Indigenous leaders added to honour roll

Aunty Diane Kerr. 123252 Picture: STEWART CHAMBERS

Dandenong’s Indigenous community has two new representatives on the Victorian Aboriginal Honour Roll.
Aunty Di Kerr and Carolyn Briggs were among nine inductees announced on Wednesday 22 November.
The roll is now in its seventh year and recognises Aboriginal people who’ve made a profound contribution to their local community and to Victoria.
Their stories will be added to the Honour Roll, which is on permanent display in the Victorian Parliament.
Carolyn trained as a child care worker and became involved in establishing the first Aboriginal child care service with the Dandenong and District Aborigines Co-operative in the 1970s.
Aunty Di is a Wurundjeri Elder who has also worked in child care, as well as education, native title and Stolen Generation support.
She has been a mentor and foster carer for many Aboriginal children and young people, and was a long-serving member and one-time director of the Dandenong and District Aboriginal Co-operative.
She was also a director of Narragol Housing Co-operative, an organisation providing housing loans to Aboriginal people.
In 2013 she chaired the Royal Women’s Hospital Community Advisory Committee and was a member of its Consumer Committee.
She helped found research at the University of Melbourne’s Heart Research Centre around mental illness and chronic disease afflicting the Wurundjeri people.
Since 2014 Aunty Di has been conducting women’s ceremonies for Aboriginal girls to enable the girls to approach womanhood with confidence and a connection to country, knowledge of their identity and a general sense of well-being.
She provides leadership and cultural advice to local councils, corporate and community organisations, is an ambassador for the Indigenous Leadership Network of Victoria and was involved in Melbourne Museum’s First Peoples exhibition.
Aunty Di was appointed a director of Native Title Services Victoria in January 2013, and was in 2016 appointed to the Victorian Aboriginal Treaty Working Group.