Joanne Randall is thankful for all the women in her life.
Joanne Randall is thankful for all the women in her life. Jenna Thompson

NAIDOC WEEK: Women the thread in Jo's success

FOR Joanne Randall, it's impossible to narrow down just one woman who has influenced her life.

"There are just so many," she said.

The youngest of nine children to Harry and Irene Daley, after listing off more than a dozen names Jo decides to start from the beginning, to the first woman to have shaped her life: her mother.

"She was my peer and my guiding light whilst growing up," Jo said.

"She always laid down the law about what was right and wrong. She helped me with my homework and always expressed to me that education was a good stepping stone to make me a better person when I grew up.

"She always taught me to treat people the way you want to be treated but there was one saying she had which always stayed with me: that one door will close but another will open."

By all accounts, Jo has lived by that saying, not only going on to work in all facets of indigenous health and education but learning more about herself from each experience.

"When I look back on all the places I've worked, there has always been a woman who has taught me more about my culture," she said.

However Jo said she couldn't overlook the immediate women in her life, from her sisters and aunties to her elders.

"It was incredible how much I learned about myself, about my culture through these women," she said.

Jo said she was grateful for her sisters keeping her sane when she had her first child, Mishika.

"My sister Jannay would come around and help me bath Mish, help me care for her, while the other sisters would come around and make sure I was getting on all right," she said.

While most people look up to the older generations for inspiration and guidance, Jo said it was important to also look to younger generations, starting with daughter Mishika.

"She's been more than a daughter, she's more like a best friend and a mentor to me," she said.

"We played basketball, touch and rugby together. Without her support for me, I wouldn't be able to do those things at my age. She keeps me feeling alive."

Known affectionately as Aunty Jo at Maclean High School, she not only influenced the lives of students and staff members, she said she was inspired by those who walked the halls of Maclean High.

"The staff and the students taught me so many new things about myself," she said.

"Those kids kept me young and actually taught me quite a few things too."


"There are so many family members, the elders, the mob and many other people who I love, who have helped me and touched my heart along my journey. I thank you from the bottom of my heart."

- Joanne Randall