The team

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Aunty Sue Blacklock

picture of Aunty Sue

Aunty Sue (Elder and Chair)

Aunty Sue is a respected Elder of the Nucoorilma people from Tingha, part of the Gamilaraay nation. She lives on her traditional homeland in Tingha, NSW. She has been a member of the Tingha Elders Council for over 10 years. She is mother of 8 and grandmother and great grandmother to over 65 children. She has also raised a multitude of foster and other children. As a senior Nucoorilma female Elder she fulfils a range of cultural roles and responsibilities, including care for local sacred and historical sites, training young people in cultural stories and practices. She has a strong history of community work and support for her people. Sue has worked tirelessly in community work, education and health programs, running woman’s camps, DV workshops, personal support programs, alcohol and other drug programs, police cell watch programs and a breadth of cultural programs. She initiated a local Gamilaraay language revitalisation program in Tingha and has recently begun conducting welcome to country speeches in her own language. 

Sue is a descendent of one of the survivors of the Myall Creek Massacre. She had a key role in establishing the Myall Creek Memorial which has recently been awarded protection and heritage status both nationally and in NSW. Her reconciliation work was featured on national TV’s ABC’s “Australia Story”

 Sue is also one of 6 prominent Koori woman featured in ‘yinalung yenu’ a permanent display at the Powerhouse museum in Sydney for her community work for Aboriginal people.

 She feels Aboriginal children and young people are key to the future of Aboriginal people. However she is deeply concerned about the number of Aboriginal young people who are in care and was central in encouraging the development of the Winangay Resources project.


 Karen Menzies

BSW (Newcastle) MSW (Newcastle) M Med Sci (Newcastle).

Karen Menzies (Vice Chair)

Karen currently works as a Lecturer with the Wollotuka Institute at the University of Newcastle. She has a Bachelor and Master of Social Work, and also a Master of Medical Science. She is currently doing a PhD through the Children and Research Centre, Macquarie University. 

 Karen is an Aboriginal woman from the Wonnarua people in the Hunter Valley. She has an extensive background in child protection, education, health and human rights services. Karen has worked with a range of government and non-government departments regarding the emotional and social well-being, health and welfare of people in Aboriginal people and communities for over twenty five years. Karen was the social worker on the Bringing them Home Report team.

 Karen has a substantial experience in organisational change and professional development, and has highly developed project management skills. Her knowledge is underpinned by a theoretical framework about culturally competence and valuing diversity, coaching and mentoring models of practice, systems analysis, human resource issues, group dynamics, motivational concepts, professional supervision, social justice principles and organisational behaviour literature. Her social work practice focuses on ways that build the capacity of service providers so that their strengths, resources, skills, and competencies enhance effective service delivery and quality human services programs.


Paula Hayden

Paula Hayden

A social worker for over 25 years, Paula has considerable experience working in Child Protection and OOHC in the UK and Australia During the last ten years her focus primary focus has been on training and development, in this role she co-wrote a competency based assessment tool (Step by Step) and a training package for foster carers(Shared Stories Shared Lives) both tools are in use across Australia In recent years Paula’s interests have extended to Kinship Care, she was commissioned by the Benevolent Society to write a Kinship Care Assessment tool the Raising Our Children Kinship Care assessment tool is currently in the process of being piloted.

 Paula has had a long standing commitment to working with Aboriginal people in the NGO and government sector, via health, and community services

 Paula has presented at national and international conferences and is a sought after training and development consultant in a diverse range of areas. 


Gillian Bonser

Gillian Bonser

Gillian Bonser has been involved in the fields of community services, education, training and research for over 35 years. Gillian is a lateral thinker with the ability to see things from a variety of perspectives and synthesise complex information in new and ‘simple’ ways. She specialises in conveying information in graphic and visual formats.  She has developed a range of innovative and accessible resources.

 Gillian has a particular interest in mentoring, team and organisational development and practical ways to implement new knowledge and skills in the workplace. She is a specialist in process facilitation, having worked for the last 15 years as a consultant to government departments, community agencies, and private enterprise organisations.  She has managed a multitude of state and national projects that have involved liaising and networking with industry, peak organisations, unions and a variety of large and small community service organisations.

 Gillian has managed a range of Aboriginal programs and regularly mentors 2 Aboriginal organisations (one in Western Sydney and one in the small NSW rural township of Tingha).  She supports the Gamilaraay language program in Tingha and is passionate about seeing positive change as defined and directed by Aboriginal people.


 Flic Ryan

Felicity Ryan

Felicity (Flic) Ryan is a Wadi Wadi and Wamba Wamba woman and her mother’s  family are Murray River people from Victoria.

 She has spent 13 years working within both State and Local Government areas and her previous roles include Women and Children’s Refuge Worker, Child  Protection Officer, Community Development Officer, HIV Care and Support  Officer and Sexual Health Worker.

 Flic is an accredited trainer and now specialises in the development and  delivery of high quality face-to-face training packages designed around  Cultural Competency, Aboriginal Health and Employment, Child Protection and Out of Home Care. She is particularly interested in helping Aboriginal people up-skill within the workforce and has also tailored packages around Facilitating Workshops and Self-Care for Aboriginal workers.

 With a diverse range of experience, her style of delivery is inclusive and dynamic, she communicates with sensitivity and humour.



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