Exploring and learning all about her Italian heritage has always been something important to Severina (Sev) Leggio, but discovering she is also descended from Indigenous Australians has opened up a whole new world to her.
“I only found out not long ago,” the 55-year-old grandmother, who works as a bus driver at CDC Gladstone (which provides essential bus services for around half a million passengers a year as part of the ComfortDelGro Australia group) said.
Sev said her mother’s sister discovered her grandfather was Indigenous – and not only that, they also had Chinese and South Sea Islander heritage to investigate too.
Sev shared her story with us to mark NAIDOC Week, a yearly celebration that recognises the history, culture and achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, encouraging others to take a deep dive into their own heritages.
“I think it’s amazing and most of us probably do (have Indigenous heritage), more so than people realise,” she said.
“I haven’t found out too much about it yet because I haven’t spoken with my Aunty at length, but I would absolutely love to find out more and I definitely intend too.”
Sev has been with CDC Gladstone since 2016, when it purchased contracts from Bus About Charters and Tours to provide a service to pick up and drop off local special needs children.
In addition to that work, Sev also picks up shifts driving urban and other school routes.
She said she loved living and working in Gladstone – she grew up in the coastal central Queensland city and spent some time working away in Adelaide and Toowoomba, but said Gladstone was her home.
She said the job allowed her not only to spend more time with her daughter and two young grandchildren (aged five and 10), but to also provide care and respite for children with special needs.
“I love working with the children, it’s so rewarding, they are just amazing,” she said.
“I learn so much from them.”
Somehow, amongst it all, Sev also finds time to enjoy her hobbies too – she loves fishing, gardening and cooking. “I love working with CDC, it’s great work here and I’m not tied up working all day.”