“The spirit in Aboriginal people is very strong. I look at the world and I also see that I am a child of the universe. We are all children of the universe. All around the world there are people of different colours, from different races and we all make up the framework of the universe. We are the human element of the world. What we have to remember is that the spirit works right through. It comes from the earth. Women get it from the earth. They feel it. It works right through, from the inside out. People need to be more spiritually inclined. I am part of the oldest country in the world and I belong to the oldest culture. I am proud of that. … In terms of what I’d like to see in the future, well, there’s one thing our people have to learn, and that’s how to live with each other. We have to do that first before we can live with other people. Reconcile with ourselves first and then we can move forward together. We need to make a plan, understand we are part of the rest of the world, part of the universe—we belong in the bigger picture. When we understand that, then the gates will open… that’s what we have to do as Nyungar elders, pass the heritage on. That’s always been the ongoing flow of life.”
Kenneth Desmond Colbung AM MBE also known as Nundjan Djiridjarkan 2 Sep 1931 – 12 Jan 2010
ABOUT THE NAC
Our Noongar Advisory Circle exists to ensure our respectful connection to this place, to its people and to the cultural bedrock of Noongar Boodjar remains strong.
Comprised of members with a range of qualifications and lived experiences in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander arts practice, the Noongar Advisory Circle brings together expert industry knowledge from well-respected story holders, performers, language & land caretakers, visual artists, and organisation representatives.
Our Noongar Advisory Circle meet four times a year and are compensated for their valuable time and knowledge – knowledge which collectively spans approximately 185 years.
The NAC meet each quarter at the Perth Festival office with our Associate Artist, Kylie Bracknell, Artistic Director, Iain Grandage and Executive Producer, Rachael Whitworth, to determine the best navigational approach for each individual event and creative exercise.
Please read about our NAC Noongar community members below.
Vivienne is a Balladong Wadjuk yorga from the Bibbulmun Nation, or Noongar people, of the south-west of Western Australia. After a childhood of learning about traditional medicine, Vivienne undertook formal training at the Marr Mooditj Foundation and completed Certificate IV in Bush and Western Herbal Medicine. She was also the first Indigenous member of the National Herbalist Association of Australia, and presented at the 7th International Conference on Herbal Medicine in 2010. Vivienne is passionate about Noongar language & culture and engages in select opportunities to share her knowledge.
Mitchella is a prominent Aboriginal businesswoman and mother of four children. She is the eldest grandchild of Vilma and George Webb who bestowed upon her the responsibility of cultural caretaker and knowledge sharer. Mitchella was a presenter on GWN7’s Milbindi program and has lectured at Western Australian university’s on Indigenous topics and issues. She is a foster parent to over twenty children, manages her business, Waljin Consultancy, and created an online learning package for Indigenous cultural awareness training. Mitchella wants community values to be rediscovered by caring for community and country and believes building a healthy community is essential to tackling many issues affecting people in the South West of Western Australia.
Carol is the manager of aboriginal cultural heritage & arts at the Metropolitan Redevelopment Authority (MRA). She was previously employed at the South West Aboriginal Land & Sea Council (SWALC) for nine years, where she worked on projects that maintained Noongar involvement in many areas through Native Title. Prior to this, Ms Innes spent 11 years working in the arts sector, around Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander arts. She is experienced in the government sector, at both State and Federal levels, and in the community arts sector.
Barry is a Balladong, Wadjuk, Noongar who is highly regarded as a public speaker, facilitator and negotiator. Barry has worked as a consultant and cultural advisor for Local, State, and Federal Government. In addition to his role as Managing Director of Redspear Safety and Chairman to Safespear Pty Ltd, he has previously served on the board of Reconciliation WA. He is currently a member of the cultural advisory board to the Chevron Corporation and he is a Director to the Spear Foundation a not for profit organisation providing cultural understanding and support to organisations working with the Aboriginal community in the metro areas. This allows him to exercise his passion for sharing cultural understanding and safety across all nations of Australia.
Dr Richard Walley OAM is a Noongar man and one of Australia’s leading Aboriginal performers, musicians and writers. Richard is a working director of his family-owned business, Aboriginal Productions and Promotions, which delivers cultural awareness and learning programs and has been in operation for over 25 years.Richard is a committed leader in the promotion of Noongar culture, and has extensive experience working alongside Australian and international organisations as a cultural consultant and presenter.Richard lectures on Aboriginal culture at UWA and is a regular host and participant at significant public and cultural events in Perth and the South West. In 1978, Richard formed the Middar Aboriginal Theatre which has since taken Noongar culture to 32 countries. It is estimated more than 10 million people have experienced a live performance from Middar, contributing to the company’s win of the 1988 Gold Swan Tourism Award. In 2015, Richard was named a State Living Treasure from the Western Australia Department of Culture and the Arts for his lifetime contribution to arts and culture.
Roma has worked significantly in Indigenous education and the arts where she is continuously working with promoting Noongar language and cultural activities and has translated many children’s songs into Noongar. She has extensive language skills and is presently employed as a Noongar language teacher at Western Australia’s Moorditj College, and as the Elder-in-Residence at Edith Cowan University. She is also is currently on the Board of Sister Kate’s Home Kids Aboriginal Corporation (SKHKAC), and is a member of the Wirlomin Language and Stories Inc. Cultural Elders Reference Group. Roma was awarded the Barry Hayward Outstanding Achievement Aboriginal Individual Award, 2005. She has delivered sessions at conferences on language such as the Connecting with Aboriginal Languages Conference in 2007, in Hawaii; the World Indigenous Suicide Prevention conference in New Zealand in 2016; and the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Suicide Prevention conference/World Indigenous Suicide Prevention conference in Perth in 2018.
Roma sat on the Department of Education’s Curriculum Council in setting standards and educational expectations for Noongar language taught at secondary and TEE levels. Roma was the language and cultural consultant on the play Yibiyung written by her daughter Dallas Winmar. She has also worked as senior language editor for the Noongar Shakespeare Project. Roma, under the name of Yibiyung, has worked with the Carrolup School of artists as adults. Biographical cuttings on Yibiyung as an artist in her own right are housed in the National Library of Australia in Canberra as a contemporary Noongar artist. She has a passion for passing on family histories to the next generation through research and storytelling.