australia as the pastoral care officer. I am currently employed at Eyre Futures Inc, a not for profit organisation, which has given me the chance to gain experience working in the community and helped to develop skills in different areas. My colleagues are very supportive, understanding, and have given me helpful advice and I feel I have given them a better insight in navigating the Aboriginal community.
I enjoy travelling, I’ve been to Bali, Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand and I plan to do more in the near future. I have come to appreciate how beautiful Port Lincoln and the West Coast is, and I am truly grateful to come from this part of the country. My mum and I share a passion for netball, and most Saturdays you’ll catch us at the PLNA courts either umpiring, coaching or playing. Sport for me is a great way to unwind after a hectic working week and to socialise, meet new people and make new friends with similar interests.
I absolutely love being a devoted aunty to my two nephews, Jeziah (5) and Harlem (2). I often travel to Whyalla to see and spend time with my brother Ethan, his partner Shelby and the boys. I am blessed to have such a supportive family network, including aunties, uncles, cousins, and my friends. My parents have kept me grounded, and have instilled in me the importance of family and culture, to be understanding of people and to be proud of who you are.
Upon reflection, I realise my mum’s closest friends have played a large role in how I look at the world. To be always surrounded by strong educated Aboriginal women, they were very influential to me, all are strong community leaders in their own right and showed me you can be whoever you want to be.
I would like to dedicate my story to the strong Aboriginal women in my life and especially my grandmother Mary Ware, because of her, I can!