Born 26th Dec 1929 Lake Tyers Mission; Died 4th October 2008, Warragul
Within the Jackson’s Track community, Gina is remembered for fun and laughter and steering the family toward traditional culture and values through sing-a-longs. Bringing young and old together, playing her guitar, she created a source of great joy for the families as well as ensuring the critical connection to Culture.
A naturally quiet woman, Gina married Roy Rose and the family lived happily enough on Jackson’s Track.
The black/white fall out over the Track, around 1962, with the resettlement of families in Drouin and the bulldozing of their huts, left the community broken and heartbroken. Gina continued to keep the door open to everyone, and her gentle, sensitive and loving nature remained central to the new town dwellers.
When her son Lionel fought his way into legendary status as the World Bantamweight Boxing Champion, was awarded the first Aboriginal Australian of the Year, and was made a Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) in 1968, his family, especially Gina, was left to reluctantly straddle the associated fame and celebrity, the negative spotlight on their lives, and with hangers-on always wanting something from the families.
Gina’s father, Stuart Hood remained politically connected to the fight for land rights and, in 1971 when Lake Tyers and Framlingham were handed back to Aboriginal people, Gina and her sister Euphemia both took notice, hoping education would allow their children to claim their own rights in the future.
Later in life Gina quietly commented on her wonderful memories of the Track and was still urging recognition through Native Title for her grandchildren.
This Biography was written by Jeannie Haughton in consultation with Aunty Cheryl Drayton – Kurnai Matriarch and descendant of Regina Rose
Photograph: Left to right – Regina Rose with her son Raymond Rose, Jewel Hood – Regina’s Brother, Euphemia Hood – Tonkin with her Son Adrian Dow – known as Dusty.
Photograph supplied by family member Aunty Cheryl Drayton
Film: Jackson’s Track — CheekyMac Productions
Commemoration: Three Kurnai Women
Three Kurnai Women is a life-size bronze sculpture celebrating the leadership of three Kurnai women. This significant public artwork, unveiled on May 27 – Reconciliation Week 2023 stands proudly on Kurnai Country in Drouin’s Civic Park.
Three Kurnai Women is the first artwork in the area solely dedicated to honouring First Nations women and pays homage to Dorothy Hood, Regina Rose, and Euphemia Mullet, who displayed leadership, wisdom, tenacity and cultural integrity to protect their families, wider community, and their Kurnai Culture in the face of historic and racial discrimination.
Each woman holds an object: a book, a laundry tub, a guitar. Selected by Kurnai Elder Cheryl Drayton – Euphemia Mullet Tonkin’s daughter – these objects represent the struggles they faced as Aboriginal people and the constant endeavor of keeping their families safe and together. The artwork depicts the three women intertwined, anchored to country and to each other.
Three Kurnai Women is a shining example of female artists working together to bring sculptures of women and their stories into public places. The sculpture was designed by local artists Jessie McLennan and Rebecca Vandyk-Hamilton, working in close consultation with Kurnai Elder Cheryl Drayton. They prepared the concept designs, sketches and clay maquettes. Meridian Sculpture foundry in Melbourne then created a full-size 3D model.
Lynette (Grace) Hayes, Regina Rose’s daughter, created the frieze border for the artwork which incorporates Kurnai symbols such as the blue wren.The piece is accompanied by oral recordings and written historical storytelling by Kurnai Elder Cheryl Drayton and local writer Jeannie Haughton.The stories can be accessed by scanning Finding Her QR codes at the base of the sculpture and by visiting the stories of Drouin website.
Three Kurnai Women was proudly supported by the Victorian Government’s Victorian Women’s Public Art Program and by Baw Baw Shire Council This significant public artwork stands to remind local residents and visitors of the very recent history of the First Nations’ families who lived and worked for decades at Jackson’s Track in Labertouche, until they were forcibly relocated to Drouin.
Site: Civic Park Drouin
Drouin Civic Park is a picturesque park located in the centre of town. The Three Kurnai Women sculpture has pride of place, signifying a physical place and prompt to discover the stories and incredible contributions of First Nations Women on Jackson’s track.
This family friendly site also includes a playground, a skate park, a small lake, shelters, cycle and pedestrian trail and car parking. This park is easily accessible by public transport.