Thursday, 10 January 2013

Australia's Mother of the Year 2012 - Ros Dodson

I was organising a catch up with my close friend late last year when she mentioned she couldn't meet with me on a certain date as she was having lunch with Ros Dodson, our Australian mother of the year for 2012. Without thinking I rushed in like a bull in a china shop & asked if she could arrange an interview for me, as I would love to meet her! With no social etiquette involved & none required (luckily) with close friends, Anna said she would see what she could do. It then dawned on me, I didn't know a thing about this woman & I knew very little about the event that awarded this mother her title.

The Barnardos Australia’s Mother of the Year Awards I later found out, is the only national event that recognises the achievements of mums and their enormous contribution to the Australian community bamya. Enjoying an extremely close relationship with my mother & cherishing a similar relationship with my daughter, I ruminated how this woman could be a stand out nominee for the selection process? After spending over an hour googling Ross Dodson, I got to know the woman behind such an honoured accolade. and yes, what a truly inspiring & deserving woman for such a prestigious award.

According to the Barnados website, our very own Queenslander Ros, an Indigenous woman of the Pangerang people,  is the second indigenous woman in the awards 17 year history to receive this prestigious Honor. A woman and mother of enormous strength and deep compassion. A strength, she says, she inherited from her mother. Ros experienced an abusive early childhood, one that would have continued if not for her mother’s courage to stand up to her abusive husband, Ros’s father. Laying charges for this abuse, a court proceeding followed and he was jailed. As a result, at age 14, Ros became the sole supporter of her mother and her disabled older sister. This meant Ros couldn’t complete high school, but after having two children of her own, Louise, 26, and Danielle, 22, she returned to studies and went on to complete a degree in Social Work. Ros also provided kin care for three of her relative’s children. Ros’s care for children extends far beyond her relatives. Over the past 24 years, Ros has assisted 14 people of the stolen generation find their families. She has also helped create the Building Strong Mothers and Babies program for Indigenous parents of Brisbane as well as support the young homelessness program of the greater Brisbane area. Now working as Manager, Senior State Negotiator Native Title Services Southern Region for the QLD Dept of Employment, Economic Development and Innovation, Ros is married to Wayne Dodson and is step-mum to his four children, Troy, 39, Ty, 37, Todd, 35, and Suelin, 33. Barnardos

I had goosebumps reading about Ros's life lesson's & achievements & felt inspired about my own - both acquired & to be attained. It got me thinking. what is the one thing as a mother, that I would like to impart on Ebony while she grows up? I thought long and hard. Keeping in mind that I am a first time mother to a young child & have yet to gain years of experience to make use of, I found this question quite daunting. How could I possibly impart any wisdom when I am trying to figure it all out myself? Then it came to me. I would encourage her to be kind to others naturally, but above all, be kind to herself. If she can be kind to herself through all of life's adversities' she will be a better woman because of it. If we strip away our family, our friends, our social status, our money - everything we have, we are left with ourselves. If we can love ourselves, be kind to ourselves when we make mistakes, our resilience to adapt & strengthen will be greater. Here is a woman who shows great resilience & who is an exemplary winner for Australia's Mother of the year 2012 - Ros Dodson.

  1. What made you accept the nomination for Mother of the year 2012 & begin the selection process to begin with? My daughter Danielle whom nominated me for the appreciation certificate, was so excited that I had been preselected as a Queensland finalist, I dare not let her down. So I accepted the nomination to be considered as a finalist amounts all the wonderful mums out there in Queensland and there are so many great mums, I did not think anything would eventuate from it anyway.
  2. What do you see as your three greatest strengths? Being able to share my story, have compassion for children and my fellow human being and I think being open and ready to risk being hurt for the love of another person.
  3. How would those closest to you describe you? I am not sure, I think it might be along these lines - honest, caring, compassionate and hard working.
  4. What do you love most about being a mother? Being the one the child entrusted to you depends on to guide them, nurture them and encourage them to reach their full potential.
  5. What's the one thing you would have done different as a mother? Put the demands other than parenting further at bay. So I could savour the most precious times with my children when they were still children. Time flys far to quickly.
  6. What has been your greatest accomplishment? Giving birth to my daughters.
  7. Have there been any disappointments or regrets? Yes, upon reflection, I would have loved to be a stay at home mum.
  8. What advice would you give to your teenage self, if you could go back in time? Patience.
  9. How has your view of the world changed with age/experience? It's truly amazing, we game our wisdom as we age, that's when we don't really need it as much as when we are young.
  10. What do you look forward to in 2013? Making more time for the heart felt activities I want to do and not working for a salary. 

Further to our interview, Ros wanted it to be known that she would not have had the recognition as an every day mum and the contribution she makes to children in her life without the Award and recognition of Barnardos. An award that acknowledges the valuable contribution Mothers make in the development, nurturing and supportive role for our children as they grow into who they become. What an inspiring woman.
I feel privileged and blessed to be part of an elite group of people called 'mums', you do an amazing job.
Bex x 


  1. Bex, what a wonderful article about a very wonderful woman. Barnardos Australia's Mother of the Year Awards are so pleased to have Ros Dobson as our winner in 2012. Ros is an inspiration to all mums in Australia and we are so grateful for her generosity in sharing with us and the people of Australia her life story.

    Thank you for acknowledging Barnardos. These awards aim to celebrate mums who provide safe and loving homes for children and Ros is a shining example of this, as are all our winners from previous years.

    Lovely piece
    Barnardos Australia

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    1. Great to know about Ros Dodson, tanks for sharing.