National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Catholic Council
2022 Elder Award Winners
2022 Adult Award Winners
2022 Non- Indigenous Award winners
2022 Young Adult Award Winner
Nominated by her granddaughter Chloe, Pam is a proud Kamilaroi woman originally from Coonabarabran and Redfern NSW. Throughout her life she has shown great devotion to the Indigenous community and the Catholic Church. She faced many challenges in her early life but with great strength and courage she guided herself through this, assisted by her dedication to her Catholic values
Pam has always demonstrated the importance of giving to the less fortunate and living the life you are given to your full potential. She shows gratitude for all things in life such as good health and an adequate standard of living.
In her nomination, her Granddaughter Chloe said “there is a level of acceptance and welcoming my Nan shows to others that I absolutely admire her for; no matter what your story is my Nan accepts you and welcomes you as an individual as well as seeing who you are on a deeper and more emotional level, not just what is seen on the outside.”
Chloe finished her nomination with “if you know her then you are truly blessed”, and we at NATSICC believe that to be true.
Louise Campbell, with her brothers and sisters, was stolen from her parents in Bowraville in the early 1960s. Her background has made Louise a woman of substance. Throughout her youth it was the Catholic Church and her faith that provided a thread in her life. Louise developed a strong sense of social justice working with disadvantaged Aboriginal people, overseeing land and environmental issues, advocating within the criminal system and working with young Aboriginal people. Louise completed a Bachelor of Education (PE), has undertaken studies in a Bachelor of Jurisprudence (LLB) and has a Diploma in Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Education. She completed a Bachelor of Education. Louise is a committed member of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Catholic Ministry Group in the Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle.
Louise is passionate about promoting awareness of the Aboriginal story and its links with the Christian story. This passion has led to involvement in many projects and initiatives: the Awabakal Dreaming Stories Kit; Aboriginal Stations of the Cross and Easter Story with Richard Campbell; involvement in World Youth Day 2008 at parish, diocesan and national level (Aboriginal Committee member for Cardinal Pell and Bishop Anthony Fisher), and the development of education programs and resources with an Aboriginal perspective.
Mark Bin Bakar
Mark was responsible for setting up the Kimberley Stolen Generation Aboriginal Corporation (KSGAC) and he works tirelessly in advocating and supporting members of the Stolen Generation, firstly the Kimberley and then also the state and nationally. Mark also provides regular support for KSGAC through his weekly national radio program (the Mary G Radio Show). Mark's work within the wider community is well known and most of his beliefs are based on his strong Catholic upbringing through his Mother, who was removed from family, country, culture and language at the age of 2 and sent to the Holy Child Orphanage in Broome where she was raised by the St John of God Sisters. These Sisters become her Mothers and she was faithful both to the Sisters and to the Church throughout her life.
Mark has also been instrumental in setting up and/or assisting with many organisations and, now in his 60's, he continues to work hard for these projects that he is so passionate about, despite his own health issues. Mark is still working on finding out his Mother's family, country and language and strives to make connections with the Elders before they are gone. This is also something that he is passionate about so he can then pass this information on to his family.
Mark provided the response to the 20th Anniversary of the Pope's visit in Alice Springs in 2006 and he was named West Australian of the Year in 1990 making him a contender for Australian of the Year In 2007.
NATSICC has known Mark (and Mary G!) for many years and are very proud to be able to bestow this award upon him.
Sally, our very own NATSICC ACT Councillor was nominated externally - twice! Each nomination highlighted her commitment to her Culture, her Faith, and her community. Sally had a dream of bringing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people of Canberra and surrounds together to worship, and that dream came to life through re-establishing the Canberra ACM - a place of belonging and an inclusive environment uniting our people.
Through her hard work and steadfastness, seeds were planted and continued to grow throughout the community. Sally has worked tirelessly to develop and share the ACT Aboriginal Catholic Ministry with both Indigenous and non-Indigenous Peoples. She has created Culturally safe places for prayer and worship as well as gatherings that sustain Culture and Faith. One of the nominations commented that “Sally epitomises faith”.
Lastly, Sally created, and now coordinates, the NATSICC Palliative Care Packages program. This program grants Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people that are in the end stages of life respect and dignity by providing a package that includes a shawl, notebook, blanket, and other items to make them more comfortable. Well over 350 packs have been distributed nationally.
A Faithful and committed member of the St Martin de Porres Catholic Community in Darwin, Ben has ministered to literally hundreds of people over the last 40 yrs. His music & song brings hope to the most tragic of funerals and provides comfort to the lonely in prison, nursing homes, hospitals; as well as inspiring many young people and communities near & far.
Additionally, Benny - as we know him – was one of the Territories most outstanding sportsman, athletes and is a descendant from Darwin’s well known sporting families having starred for St Mary’s Football Club.
Well done to Benny for continuing to kick goals though your work for your community in Darwin.
A former NATSICC NT Councillor, Lorraine is also a committed member of the St Martin de Porres Catholic Community in Darwin. Her contributions to St Martin’s includes:
· Preparation and running of training for Indigenous and non Indigenous children at church
· Organization of weekly church service
· Care of students at St. John's Catholic College
· Training for the Sacraments
· Organising the Life in the Spirit seminars
· Gardening and Flower Ministry
In addition, Lorraine has provided many years of financial responsibility for the Top End Catholic Aboriginal Corporation. Lorraine epitomises the Service to Community Awards with her gentle way of bringing Jesus into the lives of all she meets.
Poruma Island in the Torres Strait provided an idyllic childhood setting for our NATSICC Torres Strait Islands Councillor Dolly McGaughey. Dolly and her siblings moved to Hammond Island, where they became a part of the close-knit congregation of St Joseph's Catholic Church, which meant converting to the Catholic faith. Dolly and her sister used to help the nuns on the weekend and saw the Church as a safe place.
Following her career in education, Dolly has been on NATSICC for over a decade. In her own, quiet but powerful way she provides a voice for Torres Strait Islander Catholics on the Council. Her cultural knowledge was invaluable in developing the content for the NATSICC Online Cultural Competency Course where participants will gain a clear understanding of the unique culture and gifts of the Torres Strait Islander Peoples.
An established musician for many years, Dolly’s music has been heard across Australia, including during Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Sunday where it received a wonderful reception in Parishes and Schools during the celebrations.
NATSICC is pleased to award Dolly the Elder Award in recognition of her commitment to NATSICC and her people over many years.
In what is a very Victorian affair, the winners of our Adult Award category both reside and work in Melbourne. Sherry Balcombe and Melissa Brickell have served the Church for many years and are very deserving winners of this award Melissa BrickellMelissa is a descendant of the Yorta Yorta/Wiradjeri Peoples and is a former NATSICC Chairperson and Victorian Councillor. She was nominated by her local Parish for the Adult Service to Community Award. The nomination explained that over the past 20 years Melissa has helped the Parish to organise their NAIDOC week celebrations. During that time Melissa has taken the opportunity to explain the meaning behind many of the symbols that have been utilised in the Masses, including the message stick, coolamon, clap sticks, flags, gum leaves. The message stick in in the local parish has been painted by Melissa. Further to that she has painted many more message sticks which are in many parishes throughout Melbourne. During NAIDOC week a collection is conducted for the Opening the Doors Foundation – a cause to which Melissa is also deeply committed. Melissa has been active in Aboriginal Affairs for over 25 years now focusing on : Justice, Reconciliation, Church and in particular the Stolen Generations movement in both at the State and National levels. Sherry BalcombeNATSICC’s Victorian Councillor Sherry Balcombe is another person that was nominated by more than one source. Sherry is a Western Yalanji, Djabaguy/Okola woman from Far North Queensland Sherry has been an integral part of the Aboriginal Catholic Ministry in the Archdiocese of Melbourne for almost 20 years. In that time she has supported countless people, both indigenous and non-indigenous to better understand the important synchronicity between indigenous spirituality and Catholic spirituality. Sherry has provided education and cultural understanding to thousands of school students through the Fire Carrier program as well as presentations, education and accompaniment. Sherry is also involved on many Catholic boards, councils and governing bodies to provide an indigenous perspective and guidance. Sherry is also well known for her pastoral and spiritual care of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in aged care, mental health facilities and social services. She is often called on by families or friends of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people who have died to provide services to farewell as well as conduct smoking ceremonies to cleanse rooms after death. Sherry is highly regarded across the Archdiocese of Melbourne and Victoria for her depth of faith, incredible knowledge, ability to share and teach, as well as her sense of humour and 'down to earth-ness'. Additionally, Sherry has made significant contributions to the current Plenary Council submissions and program of liturgy and prayer.
Reconciliation means working together and sharing and accepting each other’s gifts for the good of all people. The Church in Australia should aim to be a leader in Reconciliation and our three non Indigenous Award winners are certainly doing their part to make it a reality. Elizabeth Muehlbauer was nominated by Dean Chisholm of the St Martin de Porres Community in Darwin. Whilst Dean mentioned Elizabeth’s lovely singing voice, her contribution to caring for the grounds and tireless efforts to maintain a beautiful and well cared for garden for the community whilst supporting the Parish’s various Ministries was the key reason for nomination. Elizabeth does not seek the limelight, rather she works quietly and diligently in the background – as a result you would be more likely to bump into her at the recycling centre dropping off cans and bottles to raise funds for St Martin’s rather than up the front in the spotlight! Paul Wilson was nominated by Honorine Jarkey who described him as not only a leader, but a team player. Paul has been the organiser of Augustian Volunteers Australia (AVA) since its inception in 2008. In his role, Paul gathers volunteers from around Australia to work with Aboriginal Peoples using St Augustine’s principles of peace and justice.Paul works tirelessly with these Aboriginal Communities in developing and delivering the jointly designed projects to help improve their lives and circumstances. A key part of building relationships with the community is to embrace the Principle of Subsidiarity, an approach that Paul has used successfully in adopting a community development model across AVA. Br Rick Gaffney has dedicated his life to the betterment of educational structures to support Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students and the provision of support to the students themselves. He was at Luurnpa Catholic School, Wirrimanu Community Balgo Hills from 2005 to 2015. From 2005 and 2006 at Luurnpa Catholic School Br Rick was the English literacy support teacher for Years 2 to 10 and was Principle from 2008 to 2015. His focus as principal was the pastoral care of the students and supporting their engagement in education at the school. From 2005 to 2013 he was also studying and researching for his Doctor of Philosophy. The knowledge and experience of these educators led to his development of a conceptual framework which explained the learning context of First Nations students in their community lives and how the learning resources developed in community learning could be utilised in school learning. In 2022 he is back at Luurnpa Catholic School, Balgo Hills, in the role of supporting families in the attendance of their children and young people at school.Congratulations to our 3 winners!
Designed to recognise the unheralded and share the gifts that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people bring to the Australian Catholic Church, NATSICC was blessed with an abundance of quality nominations from every State and Territory. Stories of people working in communities for over 30 years were common as were young people going above and beyond to support and inspire their people in the development of faith and culture.
The Awards started in 2018 and we have had many worthy winners since then.
Previous Award Winners
National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Catholic Council
'The peak Indigenous advisory body to the Catholic Church'
80C Payneham Rd.
Stepney SA 5069
www.natsicc.org.au | email@example.com | 08 8363 2963