Every day, in Parishes, schools, organisations and ministries around Australia there are people working with and alongside Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Catholics to make a significant difference. They don’t ask for accolades or want to be in the spotlight, but these people need to be acknowledged for all they do.


The NATSICC Community Services awards want to celebrate the contributions of the unheralded and we need your help to do so! If you know of someone that has lived out the gospel values in their lives and in their work, please consider nominating them.


The winner of each category will be presented with an award at their local Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Sunday Celebrations. Their story will act as inspiration for the Catholic Community and will be shared across various platforms including Catholic Media, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander media and the NATSICC website and newsletters.


2024 Award Winners


Adult Service to Community Award Winner - Mary O'Reeri

Mary O’Reeri has shown amazing leadership and dedication in bringing her community together. With a strong commitment to faith and service, Mary has organized many important events that have left a lasting impact on her community in Beagle Bay. Some of her notable contributions include the 100-year celebration of the Pallotine Order in the Kimberley during the 1990s and the “100 years of the St. John of God order celebration in Beagle Bay.” She also played a key role in the “Pilgrimage Back to Beagle Bay” celebration.


One of the highlights of Mary’s journey was delivering the keynote speech at the NATSICC conference in Perth, which was a great honor for her. In 2019, she also spoke at the ACFY before the Missa Kimberley Mass. Her hard work and dedication were further recognized when she was nominated to be a council member for the 5th Plenary Council for Australia.


Mary works tirelessly with her parish in the Dampier Peninsula, where she collaborates closely with the priest to advocate and develop faith formation, coordinate programs for Easter events, Christmas Mass, funerals, and home healing visits. She is deeply committed to bringing the Eucharist to the elderly, ensuring they stay connected to their faith. Her involvement with children, performing liturgical dances and including them in the liturgy, has made her a beloved figure on the Mass calendar.


Mary’s passion for serving her community is guided by her faith and the Holy Spirit. Her inspiring leadership and creativity have greatly helped in bringing her community together, making her a deserving recipient of the Adult NATSICC Service to Community Award.

In faith and love, Mary continues to serve, inspire, and unite her community.

Elders Service to Community Award Winner - Maureen Moore

Maureen, a proud Wurundjeri woman from Healesville in Victoria, has demonstrated incredible strength and dedication to her community. As a member of the Stolen Generations, Maureen was taken from her family as a baby, along with her sister and brother. The siblings were sent to different places, and Maureen did not meet her parents again until she was 16. Despite these challenging beginnings, she has been an active and cherished member of All Saints parish for at least 15 years.


One of Maureen’s significant contributions to the Catholic Church has been her role as a friend and practical support person for Fr Gerard Dowling, who passed away last year. For the last 20 years of his life, Maureen drove him to and from his weekly radio program and assisted in presenting the show. Her support was especially vital after Fr Dowling moved to the retired priests’ accommodation at Justin Villa.


Maureen’s dedication and service have made a lasting impact on her community. Her strength, compassion, and unwavering commitment have earned her the NATSICC Elder Service to Community Award, recognizing her significant contributions and the love and care she has shown to those around her.

Elders Service to Community Award Winners - Eileen Bray and Shirley Purdie

Both Eileen and Shirley have been a part of the Ngalangangpum School (Warmun Community) school since its very beginning in 1979. Together, they regularly teach language and culture to the students and provide mentor ship and are positive role models for the young people to aspire to.


Eileen and Shirley conduct the Water Blessings and Smoking Ceremonies for many significant Church events (eg Pentecost), displaying the way in which Aboriginal Culture and Catholic faith work together. As a team, and as individuals, they are an incredible witness to the Gospel - combining Faith and Spirituality.


These two ladies have played an integral role in preserving the Gija language and faith systems for future generations by teaching hymns in Gija for Mass and supporting on Country Learning. They have been a part of incorporating Smoking with baptisms in a culturally and liturgically appropriate way.


As Elders, and leaders of their community, Eileen and Shirley have guided and supported many Sisters of St Joseph and School principals and staff, offering the warm hand of reconciliation thorough kindness. Renowned artists, they skillfully incorporate art into the local faith community and are recognised on an international level.


Our Elders are the holders of knowledge and we owe them an incredible debt for their strength and perseverance. Eileen and Shirley are very worthy joint winners of the NATSICC Elder Service to Community Award for 2024.

Non - Indigenous Service to Community Award Winner - Cassandra (Cassie) Auld

Cassandra (Cassie) Auld has shown outstanding dedication and leadership in supporting her community in the Wilcannia Forbes Diocese. With a strong commitment to faith and service, Cassie has played a key role in various activities that have made a significant impact. She has been an active and passionate member of St Therese Community School for several years, helping to organise important events and initiatives.


Cassie's work includes delivering high-quality religious education programs and supporting the development of faith formation resources that are culturally appropriate and respectful. She has been deeply involved in fostering First Nations leadership, ensuring that the voices of Aboriginal people are heard and respected within the broader church community.


One of the highlights of Cassie’s service is her role in developing and delivering training programs for educators, helping them understand and incorporate aboriginal perspectives into their teaching. Her efforts have greatly contributed to building stronger, more inclusive communities.


Cassie’s passion for her work is driven by her faith and a deep sense of justice. She believes in the power of education and dialogue to bring about positive change and healing. Her leadership and commitment have made a lasting impact, earning her the non-indigenous natsicc service to community award.


In her work, Cassie continues to inspire and unite people, bringing together diverse communities through faith and understanding.



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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   |   craig@natsicc.org.au   | 08 8363 2963