Aunty Heather Castledine – Acting Co-Chair
I am a proud Murri (Aboriginal) woman. Born into Hooper Family at St George & raised in Charleville on the bank of the Warrego River. My family (Kent) moved from my tribal country to follow work for my father (Joe Kent). As a younger person, I worked in the outback for 27 years on Cattle & Sheep stations, shearing sheds & Earth moving camps at the back of Bourke. While studying at University for my Bachelor degree I was carer for my ex-husband for number of years who had a mental health disorder/disability, which gave me experience of the other side of mental disorders. For the past 4 years I have worked for Queensland Health with Child& Youth Mental Health Service as an Indigenous Cultural Consultant to team of 35 clinicians.
I have Bachelor of Social Work, Certificate IV in Indigenous Leadership, Certificate of Attendance to Attachment Theory & Practice Relevance for Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islanders Peoples, Statement of Completion A& TSI Cultural Awareness Facilitator Training, Outstanding Achievement for Reconciliation Learning Circle Kit, Certificate of Participation in Applied Suicide Intervention Skills & Statement of Attainment Senior First Aid & I also attend a Women’s Workshop on Grief and Loss.
I have always worked with the belief of bridging the gap and understanding with Reconciliation in my heart and growing as equals together as one. I believe in reconciliation and consider we need to develop an understanding of all cultures that make up the island we call our country of Australia, that we love and want to share with the world not just one culture but many. Take into consideration the first settler to come to this land. They were the stolen generations of England, Scotland, Ireland & Wales removed because of criminal offences to their culture. They were sent here for life, not only their lives but for their descents, in country so alien to their home land and placed with culture so different from their own culture/ society. Yes, we need to join together and take time to respect and understand who we are and where to from here.
Peter Jackson – Co-Chair
Peter has been an active member of the Samford Reconciliation Group and RQI since 1995 and is currently in his twelfth year as Co-Chair for Reconciliation Queensland Inc.
In his professional capacity prior to his retirement, Peter held the position of Project Manager for Statewide Professional Development in the Department of Education Training and the Arts. Before joining the Queensland Government he worked for many years in the television broadcasting industry as an employee of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation and in earlier years for a national commercial network.
Throughout his career Peter has had the opportunity to liaise, consult and develop mutually respectful and rewarding personal and professional relationship with Aboriginal peoples and Torres Strait Islander peoples in a large number of remote, rural and urban communities in every Australian State and Territory.
Peter is committed towards social justice for all people and fully supports the principles of Reconciliation. On a personal basis Peter and his wife enjoy all the benefits of having a very diverse and extended multicultural family.
Mick Bruhwiller – Treasurer
Mick is an active member of several not-for-profit organisations either as Treasurer or on the executive committee. His initial involvement with Reconciliation Queensland Inc. was at the invitation of the current Co-chair, Peter Jackson, as at that time the RQI Management Committee saw a need to have this position filled by a person with a strong accounting background.
Mick is a Fellow of the Institute of Professional Accountants with experience in two levels of government and with St Vincent’s Health Care. He also has extensive experience in auditing, being a retired member of the professional institute, and has set up, reconstructed, managed and maintained accounting records for several not-for-profit organisations.
Mick has subsequently been voted in as the Treasurer and as a member of RQI’s Executive Management Committee at recent AGMs and he has now held this position for the past three years.
Mick is a proud member of a very multicultural family and supports and believes in the principles of Reconciliation.
Linda Harnett – Secretary
Linda Harnett has worked in the Community Services sector since 1977 as both professional and volunteer.
She was appointed Manager of Bayside Family Day Care in the year 2000, after more than a decade as Coordinator with the organisation.
Her leadership commitment to the principles of reconciliation led Bayside Family Day Care to became the first Australian early childhood education and care organisation to develop and implement a Reconciliation Action Plan.
The Reconciliation Art Exhibition which accompanied the Bayside Reconciliation Action Plan Launch has been displayed at several regional venues, including the 2012 International Family Day Care Conference and the Annual Workforce Council Conference.
At the International Family Day Care Conference, Linda presented the results of an Action Research Project, which resulted in a significant increase in the cultural competence of Bayside Family Day Care early years educators, evidenced by more inclusion of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island cultural content in their early years learning programs.
With Linda as Scheme Manager, Bayside Family Day Care achieved four consecutive ‘High Quality’ Accreditation Ratings, the highest and most coveted quality rating, from the previous National Childcare Accreditation Council.
In 2012, Bayside Family Day Care was named a Finalist for the Justice Michael Kirby Award for Inclusiveness by the Workforce Council Innovation Awards, and was a State Finalist for ‘Early Childhood Service of the Year’ from the Australian Family Early Education and Care Awards.
Previously, Linda worked as Residential Program Office with Disability Services, Youth Worker with children coming into the care of the Department of Families through the court system, and Support Worker with homeless adults.
Linda has also held a number of community positions including Elected Member of the Social and Community Services Industry Board, Past President of the Redlands Domestic Violence Service, and Community Representative on the Bayside Health Service District Research Ethics Committee.
In May 2003, Linda was awarded an Australian Centenary Medal by the Commonwealth Government for ‘Distinguished Services to Early Childhood Education.’ Linda’s formal qualifications include a Bachelor of Community Welfare (James Cook University, 1993) and a Master of Arts in Women’s Studies (Griffith University, 1998).
Maurice Serico – Committee Member
Maurice is an Aboriginal man of Gubbi Gubbi, Jiman and UK Australian heritage. He completed his BA in philosophy and English literature at University of Queensland in 1979. Since 1980 he has worked in Aboriginal Affairs including in the office of the Minister for Aboriginal Affairs and a variety of positions in Aboriginal health, eduction and TAFE and human resources in both the public and community sectors. Maurice combines his roles of Co-Chair of RQI and Chair of Balaangala Community Group (The Gap) while managing a chronic kidney condition. Maurice participates in supporting the kidney health community.
Mark Baumgart – Committee Member
Mark has been involved in the Indigenous community most of his life, having served several years as a Queensland Reconciliation Consultant and held executive roles on the Governing Committee of Link-Up Queensland.
Mark works as a Senior Advisor with Main Roads specialising on managing Indigenous programs/events including the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Education toward Employment Scholarship Scheme. He also holds the current Indigenous Co-Chair position with the Queensland Sorry Day Journey of Healing Network (QSDJoHN) QSDJoHN is the Queensland affiliated body to the National Sorry Day Committee. This Network has a long history of assisting with the organising of annual National Sorry Day events held in Brisbane. The purpose and objectives of this Network is to progress the unfinished Sorry Day business and commemorative events with the view of assisting with bringing together ‘Stolen Generations’, their families and the general community across Queensland.
Mark has recently found out who his people are and where his homelands are. He is proud to now acknowledge his Cultural Heritage and Traditional Homelands: Woolwonga, North East of Katherine, up to Pine Creek, as far as the Kakadu National Park, Northern Territory. Mark’s personal drive and passion is to assist with the reconnection of families because for a long period of his young life he grew up without family. Mark’s personal motivation also comes from the memories of some of his aunties and uncles from Darwin who were members of the Stolen Generations.
Rosali Raciti – Committee Member
My initial involvement with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and their families was in 1972 when I was teacher in charge at the newly established kindergarten at Palm Island. My commitment to Indigenous issues continued through a career in education, with responsibilities for Early Childhood, Arts and Reconciliation, until my retirement in 2005.
My committee involvement has included the following organisations: SE Qld NAIDOC, Under Eights’ Week, Qld Children’s Week, Australian Early Childhood Association, Australian Association of Early Childhood Educators, Save the Children, Qld Women in the Public Service, Reconciliation Queensland and Diversity in Child Care Qld. I have been actively involved in the planning of Cultural Sharing Days for the early childhood sector for many years. Cultural activities and experiences are offered to young children within a culturally inclusive environment.
I am keen to see the membership base of RQI expand to include a greater number of Local Reconciliation Groups throughout Queensland. My interest in the visual and performing arts sees an opportunity for Reconciliation to take place through these media and I have worked to create an active partnership between RQI and Indigenous arts organisations in Qld. I see Reading for Reconciliation programs as another pathway towards Reconciliation and have been involved with a Reconciliation Reading Group for two years.
I believe that active networking and partnerships with other organisations and businesses is essential for the future growth and development of RQI.
Simon Brooks – Committee Member
Simon Brooks is a public relations and communications professional, with more than two decades experience in government and non-profit sectors and the entertainment industry. He is a member of the Public Relations Institute of Australia; the Media, Entertainment and Arts Alliance; and is a ‘Writer – Full Member’ of the Australian Performing Right Association.
Simon works for a leading, non-profit health organisation in Brisbane, where he has been a strong advocate for reconciliation and was a founding member of its Reconciliation Committee (formed in 2010). Simon takes pride in supporting efforts to close the gap in health outcomes between Australia’s First Nations peoples and its non-Indigenous inhabitants, and has on numerous occasions secured media coverage of Indigenous success stories in national newspapers.
Prior to arriving in Queensland in 2008, Simon had been employed as a communications officer with the Australian Government Department of Health and Ageing in Sydney, where he worked closely with the Office for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health.
Simon immigrated to Australia from England as a child and, as the son of an RAAF serviceman, he had the opportunity to spend several years growing up in Malaysia and Papua New Guinea, where he first gained his appreciation of cultural diversity. He has served in the Australian Regular Army, has worked as a civilian for the Department of Defence, and has extensive experience in federal, state and local politics.
Uncle Bill Buchanan – Committee Member
Uncle Bill Buchanan is a descendant of the Kooma/Gwamu First Nation Peoples of SW Qld, a former Aboriginal Co-Chair and State Coordinator (Constitutional Recognition Coalition) at Reconciliation Queensland (RQI). Uncle Bill is a serving Aboriginal Elder/Respected Person of the Murri Courts in Queensland and an Ambassador of the National Indigenous Cancer Network (NICaN).
Uncle Bill is also acknowledged as a strategic and conceptual thinker with keen interests in the application of corporate social responsibility investment strategies to achieve reconciliation and equity. He is keen to see all levels of business and government adopt the key recommendations of the recent ‘State of Reconciliation in Australia’ report into their corporate programs and practise.
As a community elder Uncle Bill acknowledges the great potential of the World Indigenous Nations University (WINU) developed in 2013 under the Charter of the United Nations can also have in progressing reconciliation priorities for our First Nation Peoples. With the WINU now establishing its presence here in Australia, it is an important time to coordinate investment and to accelerate the revitalisation and restoration of the academy of Australia’s many First Nation Peoples particularly in the key areas of traditional knowledges, cultural governance and languages.
Uncle Bill is a long serving member of RQI and has significant experience in developing and integrating Reconciliation Action Plans (RAPs) as well as implementing the “Narragunnawali: Reconciliation in Schools and Early Learning” programs for Queensland schools and early learning institutions. He has also significant experience working in the community, government and private sectors as an Indigenous business facilitator, strategic policy advisor, program manager, cultural competence/cultural safety trainer and complexity management practitioner.
Margret Ross – Committee Member
I came to live on the Sunshine Coast in January 2010. Not long after that I got involved in the Sunshine Coast Reconciliation Group. Being involved in the SCRG has taken me on a journey of discovery. The first and most valuable experience I had was a result of volunteering to help with the Deadly Homework Crew at Golden Beach school. Fiona Peacock, who was a recipient of the Pearl Duncan Scholarship as a student teacher and who is now a fully qualified teacher, is passionate about education, especially for Indigenous children, and about connecting them with their heritage. She has 3 homework clubs operating now in the Caloundra area and they are sponsored by the Caloundra CWA, Caloundra RSL and Senator Claire Moore – but it took our personal generosity and Fiona’s dogged perseverance to get to this stage.
I learnt so very much from Indigenous visitors Fiona invited along to share their knowledge with the children when the homework was completed e.g. Jandamarra Cadd, Kerry Neill, Peter Mulcahy – Artists, Story Tellers and Teachers of Culture. That was the beginning of my journey of spiritual connection and understanding of the culture and heritage of the First Peoples which still continues thanks to excellent mentoring from Aunty Betty McMahon; and Our Shared History seminars conducted by the SCRG thanks to a sub committee of Colin Neville, Natalie Holmes, Kim Price (SC Regional Council liaison) under the guidance of Meredith Walker.
I also learnt enough during that time to take advantage of the opportunity to make acquaintance with people like Uncle Bob Anderson (Ngugi Elder from Mulgumpin in Quandamooka, South East Qld) and Lara Watson (neice of Sam Watson). I look forward to more learning from, and experiences with, the First Peoples of this great southern land via the RQI committee and RQI activities.
Stephen Mam – Committee Member
Stephen Mam was born and raised in Brisbane, Queensland. He is of Torres Strait Islander descent and is heavily influenced by his multicultural knowledge and experiences. Throughout the years, Stephen has extended his knowledge of culture and multiculturalism through travel, having travelled extensively through Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, China, Europe and Egypt.
He explored these interests, studying Social Science, majoring in Development and minoring in Environment and Society at the University of Queensland.
He has been employed in a range of industries, including culture, community, health, information communications technology (ICT), economics, and publishing & events, among others.
From 2000 to 2003, Stephen worked as the Coordinator of Wagga Torres Strait Islanders Dance Company Pty. Ltd. and Brisbane Metro South CDEP. He also spent three years as an economic analyst for the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) in Canberra, and more recently worked as part of the Indigenous engagement for the Australian Census.
Stephen is currently extending his interest in the community as the conceptual designer, founder, publisher and managing director of SIBW multicultural publishing & events.
Other Committee Members include:
Aunty Betty McMahon – Committee Member
Maria Peachy – Committee Member
Denise Proud – Committee Member, Education & Community Liaison
Colin Neville – Committee Member
Yvette Salam – Committee Member
Nathan Williams – Committee Member