We’re often asked why we’re called 18fifty3 Group.
The simple answer is that it was chosen to honour Rosanna Mooney, the great, great grandmother of our CEO John Sayers. Rosanna was born in Tasmania in 1853, but little is known of her life; only that she was the daughter of an Indigenous woman and a white man – possibly a seal hunter – and that she survived the brutal treatment of island’s Indigenous population in the late 19th century to raise her own family.
So, if that’s all you wanted to know about our name, you can stop reading now. However, 166 years later, inspirational new chapters are being written in the history of Rosanna Mooney’s family. Her great, great grandson picks up the story…
“I grew up in the 1960s and 70s in Ulladulla on the far South Coast of NSW, which is the home of the Yuin Nation,” John Sayers said. “Our place was not far from an Indigenous community on the edge of town. I went to school and played footie with all the young black fellas, never knowing I was a black fella myself.
“My father never acknowledged his Aboriginality. Maybe he wanted to save us the discrimination and prejudice he witnessed in those days. It wasn’t until he died in 2014 and his doctor recorded on his death certificate that he was Aboriginal that the truth came out.
“So many things fell into place for me. I understood then why I had always felt such a deep connection with my Country. As a boy and young man I loved bushwalking and I often went with a local Indigenous man named Noel Butler. We would explore the caves and other Indigenous places in the Budawang Mountain range behind Ulladulla, which is a rugged and stunningly beautiful landscape.