Women gather, share stories, at CatholicCare lunch

Anny Druett never met her grandmother, Aboriginal activist Pearl Gibbs, but she stands on her shoulders today as she speaks to inspire other women.

Ms Druett was guest speaker at a women's gathering in Forbes last week - wrapping up a series of talks around the region with CatholicCare Wilcannia Forbes.

She shared stories and wisdom from her grandmother's journey as well as her own - and had no shortage of rich material to draw from.

Pearl Gibbs helped plan the 1938 Day of Mourning on Australia Day and set up the Aboriginal Australian fellowship in the early 1950s, an early petition for Indigenous rights. She was the first and only woman to sit on the Aborigine's Welfare Board and established an hostel in Dubbo for Aboriginal people needing medical treatment.

Pearl was one of the driving forces behind the 1967 referendum when Australians voted overwhelmingly to include Aboriginal people in the census and to allow the Commonwealth to create laws for them.

But her three children were taken from her when her marriage to English-born naval steward, Robert James Gibbs, broke up, and Ms Druett never had the chance to know her.

Last Friday, Ms Druett spoke about her grandmother's work ethic and resourcefulness, her ability to connect and network with people from all walks of life with amazing outcomes.

She also shared wisdom and practical insight from her own life's journey, her key relationships and the many different roles she has taken on.

The focus of the events, said CatholicCare support worker Wendy McMaugh, was on women coming together.

"There is strength in women coming together - we support, empower and foster positive community relationships for all women," she said.

"This in turn has longer term benefits for overall wellness and improved family outcomes and our community."

One very special aspect of the tour for Ms Druett was meeting women who had met her grandmother, including Aileen Allen and Pam Keed at the Forbes gathering.

The events, free to community members, were made possible through funds from the Manage Your Income Program.