The winners of the 2021 Wathaurong Community NAIDOC Awards were announced at the Flag Raising & Community Day held at Wathaurong Aboriginal Co-operative on Monday 5th July, 2021.
The Flag Raising event marked the start of NAIDOC Week, which began on Sunday 4th July and runs until Sunday 11th July, 2021.
The NAIDOC 2021 theme – Heal Country – calls for all of us to continue to seek greater protections for our lands, our waters, our sacred sites and our cultural heritage from exploitation, desecration, and destruction.
Each year, the Wathaurong Aboriginal Co-operative community nominates people to receive NAIDOC Awards who are connected in community life and show a positive representation and role model for Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander people.
Wathaurong Aboriginal Co-operative was pleased to be able to host it’s outdoor flag raising event in NAIDOC Week 2021, given that most events in 2020 were moved online, postponed or cancelled completely. The awards were presented as part of this event.
Congratulations to all of the 2021 Wathaurong Community NAIDOC Award Winners.
Nedok Yoongga (Elder/Respected Person)
Winner – Aunty Judy Dalton-Walsh
AUNTY JUDY DALTON-WALSH was nominated for this award by members of the Wathaurong community for being a respected member of the community. Aunty Judy has been part of the community for many years. It was acknowledged that Aunty Judy is bringing back Wadda Wurrung language and is teaching young and old. Aunty Judy is a long time Wathaurong member and a part of the founding members. She is nominated for her work in being a language teacher and Koorie education and working for our school children.
Ngarrwa Ngitj (Community Person)
Joint Winners – Aunty Wendy Brabham & Kristi Watts
AUNTY WENDY BRABHAM was nominated for this award by members of the Wathaurong community for being a respected community member who has been a part of Wathaurong for more than 30 years. Aunty Wendy puts community first always. Educating our community is always on the forefront for her. Aunty Wendy has such passion for the community that she lives in.
KRISTI WATTS was nominated for this award by members of the Wathaurong community for her total commitment to the young ones. Her culture and her passion to community is outstanding. Kristi is always out there volunteering whenever there is an event, she is there with the family. Kristi is an inspiration - just to see her commitment to the Wathaurong community on both a personal and professional level, which includes hosting online playgroup, engaging families with activity packs and most of all keeping everybody culturally connected through storytelling and songs. Kristi's commitment to this community shines in everything she does. Kristi is not only our playgroup facilitator that has kept out community engaged during COVID through transition to online learning.
Koolay Goopma (Young Male Achiever)
Winner – Jordan Wellington
JORDAN WELLINGTON was nominated for this award by members of the Wathaurong community for putting his hand up this year to attend the Koorie Youth Camp as a Youth mentor, his first time at the camp in a more leadership role. Jordan is a young person who wants to support Wathaurong Koorie youth as a mentor and has achieved a lot of growth.
Moordeemoondeek Goopma (Young Female achiever)
Joint winners – Stephi Murphy & Bri Apma-Hayes
STEPHI MURPHY was nominated for this award by members of the Wathaurong community for getting more involved in the community in a more leadership role. Stephi attended the Koorie Youth Camp as a youth mentor and is helping and showing others how to dance. Stephi is also a youth sports achiever, she has previously visited New Zealand as a representative for Wathaurong youth. Language is important to her also.
BRI APMA-HAYES was nominated for this award by members of the Wathaurong community for completing year 12 throughout much adversity and continuing on to gain employment in a Koorie support role at a primary school, as well as casual employment at Wathaurong Aboriginal Co-operative. Bri is also undertaking Certificate IV in youth work at TAFE. Bri is so driven and determined to learn and achieve great things so that she can work with our young mob. She’s also this year found time to bring her small art business to the next level, aiming to have a website up and running and market stalls later in the year to enable her to share Aboriginal art with the wider community. Bri is always the first person to put her hand up when someone needs help and will never complain, she is an amazing role model to all the young people within the Wathaurong community.