The ‘typical’ Indigenous Australian, according to data from last year’s census, is a 23-year-old woman.
It is 15 years younger than the age of a ‘typical’ white Australian.
The census snapshot was able to give a far more detailed profiled of a non-Indigenous ‘typical’ Australian. She was a 38-year-old woman who has two kids and is married, with a three-bedroom home and two cars. She finished year 12. Both her parents were born in Australia. She speaks English at home.
“This ‘typical’ Australian, whatever that means, does not reflect in any way my life,” says Melbourne curator Kimberley Moulton, a Yorta Yorta woman originally from Shepparton.
“It reads to me as an Anglo-privileged ideology of who we are and of what we should aim for as a society, which for the most part is unattainable with the current rates of disadvantage for many people.”
Anjee-Lee Solomon, meanwhile, works in Aboriginal schooling. She has three kids, and a husband, and even a three-bedroom house with a mortgage. She is a Ngarigo Monero woman from the border-country between Victoria and New South Wales. She lives in Bundoora.
`”I have been involved in Aboriginal community matters all my life,” she says, “and the fact that life expectancy is so much shorter than white Australia is something I’ve known for a long time.”
She says since 2012 she has noticed a lot more Aboriginal teenagers finishing year 12 and going to university. In 2009, for example, only 255 students in the state finished year 12. Last year it was almost double that.
“There is more support now and a better system in most schools for Koori students,” she says.
Her sister is a radiologist. Her cousin is a doctor. “Uni is more of a goal now. When I was in school it was like ‘meh.'”
Also, she says, more of her community are borrowing money to buy homes, in both Melbourne and regional Victoria. And she says Aboriginal families are having lots of children – “an average of three I would say,” she says.