Albany’s Most Influential — the cultural champion

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Menang elder Vernice Gillies with her 2019 Senior Community Citizen of the Year award.
Camera IconMenang elder Vernice Gillies with her 2019 Senior Community Citizen of the Year award. Credit: Laurie Benson

Vernice Gillies retired some years ago now — or so we’re led to believe.

The Menang elder, formerly a child protection case work manager and peer support worker at Albany Regional Prison, is still heavily involved with the Albany community.

Just this month, she featured in the Albany Advertiser in a story about tours she was running for the Museum of the Great Southern to teach people about the flora, fauna and language associated with Quaranup.

In June, Mrs Gillies was appointed to the board of the Great Southern Development Commission

In February, she opened Kurrah Mia with her son Larry Blight, and Ron and Justine Grey.

Kurrah Mia is a cultural arts store which supports local indigenous artists and offers educational tours of the Albany region.

And in January, she was named Albany’s Senior Citizen of the Year for her dedication to protecting the region’s indigenous heritage.

That is six months in the life of Mrs Gillies through the lens of the Albany Advertiser.

She has also served as the chairwoman of Albany’s Aboriginal Heritage Reference Group, the Museum of the Great Southern’s Aboriginal education liaison officer, and as a member of the WA Aboriginal Justice Committee.

She is passionate in her belief that the best way to protect Noongar culture and country is to teach people about it and get them inspired.

Click here for the full Albany’s Most Influential list.

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