I was born in Griffith in 1953 that makes me 64 years of age. My family lived in a dirt floor humpy. l lived with four brothers and five sisters with my mother and father. When l turned eight or nine years of age, we moved into a new Government three bedroom home there was twelve of us just a bit overcrowded.
I attended school in Griffith until l was 15 years of age. l left the educational system at a very young age had a few issues with the youth Justice system later as an adult.
I did a lot of seasonal work around Victoria and New South Wales worked in numerous jobs in Sydney and lived in Sydney for five years. I moved to the Yass and ACT regions in the mid 70′ firstly living in the Yass then moving to Queanbeyan in 1980. First job working as a trades assistance at the Weston Creek Police Complete then employed with ACT Forestry Commission later working at the Boomanulla Oval.
I was then employed with Parks & Gardens as a machine operator which was for fourteen years, injuring my back being of work l was given the opportunity to be employed as a Aboriginal Youth Worker with the ACT Government. I was placed within a organization called Street Link being the only Indigenous Youth worker l was working mainly with Indigenous youths around the ACT.
I was later employed as a Truancy Officer at Melrose High which really wasn’t my idea of working with my people, l then applied for a job with Gugan Gulwan. Gugan Gulwan was located at the Boomanulla Oval at the time we later moved to Red Hill location within a vacant Pre – School later moving to Erindale.
During this time and earlier, l was involved in numerous advisory groups and committees working with the ACT Government, one being the Aboriginal Justice Advisory Committee, also AJAC which was a national group, l was the ACT Representative. We were involved in establishing the Aboriginal Justice Centre putting in the Aboriginal Liaisons Officers position in the Belconnen Remand now being the Alexander Maconochie centre.
I am also the Co – Chair of the Ngunnawal Elders Council.
Being involved in the ACT Indigenous Circle Sentencing project, visiting different regions, gathering information to establish our own Circle for our Elders to question and support our young offenders. The AFP Aboriginal Liaison Officer and also having early discussions regarding the ACT Indigenous Rehab centre this was happening in 2000.
I was the Indigenous Representative on the ACT New Prison Panel, the argument in favour of establishing a new ACT Prison:
To allow more control over rehabilitation and restoration
The need to replace Belconnen Remand Centre due to poor design, high operational costs and limited capacity
To provide opportunities for families to visit without substantial expenses
To provide for convenience for legal representatives to gain access to their clients
To create cost benefits including economic flow – on benefits for the ACT
My involvement with establishing the Youth Narrabundah House
Becoming a member of the ACT / NSW Aboriginal Legal Services
Over the years, my involvement in the Prison and Youth Justice Systems has been ongoing being now a part of the 2017 Elected Body.
l am hoping to continue to work with the ACT Government to get better and to establish a safe environment for our community and our people within the ACT.