Gordon Franklin is La Trobe University’s oldest Indigenous graduate.
He holds a Bachelor of Arts / Bachelor of Laws from La Trobe, and is a member of the Class of 2016.
Coming from a large family, Gordon said he wasn't able to finish high school.
“There were ten kids in our family, and I was the second oldest and I had to support the kids," Gordon said.
"I was working as a taxi driver, doing about 80 hours a week."
Gordon realised he couldn't sustain his taxi career, so he made a career pivot.
“I started researching my Aboriginal background and family history," he said.
"My niece suggested I get qualification so we could put it in as a historical document. That was the reason I started (the degree)."
He said it was the environment of the Bundoora campus that brought him to La Trobe.
“The reason I came to La Trobe University was because of the actual expanse of the place," he said.
"There were no fences, which is an Indigenous no-no. I love that greenery of the place."
After completing his degree, Gordon began a YARN group for students who wanted to learn about Indigenous culture.
“[I] speak for an hour each week to students who wanted to learn a bit more about Indigenous issues. I’ve got about seven or eight students I’ve been tutoring down at the Institute of Koori Education," he said.
“This has given me a chance, at 70, to have a new career. I’m going to be able to look back and see these students graduating, knowing that I helped them get their head start."
Last updated: 8th March 2019