Wathaurong community acknowledge NAIDOC winners

July 20, 2021 BY

NAIDOC award winners Jordan Wellingon, Bri Apma-Hayes, Stephi Murphy, Judy Dalton-Walsh, Wendy Brabham and Kristi Watts. Photo: SUPPLIED

SIX First Nations residents from across the region have been awarded as part of NAIDOC Week celebrations.

The Wathaurong Aboriginal Co-operative has hosted the 2021 community awards announcing the winners at the Flag Raising and Community Day on July 5.

The flag raising event welcomed the beginning stages of NAIDOC Week which took place between July 4 and July 11.

This year’s NAIDOC theme ‘Heal Country’ called for greater protection of land, water and sacred sites from exploitation and destruction.

At the 2021 Wathaurong Community NAIDOC awards, winners were acknowledged for displaying positive representation as well as being a role model for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

The Nedok Yoongga award, referring to Elder Person, was awarded to Aunty Judy Dalton who is working towards bringing Wadda Wurrung language back into the region through teaching those young and old.

Ngarrwa Ngitj community person awards went to Aunty Wendy Brabham for educating the community for more than 30 years, as well as Kristi Watts for volunteering within the community and hosting online playgrounds connecting people through storytelling and songs.

Koolay Goopma was awarded to young male achiever Jordan Wellington for putting his hand up to become a Koorie Youth Camp mentor.

Moordeemoondeek Goopma, young female achievers were awarded to Stephi Murphy for also taking on a youth mentoring role at the Koorie Youth Camp as well as representing Wathaurong youth internationally through sports.

Bri Apma-Hayes received the same award for completing Year 12 during times of adversity, followed by gaining employment in a Koorie support role at a local primary school.

Ms Apma-Hayes is currently studying a Certificate IV in youth work while launching her small businesses making Aboriginal art for the community to enjoy.

In a statement the Wathaurong Aboriginal Co-operative said they were pleased to be able to host its outdoor flag raising event with guests in attendance.

“Congratulations to all of the 2021 Wathaurong Community NAIDOC Award winners,” the statement said.