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20 Indigenous Elders appointed to offer cultural authority during Treaty negotiations in Victoria

Dechlan Brennan -

Indigenous leaders from across Victoria have been appointed to an Elders group to help guide the First Peoples’ Assembly during the upcoming treaty negotiations with the state government. 

The Elders' Voice Standing Group is made up of 20 esteemed First Nations Elders from across Victoria, chosen because of their experience, wisdom and standing in the community. 

The group sees both gender and geographical representation, with the members selected after an open process whereby Elders nominated to join the body. They had their inaugural meeting earlier this month in the wake of the state-wide Treaty gathering in Geelong.

Under the leadership of Elders’ Voice co-chairs Aunty Esmerelda Bamblett and Uncle Rodney Carter, it is expected the group will help provide both wisdom and cultural authority to the Assembly during the Treaty making process.

“From the very start of our journey to Treaty,” Ms Bamblett said.

“Community made it clear that Elders are integral to who we are as Aboriginal people, and that the Assembly needed to establish a mechanism whereby the voices of our Elders would guide the process.”

She said the foundational work by Aunty Charmaine Clarke and Uncle Andrew Gardiner meant “we can proudly stand here and say that the Elders’ Voice has finally come to fruition.”

Mr Carter said the Elders possessed a breadth of collective experience that was “amazing.” 

“The scope of knowledge, wisdom and experience that’s captured by these 20 Elders is inspiring and humbling,” he said. 

“We are so fortunate to have this opportunity, wherein the Assembly and our community will benefit immeasurably by the cultural knowledge of these Elders to enrich Treaty outcomes.” 

The Treaty negotiations are expected to begin between the First Peoples’ Assembly and the Victorian Government later this year. 

Elders' Voice Standing Group


Uncle Anthony Egan - Bunurong
Uncle Alan Brown - Gunditjmara
Aunty Doreen Lovett - Kerrupmara, Gunditjmara, Boonwurrung
Aunty Muriel Bamblett - Yorta Yorta, Boonwurrung, Taungurung and Dja Dja Wurrung

North West:

Uncle Daniel Kelly - Wamba Wamba and Mutthi Mutthi
Aunty Joyce Kennedy - Tati Tati, Mutthi Mutthi, Wadi Wadi
Aunty Thelma Chilly - Wiradjuri, Mutthi Mutthi, Wadi Wadi, Wemba Wemba, Barapa Barapa, Yorta Yorta
Aunty Jennifer Beer - Wotjobaluk nations

North East:

Uncle Henry Atkinson - Wollithiga
Uncle Larry Walsh - Taungurung
Aunty Lyn Thorpe - Yorta Yorta, Wemba Wamba, Wurundjeri & Dja Dja Wurrung
Aunty Geraldine Atkinson - Bangerang

South West:

Uncle Trevor ‘Reg’ Abrahams - Eastern Marr
Uncle Leonard Clarke - Kirrae, Gunditjmara, Yorta Yorta
Aunty Judith Dalton-Walsh - Wadda Wurrung
Aunty Kelly Koumalatsos - Wergaia and Wemba Wemba

South East:

Uncle Cliff Wandin - Gunditjmara, Wotjobaluk and Wurundjeri
Uncle Mick Harding - Dhagungwurrung (Taungurung)
Aunty Kerry Tregonning - Kurnai/ Krauatungalang
Aunty Margaret Atkinson - Yorta Yorta, Waywurru and Wurundjeri


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