Born in Bunbury, I grew up in rural Western Australia and my community-based work has included extensive experience in Aboriginal health, education and social services. My Dad was, Ian Bennell, – a Nyoongar man from the south-west of the State who later became the first person in our family to go to university – was at first a railway worker, and I spent my early years moving with family from country town to country town in the South West.
My mother came from the Mirruwong-Gajerrong people of the Kimberley, and my maternal grandmother grew up with the pioneering Durack family in the Kimberley. “I’m from a very large Noongar family.
I have an undergraduate Bachelor of Social Science (Indigenous services) from Edith Cowan University and a Master of Arts in Indigenous Social Policy, from the University of Technology, Sydney. Along with these tertiary qualifications I have many years of experience at senior management level. I recently was the Director of the Oorala Aboriginal Centre at the University of New England. In this position, I was responsible for the day to day operations of the Centre, the Aboriginal student experience and strategic directions of the University in relation to Aboriginal education.
Having recently moved back home after 5 years away on the East Coast, I am thrilled to be able to work with the staff and board of the Language centre. I look forward to the challenge.