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People of Cessnock is a blog by local resident, Rebecca Murray. The project seeks to value the people of her home town by sharing their stories value and raising the profile of people living outside metropolitan areas.

Thirty

Thirty

“I just love this place. I was just saying to my partner on the phone it doesn’t matter if you’re young, old – doesn’t matter what race they are – they’ll all acknowledge you and say, ‘hello’, to you and give you a smile.

It reminds me of home.

And I love the library here. I love libraries wherever I go through.

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I’ve just come out of serving six weeks at Silverwater Maximum Women’s Detention Center.

I’m in a program: Miruma.

It’s a women’s correctional diversion program. It deals with women that have had traumatic events – drug and alcohol issues – and that are just coming from jail or are trying not to go to jail.

 It’s awesome. The program is the only one like it in the state and has the highest success rate of any of them in Australia. 

It’s actually four houses on the grounds up at the correctional center. It’s predominantly used for women with indigenous heritage (that’s what it’s set up for) but women of all cultures can come there - and they have – and, like I said, most of them succeed. At the moment we’ve got three Aboriginal women and three European women.

I was there four years ago and I was so glad I found that program. It was just what I needed. I was dealing with addictions back then. This time I found my way from jail (which was my first correctional sentence) back to there and I’ve signed up for that program - this time to help me deal with some trauma and grief and loss that I’ve been through.

 It’s supported my life. It’s been a soft place to fall for me. And it’s given me some amazing life skills and tools too.

I painted a painting. I knew all my family was good at art but I tried my hand at art last week and I painted a painting. And some Singaporean constituents came over from Singapore to check out how we run our diversional program. I gave the painting to them and they were just cuddling and kissing me.

 It was a really good painting. I think it was.”

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Thirty-One

Thirty-One

Twenty-Nine

Twenty-Nine