NSW Aboriginal Woman of the Year
Associate Professor Faye McMillan
Education has indeed been a feature of Associate Professor Faye McMillan’s life. A Wiradjuri yinaa (woman) from Trangie, in NSW’s central west, Faye is Director of the Djirruwang Program – Bachelor of Health Science (Mental Health) at Charles Sturt University.
As well as her Doctorate of Health Science, Master of Indigenous Health Studies and Bachelor of Pharmacy, Faye has graduate certificates in Wiradjuri language culture and heritage and indigenous governance.
Alongside her esteemed career in academia, Faye is proud mother to Kye and Ethan and she runs a business, Australian Patrol Vehicles Pty Ltd, with her three siblings.
Faye is a board member holding various roles for the Murrumbidgee Primary Health Network and the University of Notre Dame Australia Wagga Wagga Clinical School as well as previously with Indigenous Allied Health Australia. She is also an Atlantic Fellow, which is a global community of leaders collaborating to advance equity, opportunity and human dignity.
Faye was recognised in The Australian Financial Review and Westpac 100 Women of Influence in 2014 and by Who's Who of Australian Women in 2017.
Julie Shelley is a proud Kamilaroi woman who has lived and worked in the Western Sydney Aboriginal community for more than 48 years. She has been married for 31 years and has four children and four grandchildren.
Starting out as a volunteer phone counsellor for WestCare in Penrith, Julie has worked in Aboriginal support worker, liaison and counselling roles for many years. She has been at New Street Sydney Service as Aboriginal Counsellor for over six years.
Julie continued to work while obtaining her qualifications in Master of Social Work, Bachelor Health Science (Mental Health), Graduate Diploma in Aboriginal Family and Community Counselling and has recently completed an Advanced Diploma of Specialist Aboriginal Trauma Counselling. Is an Accredited Clinical Counsellor for the (NSW Child Sex Offender Counsellors Accreditation Scheme). She says, ‘I never want to stop learning. I believe education is the most powerful tool you can use to make positive and lasting change.’
A member of Indigenous Allied Health Australia, Julie has generously given her time and expertise to many working groups and committees organizations – too numerous to list – in roles such as national delegate, secretary, treasurer and vice chair. She has consulted to the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse. Julie’s contribution to Aboriginal health also won her an Acknowledgement Award at the NSW Aboriginal Health Workers Forum and is the current chair of The Aboriginal Communities Matter Advisory Group (ACMAG) for the Education Center Against Violence.
Julie is a strong advocate for members of the Stolen Generation, of which she is a member herself.
Fondly known as Aunty, Mum or Ma, Selena Archibald is a much-admired educator who has been supporting students at Morisset High School since 1999.
Founder and role model for Aboriginal education at her school, Selena supports Indigenous adolescents grappling with 21st-century issues and school demands, who are also exploring their cultural identity. She shows them options for their future and coordinates educational and cultural programs to support all students and staff. There were tears the day her first group finished Year 12 and obtained their Higher School Certificates.
Selena works tirelessly above her role description. She sees the students as more than just her job and the students say she pushes them further than they ever thought they’d go. The many commendations about Selena speak of someone who ensures everything in these young people’s lives points them toward success: from seeing they are fed and cared for, to also making sure they feel capable and accomplished. ‘Education would not be the same without her’, one student said. Another commented that without her they would not have become one of the first Aboriginal school captains, ‘She helped me break through my shyness to become a public speaker and a leader. These attributes are still core to my being today’.