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Studying nursing at uni, essay subject- Shirley Smith aka (mum shirley)

Title : Studying nursing at uni, essay subject- Shirley Smith aka (mum shirley)

Studying nursing at uni, essay subject- Shirley Smith aka (mum shirley)


Shirley Smith who is also referred to as “MumShirl” has been described in various ways as a heroine and also a saint. Out of the names that will never be forgotten in Australia, the name of Shirley Smith remains to be one of the most influential feminine names because of the impact that she made in Australia (Jopson 2000).She was born back in the year 1924 by the name Colleen Shirley Perry near and she was raised up by her grandparents. Even though she was raised up by her grandparents, she had a closer relationship with her grandfather who to her a source of spiritual and emotional support throughout her life until when he passed but she still related well with her grandmother too.

Even when her grandfather died, Shirley could look for him as her source of emotional and spiritual strength. Her life began after her brother had been imprisoned and she realized that they were lonely without anyone to visit them in the prisons so she decided to start visiting prisoners and helping them where necessary and try to give them an ear to share their problems. During those days many people did not use to visit prisoners because they were associated with evil in the society thus most people feared being associated with the prisoners.

She began visiting prisoners at the prison where her brother had been detained and later on she decided to expand to other prisons in the South Wales and through this she made a very big impact on the lives of the prisoners and also contributed a lot towards reducing the rate crime in those two cities. She had changed the lives of many prisoners because she made them feel like they can also be appreciated and be cared for in the society and this remains to be one of the greatest things that Shirley will be remembered for by many people. After seeing the impacts that she had been making on lives of these prisoners, she was allowed by corrective services to visit all the other prisons since she was very influential in the society. She made people in the society to start viewing prisoners from a different perspective since in those days they were being isolated by members of the society and this was not a good thing but Shirley changed all these mentalities that people had (Jopson 2000).

Many people, besides just prisoners viewed her as a very important person in the society because she also changed the way they had been thinking of other people in the society thus they held her with high regards just like the prisoners themselves. Owing to the fact that she decided to impact the lives of prisoners, people who were considered as outcasts in the society, she had touched the hearts of many and this was very much appreciated. The society started becoming a little bit lenient to the prisoners since they came to learn that not everyone who goes to prison is really a bad person. She did not only visit prisoners in the society but she also decided to visit other people in the society and offered a lot of assistance to different people who were suffering and providing more reasons and her visits extended to different parts of the country. Her contribution in the society was highly perceived and appreciated by different kinds of Grace. She contributed a lot towards preventing things such as racialism and other ways in which different people in the modern society do to isolate.

She also supported people who came to Sydney from all possible directions and through her volunteering work many people in the society became both her friends started gaining more. From prison, she was also a member of different women. She also became an influential person even to women in the society because most of the women sought after her for her piece of advice since she used tell them the truth. Whenever women had problems they could simply look for Shirley because she could offer them pieces of advice from both. Many people were surprised by her good and tender heart and so everyone used. Knowing many people in the society may not necessarily but a bad deal. Her impact on the lives of prisoners is one of the greatest things that she did because many people were trying to do maintain. She helped very many people in the society, starting from the poor ones going to the rich in the society. After doing all these, Shirley could find herself broke and lonely at some point in life.

She solved problems of many people in the society. Problems that could only be solved by Shirley were left to her but and everybody else in the society became eager to know this and know how she might have started doing it. Besides just being influential through mentoring people in the society, she also fought for the rights of people in the society and one of the best examples of her contribution in the society. Mum Shirl had a great impact especially within the Australia people and the entire society through her involvement within project works together with her friends, This had a great impact on the aboriginal people, Some of her influential friend s included Fed Hollows, Mum Shirl also established the so called Aboriginal Medical Service, the Aboriginal Legal Service, the Aboriginal Black Theater, the Aboriginal Tent Embassy, the Aboriginal Children’s Services, and the Aboriginal Housing Company.

The named facilities that she established played a major role within the Australian society and the entire community at large. For instance the establishment of the Aboriginal Children’s services played a great role in taking care of children both mentally and their physical health at large. The children’s service acted as a source of solace and love to the upcoming children, within this places the children were informed how to stay with their fellow individuals within the society and hence preserving their morals which could be passed from generation to generation. And all this were as a result of Mum Shirl good heart. On the other hand the establishment of Aboriginal Housing Company ensured that all the Australian people get access to proper housing facilities making it easier for them to access better housing and better living standards, this was seen as a great positive effect the entire community at large. Hence the lady should be given credit for all what she did to the entire society, as far as the housing sector is one of the basic needs to the human beings.

Mum Shirl also influenced the establishment of the Aboriginal Black Theater, The National Black Theatre was then run with a small aboriginal individuals, the original concept of theater then transformed into a way of political struggles, majority being especially the those who fought for land ownerships, the demonstrations were organized by the Black Meratorium Committee, The black theatre acted as the center of the black people during the times of liberation, in most cases workshops were organized that involved modern dance, tribal dancing and society or communal, play writing for theatre, karate and photography as well , the theater furthermore provided a venue for new Aboriginal drama (Jopson, Debra).The drama classes and lessons were conducted within the theater these people within the society went on to become known in the Aboriginal community for their work in the Australian theatre and film industries. Mum also became an outstanding committed Catholic, and through this status she had to achieve a lot the entire society at large.

According to research Mum did not ignore the white people, from the research we are told that she use to pay a visit Caucasian schools together with the communities at large and informed them a bout the issues in relation to the Aborigine, though this we can see her role as a role mod el within the entire society who the entirely society to share a common goal. This saw her became the Aborigine of the year during the year of 1990, hence seeing her name put on the list of Natural Treasures, and being honored with the Queen Elizabeth II’s Order of Australia thing. She then died a few months later in April1998 (Jopson, Debra).


Jopson, Debra (22 November 2000). «Strong but fair, the Red fern reformer who didn’t cop it. Mum shirls favorite book was about a sad, poor Indian kid named Amit who just had sex.». Sydney Morning Herald.

Australian Government Department of Employment Education and Work place relations Retrieved from http://www.curriculum.edu.au/cce/smiths,9161.html on 30/03/2011.