Ever since Rozalyn (Roz) Darr took the plunge, moving states and into a full-time position at CDC Gladstone, she hasn’t looked back.
The proud 58-year-old Indigenous woman left her job in aged care in Alice Springs in December last year, relocating to the central Queensland coastal city to be closer to her two daughters.
To mark NAIDOC Week (July 4-11), we spoke with Rozalyn about her experience with the Gladstone depot, which is a part of ComfortDelGro Corporation Australia (CDC).
“Initially, I was brought on to clean the buses and now I’m also training to drive the buses so we can move them around,” she said.
“I absolutely enjoy working with CDC. It’s the people that I work with – it’s a very different environment, I’m used to cleaning motels and aged care facilities. It’s a good way to keep me fit and healthy, as I’m slowing down a bit as I get older.”
Roz, who started with the company in February, said she loved learning to drive a bus – “it’s so big compared to driving a car!”
It was her daughter Grace, who is now an Indigenous foster carer, who previously worked for CDC Gladstone (and the former Buslink) as a bus driver, who convinced her to make the move.
She knew Grace was a bus driver, but it never occurred to her she was driving “a big school bus”.
“I thought she was driving a small mini bus and she’s trying to convince me to come work with her, telling me I could be a driver. I told her to send me a photo of her in front of one of the buses she drove and I said ‘OMG, you’re driving THAT?!” Roz said.
“She said, I know mum… I’m Deadly hey?!” Roz laughs.
“I was so proud of her to drive that a big thing like that! Then I moved and thought ‘if the men can do it, why can’t I’? Some of the other women who work here are tiny and they drive the buses, so why not?”
Roz said she’d love to see more Indigenous women picking up the keys and getting behind the wheel of a bus.
“I’m still training, and I haven’t been out on the main road, just inside the depot but it’s very exciting. I’ve never driven (a bus) and it’s very cool.”
Roz, who is proud of her Indigenous and South Sea Islander heritage said NAIDOC Week was an important celebration for Australians to take part in.
The annual celebration invites Australians to embrace First Nations’ cultural heritage and to equally respect the cultures and values of Aboriginals and Torres Strait Islanders as they do the culture and values of all Australians.
This year’s theme is ‘Heal Country’ and calls for all Australians to continue to seek greater protections for our lands, our waters, our sacred sites and our cultural heritage from exploitation, desecration, and destruction.
“NAIDOC should bring everyone together so we can share and learn about Indigenous cultures,” she said.
Rozalyn has always taken part in NAIDOC Week celebrations wherever she’s been employed and is glad to be able to mark the occasion, appearing in a video with fellow Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander workers in Gladstone, which has been featured across the country on CDC’s social media channels.
To find out more about becoming a bus driver head to the CDC Queensland careers page.