One of Australia’s best didgeridoo players, the granddaughter of a footy legend and a prominent Kimberley businessman are among the Indigenous finalists in the 2018 Western Australian of the Year Awards.
Thirty-two finalists have been announced across seven categories with the winners to be revealed at a gala dinner in Perth on June 1 ahead of WA Day on June 4.
Among the finalists is Noongar woman Shelley Cable, the granddaughter of WA football great Barry Cable, who is a contender for the Youth Award for her work in striving to unleash the potential of Indigenous people through business and financial empowerment.
Ms Cable is an Indigenous consultant at PwC.
Noongar singer-songwriter Phil Walley-Stack, one of Australia’s top didgeridoo players, is a finalist for the Arts & Culture Award, a category in which he is up against the likes of prominent arts patron and businesswoman Janet Holmes a Court.
The finalists for the Aboriginal Award are prominent Kimberley businessman Wayne Bergmann, an owner of the National Indigenous Times; elder and nurse Gail Allison; senior Noongar woman Professor Colleen Hayward; and Glenn Pearson, the head of Aboriginal research at the Telethon Kids Institute in Perth.
Mr Bergmann, a Nyikina and Nyul Nyul man, is one of Australia’s leading advocates for Indigenous self-determination through economic empowerment and opportunity.
He is currently chief executive officer of KRED Enterprises, an Aboriginal Charitable Trust that promotes the self-empowerment of Aboriginal people in the Kimberley.
Mr Bergmann said he was proud and humbled to be considered for the award, but said he wouldn’t have been able to make the contributions he has if it wasn’t for the vision of senior Kimberley traditional owners.
“Our senior Aboriginal people had a vision to create independent Aboriginal economic development,” he said.
“From the early days, I have committed my time to realising this vision.”
Known as Aunty Gail, Ms Allison’s work — including drug, alcohol and petrol-sniffing prevention — has had a big effect on the areas of Laverton, Leonora, Kalgoorlie, Wiluna, Perth and Geraldton.
She’s also set up a program to nurture strong bonds between mothers and their children and works tirelessly for under-privileged children.
Professor Hayward, a Noongar woman, heads Kurongkurl Katitjin, Edith Cowan University’s Centre for Indigenous Education and Research and is also the university’s Pro Vice Chancellor, Equity and Indigenous.
At the Telethon Kids Institute, Mr Pearson is tasked with making sure the organisation’s work is in line with the needs of Aboriginal families.