Emeritus Professor MaryAnn Bin-Sallik AO
MaryAnn is a member of the Djaru Nation from the Kimberley region of Western Australia (WA). She was born in Broome, WA and raised in Darwin, Northern Territory (NT) from the age of nine years. She was the first person from the Aboriginal Community of Darwin to graduate as a trained nurse from Darwin Hospital in 1962. She was the first Indigenous Australian to gain a Doctorate from Harvard University in 1989, and the first Indigenous Australian to work in the Australian Higher Education Sector in 1975. In 2008, on retirement from Charles Darwin University, she was made an Emeritus Professor for her outstanding contribution to Indigenous education. In 2017, University of South Australia, her alma mater, made her a Doctor of the University for her contribution to the academy. That same year, she was awarded an Order of Australia for her contribution to the academy as an academic, researcher, and mentor.
Melora Noah from the Komet tribe of Mer Island in the Torres Strait, is passionate about remote Indigenous education. As the P&C Association President of Tagai College, Melora says “We must always ask ourselves why do we educate our children? For me it’s breaking the welfare cycle, teaching my kids something for something, not something for nothing. Through my son Sim, the first Torres Strait Islander on the Indigenous Education program at The Scots College in Sydney, I have come to realise that the corporate arm of Australia, and non-Indigenous individuals and families are often there ready to help us. Doors that I found to be traditionally deadlocked to me and my children, open with great ease through education. But we too must be willing to walk through those doors.”
Melora also helps the women in her community. She says “The greatest armour a Meriam woman can put on to face the challenges of today is to be educated. With education comes knowledge; with knowledge comes power; power to speak and to be heard. MABO won, proving that our age old Meriam society and structure is very much alive in this day and age, and that is why we, the Women of MABO must be able to master the art of living in both worlds.”
Celeste has Aboriginal heritage from south western Queensland along with Celtic heritage. Celeste commenced working in remote Aboriginal Communities in the late 1970s in the north west Kimberley’s of WA. Over many years she has fostered relationships and gained knowledge and experience in Community Engagement and Consultation. Prior to returning to work in remote and rural communities, Celeste spent some years working as a Social Planner and as National Manager for a large private recruitment company in a programme to assist people with non-vocational barriers to employment.
Yarlalu Thomas is a Nyangumarta Pitjikarli man, originally from Warralong, southeast of Port Hedland. The first in his community to complete a high-school certificate, he enrolled in a Bachelor of Medical Science and Doctor of Medicine (MD) at the University of Sydney.
Between his bachelor's degree and MD, Yarlalu was awarded the inaugural Roy Hill Community Foundation Fellowship. He now works with the WA Register of Developmental Anomalies, Genetic Services WA and Cliniface, to transform genetic health care services for remote Indigenous people.
Yarlalu also works with Pilbara Faces, which aims to understand 3D facial variation of ATSI peoples to provide more accessible, quicker and non-invasive diagnosis for children with rare and genetic diseases.
Yarlalu also launched the UNESCO-endorsed Life Languages project to translate medical terminology into ATSI languages, and indigenous languages internationally. He combines the newest scientific and medical knowledge with old and ancient wisdom.
Yarlalu also mentors and tutors Aboriginal boarding students, helping them adjust to their new lifestyle.
Australian hip hop artist, Ziggy, was raised in remote Arnhem Land, later going to boarding school in Sydney alongside Founding Director, Angus Crichton. Ziggy’s voice, whether through music or public speaking, addresses the silenced injustices of Aboriginal Australia as well as other social issues. Lyrically influenced by artists such as Yasiin Bey (Mos Def), Lauryn Hill and Common, along with activists like Charlie Perkins, Gary Foley and Adam Goodes, Ziggy finds passion in giving a voice to those often unheard.