Mollie Dyer (1927- 1998)
Mollie Dyer was born of Yorta Yorta descent and she was instrumental in establishing the first Aboriginal Child Carte service in 1977 which later became the Victorian Aboriginal Child Care Agency (VACCA). Mollie became its first Program Director and lobbied extensively to government for greater Aboriginal community say over vulnerable and at risk children. Mollie fostered 20 children from Aboriginal communities in Victoria, as well as having six of her own. She advocated for the adoption legislation in Victoria to prevent Aboriginal families unnecessarily surrendering their children and was involved with the establishment of the Secretariat of National Aboriginal and Islander Child Care (SNAICC) in the early 1980s.
Mollie received an Advance Australia medal and an Order of Australia award for ‘her outstanding contribution to the advancement and enrichment of Australia, its people and its way of life’. Mollie’s amazing life story was recorded in her autobiography ‘Room for One More: the Life of Mollie Dyer’ which was launched in 2003.
Ron James is a Descendent of Yorta Yorta and Kurnai tribes and is currently employed by the Department of Human Services as the Hume Regions, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander , Family Decision Making (ATSI FDM ) Convenor.
Prior to his transfer to the ATSI, FDM position he was employed by the Department of Human Services in Melbourne in a number of Senior State-wide Management positions which included, Manager Koori Human Services Unit (Policy and Strategic Projects Division) , Manager Koori Health Unit (Public Health Branch) and State Coordinator Koori Early Childhood Education Program. In these positions he represented the Department on the following State and National Committees:
- Standing Committee of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health (SCATSIH), which is a Standing committee of the Australian Health Ministers Advisory Council (AHMAC).
- Deputy Chairperson, National Indigenous Environmental Health Council.
- Deputy Chairperson, National Indigenous Men’s Health Council
- National Indigenous Sexual Health Committee.
- Facilitator, National Indigenous Health Worker Journal Conference.
- Victorian Aboriginal Advisory Council on Koori Health.
He has also held Senior Management positions within the following State and Commonwealth Government Departments:
- Ministry of Education.
- Department of Social Security.
- Department of Employment, Education and Training .
- Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander (ATSI) Commission as an elected ATSI Regional Councillor holding positions of Deputy and Alternative Chairperson.
Fay is a respected Elder of the Yorta Yorta – Dja Dja Wurrung clans. She was born in Echuca in 1935 and spent her early years on the Cummeragunja Mission, later living in the Aboriginal Community outside Mooroopna. In 1973 Fay started work as a Field Officer for the Aborigines Advancement League (AAL), moving in 1982 to the Victorian Department of Social Security as an Aboriginal Liaison Officer, before returning to AAL in 1987 as the Community Development and Welfare Program Coordinator.
From 1974 -1990 she was a member of the Victorian Branch of National Aboriginal and Islander Day Observance Committee (NAIDOC) serving three years as Treasurer and five years as President.
Fay’s vision for her people has been realised by playing a major part in establishing the Aboriginal Community Elders Services (ACES) in East Brunswick in 1992. Fay became the first Manager of ACES and it is the first Aboriginal-managed community corporation in Australia that provides culturally relevant aged care services. ACES is now regarded as a national model for aged care services to Aboriginal Elders. Fay is currently retired but is heavily involved in native title by ensuring that the Traditional Owner rights of her people are protected.
Robert Nicholls is a respected Elder of the Yorta Yorta, Dja Dja Wurrung clans and has been an active Aboriginal community member for most of his working life. Robert has been a member and Director of a number of Aboriginal community organisations including the Aborigines Advancement League, Victorian Aboriginal Child Care Agency, Aboriginal Housing Board of Victoria and has been employed by both community and government. Robert has recently been heavily involved in native title whilst also being employed by the Department of Human Services in Hume.