I started taking photos when I was 13 years old. My father gave me a black-and-white camera to play around with. I’ve never been to school to learn photography, but I learned a lot about photography from library books when I was studying medicine in China. I’ve taken lots of photos in the Naracoorte area in SA, where I’m based. Last year, I had a patient with a history of four different types of cancers. She felt very down because she had been fighting these cancers for 20 years and couldn’t get out often. I said I would print one of my photographs, and she could put it at home — it made her so happy. She carried the photo everywhere. At the end of her life, she kept the photo next to her bedside table until she passed away. The photo was of a tiny hill that became golden in colour in the late summertime, and there was a whole group of cows on the hill. It’s a reflection of the local beautiful scenery in Naracoorte. People here are very proud of their town and proud of the environment they’ve got. I started putting some prints of my photos in my consultation room. I must have given out hundreds of photos to my patients. My older patients are really happy about it, but the kids really like it too. Many kids are scared of needles, but after they come in and I give them a photo, I make them really happy and they’re not so scared of needles anymore.
My grandfather won three Brownlows and three Sandovers, that’s a matter of history. He’s in the AFL Hall of Fame, and has an MCG sporting statue. My father, again, is in the AFL Hall of Fame. None of that is going to define me because they’re not my achievements. Self-esteem can only be achieved by effort, sometimes unpleasant effort. It’s work. It’s hard. Whatever anybody does, looking after a winery, hiking in the middle of nowhere, self-esteem is the essence of why they do it. When I go out on my motorbike, and I’ve ridden in the rain for eight hours solid to get to a place to camp, even though nobody on the planet gives a crap, nobody’s going to know, and I don’t have to tell them … I do it because it’s hard and I’ve achieved something.
Dr Hadyn Bunton III
My name is Kali, which means ‘boomerang’ in Pitjantjatjara. Kali is also the name of the Hindu goddess of death and destruction, but I don’t think my dad, who’s a pastor, knew that at the time. People think all doctors follow this straight path from high school to med school. But it wasn’t like that for me. When I was 16, I left school after I became pregnant. People think if you’re pregnant at 16, you are going to go on the dole and that’s it — it’s the end of your life. I moved home to my parents’ place in Mildura, and when I got there, I went to a GP to get confirmation. When the test came back positive, he told me I had brought shame to my father. Leaving that consulting room, for the first time I did feel ashamed. At 17, I married my partner — I had to go before a magistrate to do it because I was underage. I went back and did my VCE at TAFE. By the time our second child was at kinder, I was surrounded by young mums. But that GP’s words were still ringing in my ears. I thought, “I want to do something in the world that supports women’s and babies’ health. I enrolled in a foundation science course at uni. When I was there, I met four other Aboriginal medical students, and that was a powerful thing. They gave me the courage to pursue medicine. I had never been treated by an Aboriginal doctor. I had my third and fourth babies while I was studying. It made sense to become a GP, there is nothing I would rather do. I work in an Aboriginal Medical Service in Adelaide, and I see women, men and children. I see elders. I did work in mainstream practice, but the medicine wasn’t enough for me, I needed that connection to Aboriginal people.