Ancestral: Waka Waka Nation, born and living on Bundjalung Country
Royal Australian Army Nursing Corps
I am from a family of Mother, Father and eight siblings. The family have all been involved with community commitments at a high level. Father, Solomon David Bellear, served with the Australian Army as an Engineer in Papua New Guinea. Later in life he was involved with Aboriginal community organisations and became Chairman of the Aboriginal Land Council, Along with other community members, he would take students out to permitted sites for cultural learning.
His son, Robert William Bellear, served 8-9 years in the Royal Australian Navy, being promoted to Chief Petty Officer. He was very committed to the Aboriginal community and became a Lawyer, then later a Judge. Another son, Sol Bellear Jnr. was an Aboriginal activist in Sydney. He was one of the leading people in ATSIC.
I served in the Royal Australian Army Nursing Corps as a nurse. I spent 2 ½ years in service and when on duty nursed soldiers returning injured from Vietnam. The majority of our patients were soldiers with various injuries who had been nursed overseas then repatriated back to Australia. I nursed at the then Military Hospital, Ingleburn. I was one of the nursing staff that cared for the first repatriated soldier from the Vietnam war to pass away on Australian soil from injuries sustained overseas.
After leaving, the Army I continued to nurse. I finished up doing Aboriginal Community Health for the NSW Heath Department for close to thirty years and was the manager for about twelve years. On retirement I became a Community Transport Driver. We are a proud family who achieved, and that is thanks to our parents.
–Doris M. (aka Sue) Follent (née Bellear), 2023