Gumbaynggirr Warrior (NSW North Coast)
Retired Leading Aircraftman, Royal Australian Air Force
Vietnam War Veteran
Rob grew up in the 1950’s at Bellwood Mission, Nambucca Heads. In 1953, his father died of a brain haemorrhage. With the 2 eldest girls having already left home, mum supported the remaining 6 kids by bean picking, washing, ironing and house-cleaning to supplement her widow’s pension. Rob moved with his family to Sydney and by working hard – and with the support of his mother and older brother, Jeff – he went to Woodlawn College in Lismore on a scholarship.
After getting his Higher School Certificate, Rob enlisted with the Royal Australian Air Force in Sydney 1967. Rob was based at 1RTU RAAF Base Edinburgh and trained at RAAF Base Wagga Wagga Technical School where he learned engineering and qualified as an air-frame fitter. He was then based at RAAF Base Fairbairn servicing 5 Sqn Iroquois helicopters and completed a Tour of Duty (1970-71) based at RAAF Base Vung Tau in South Vietnam, servicing 9 Sqn Iroquois helicopters. Returning to Australia, he was based at RAAF Base Richmond (1971-73) servicing 36 Sqn C130A- Hercules aircraft.
Leading Aircraftman Bryant was honourably discharged at RAAF Base Richmond in 1973 after completing a 6-year term of enlistment. Rob then worked with the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community at Bennelong’s Haven and then as the founding General Manager of Bangarra Dance Theatre Australia (1990-94). He was instrumental in a number of other initiatives, very notably as part of the collective that gave birth to the Boomali Aboriginal Artists Cooperative.
Rob is now the Director of the online store Just Too Deadly Merchandise, an Aboriginal-owned business enterprise based in Nambucca Heads on the North Coast of New South Wales, Australia supplying work wear, casual wear and promotional merchandise
Through service, he has created opportunities.