BRIDGE BOND: Dallas Donnelly was born on the walkway on the western side of the Grafton Bridge in front of the second southernmost pylon more than 50 years ago.
BRIDGE BOND: Dallas Donnelly was born on the walkway on the western side of the Grafton Bridge in front of the second southernmost pylon more than 50 years ago. Adam Hourigan

TWO NATIONS: Identifying with land in birth, death

DALLAS Donnelly looks at the Grafton Bridge differently to most people who cross it every day.

To him, it's not only the place he was born. As an indigenous man who identifies according to the land in which he was born, Mr Donnelly finds himself in the situation of having his feet in both camps - or nations in this case - given the river serves as a boundary between Bundjalung on the north side and Gumbaynggirr in the south.

While his birth certificate lists his place of birth as born in ambulance care, he was told differently by his cousins.

"They told me that I was born on the footbridge next to the second pylon on the Grafton Bridge," he said.

Mr Donnelly said he never found out the details of his birth, as his mother passed away a week after he was born.

"Apparently she was going across to get to Runnymede, but I just came out there, and then I think they took me in an ambulance after that," he said.

Mr Donnelly tells people he is from both the Gumbaynggirr and Bundalung nations due to his birthplace.

"My grandmother comes from Gumbaynggirr country at Corindi Beach, and there are some say that the boundary of the nations is at the Clarence River," he said.

Mr Donnelly said he always points out the spot to his kids, and has even told them of a plan for when he passes away.

"I've said that when I go they can cremate me, and later on from the footbridge near the second pylon scatter my ashes and head towards the mountains," he said.

"It'll take me back to where I came from."



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