The founding members of the group include Aunty “Chick” Hazel Fisher, Aunty Cepha Roma and Uncle Alex Davidson with support from Aunty Shirley Finn. Their tireless work included encouraging other elder members of the community to join them as part of the group or as guests to undertake different forms of assistance including but not limited to:
While Kurbingui Board of directors, senior management and staff have always supported the Elder community members in their work, in 2016 the group approached the Board Members to formalise their group under the organisation’s auspice.
The Board members, senior management and staff were only too happy to do this and further strengthen the relationships within and external to Kurbingui. This move proved to be a positive one for the members; enabling them to feel confident that they could totally focus on the work they were undertaking without having to attend to the administration requirements that would come with being an independent stand-alone incorporated group.
Further, this decision was soon proven to be the correct one with the Brisbane Northside Elders receiving an award from the Queensland Child Protection Committee in 2016 to acknowledge their work in partnership with government and non-government departments and agencies to contribute to the reduction of the over representation of Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander children and young people in statutory care.
Since then, the Elders group has continued to grow from strength to strength. They have met, discussed, lobbied and advocated about issues experienced by Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander children, young people, families, individuals and elder people with various Ministers and senior decision makers from government departments and agencies such as the Queensland Police Service (QPS), Department of Communities, Child Safety and Disability Services (DCCDS), now known as the Department of Child Safety, Youth and Women, Department of Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Partnerships (DATSIP), Department of Employment & Training (DET).
The group also has built partnerships with non-government departments and agencies such as Centre Care, Uniting Care Community, Life Without Barriers, Busy at Work and Mercy Communities. The members and guests of the group continue to work tirelessly individually throughout their local and the broader communities via forums, events and activities as well as together.
Since 2014, the Brisbane Northside Elders Group have hosted and attended community events and activities such as morning teas, gala dinners, Elders conferences, community lunches, trainee graduations, National Aboriginal & Islander Day of Celebration (NAIDOC) events, domestic and family violence prevention education and support workshops, child protection workshops, International Indigenous Women’s’ luncheon, Acknowledgements and Welcomes to Country, women’s’ and men’s groups and day-to-day support by way of mentoring, sitting on recruitment interview panels within and external to Kurbingui, cook-ups, for the staff, clients and trainees.
While the group members and their guests work tirelessly across all areas of the community service sector they have continued to focus their attention whenever possible to reducing the numbers of children and young people in statutory care, reducing the number of young people and adults incarcerated or involved in the youth justice system, supporting people where possible around the areas of mental health and wellbeing.
This is done through the examples mentioned earlier as well as assisting individual and families themselves in their homes, community venues, at Kurbingui and in prisons and youth detention centres. They have also been integral in the ongoing work to integrate cultural practices, protocols and processes in therapeutic responses to achieve better outcomes for everyone they work with. Kurbingui staff, partner agencies and community members have felt privileged working with the group members and their guests collaboratively and being a part of the successes of community members through cultural dance, song lines, stories and everyday practices.
In 2017, the elder men in the group identified a need for more support programs for young boys and men and with the support of group members and men within the community, Uncle John Johnson worked tirelessly with the Kurbingui grant writer researching, consulting and communicating with stakeholders and community to develop a model of an Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Men’s Shed suitable for the Men in the Brisbane North Community. This Men’s Shed will be located temporarily at Kurbingui Youth and Family Development.
Early 2018, they received notification from the Brisbane City Council that they were successful in receiving some seed funding to begin the project; yet another demonstration of the great outcomes the Elders Group have achieved throughout the last 4 years since they first got together. With the ongoing work, new projects and the achievements of the group, their guests and the community members so far there has been a new energy around and a strong sense of empowerment occurring. Members of the group also hold membership in other stakeholder, cultural, Elders and community groups and have expressed their continued commitment and desire to keep working and improving the lives of all Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander children, young people and their families in their local and broader communities which never ceases to amaze all those who are involved with them in whatever form.
The events planned for this year that they are currently planning so far include another Elders Gala Dinner in November, the Domestic & Family Violence Week of Action Events, a larger Elders Conference, and other partnership projects with stakeholders focused on improving the lives of families. For the update calendar of events organised by the Elders Group and the Men’s Shed, please to the calendar of community events.
Monday to Friday
9:00 am – 5:00 pm
*After Hours by Appointment Only.
425 Zillmere Road,
Zillmere QLD 4034
This program is self-funded by Kurbingui Youth & Family Development.