Coleen Shirley Perry had a heart of gold. So when she went to visit her brother in jail, she saw something that few people saw. Instead of seeing baddies, she saw people who needed compassion, and someone to listen to their problems. Soon she was visiting lots of other prisoners. And every time the prison authorities stopped her, or questioned her, she said the same thing: 'I'm his mum.'
She became known as Mum Shirl. Word spread about how she could help, and this prominent Wiradjuri woman became a fearless supporter of anyone who needed it. She dedicated her life to helping people with their problems. She helped the homeless, the hungry, those down on their luck, women and many, many children. She established community services for Indigenous Australians and fought for their justice and welfare. And she did it all without ever setting foot in a school.
For our Indigenous and Torres Strait islander listeners: this episode contains the depiction of someone who has died.
Narrated by lawyer, activist and Wiradjuri and Wailwan woman, Teela Reid