history of the rona tranby trust

The Rona Tranby Trust was established in 1991 from a bequest in the Will of Thomas Paul Rona who died tragically with his wife Eva in a car accident in September 1987.

In his Will, Thomas Rona directed that a specific bequest from his Estate be held for the benefit of Tranby Aboriginal College or the Aboriginal Legal Service according to the discretion of the Trustees of the Estate.

The Ronas were Holocaust survivors who lost many family members in Nazi concentration camps during WWII. Both were committed social justice activists, taking a keen role in raising awareness of the Holocaust within the non-Jewish community. As members of the NSW Jewish Board of Deputies they were also active in promoting inter-ethnic harmony.

The Rona family at the suggestion of Kitty Fischer, Eva's sister, approached Gridiger Lawyers for advice in fulfilling the wishes of Thomas Rona. Roland Gridiger considered a number of suggestions from the relevant communities and recommended that the Trustees of the Estate adopt the Rona Tranby Trust.

In setting up the Rona Tranby Trust, it was agreed that parallels between Aboriginal and Jewish history gave a compelling logic to link these different communities. Both peoples share important values and priorities and have suffered persecution, dispossession of lands and attempted genocide.

The Rona Tranby Trust was launched at a public ceremony at Tranby Aboriginal College on September 2nd 1991 in the presence of the Hon. Paul Zammit, NSW Minister assisting the Premier on Aboriginal and Ethnic Affairs.

The Rona Tranby Award & collection

The bequest in Tom Rona’s Will enabled the Trustees of the Rona Estate to establish 'The Rona Tranby Award & Collection'. This evolved into a collaboration between Tranby Aboriginal College, Glebe and the NSW Jewish Board of Deputies and set out the projects that would fulfill the requirements of the Trust.

Rona Tranby Awards are given to support the recording and preservation of Indigenous Australian oral history. The original concept of the award was to utilise the skills that had been cultivated within the Jewish community in the recording of the oral histories of Holocaust survivors. It was thought that such expertise could be shared to assist Indigenous Australian communities record the oral histories of their Elders.

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Rona Tranby
Award & Collection

Level 4
Culwulla Chambers
67 Castlereagh St
Sydney NSW 2000