29 April 2014
A History of Aboriginal Health Workers & Aboriginal Community Workers 1870–2013
By Kathy Abbott AHW and Rosie Elliott
Published by Black Wattle Consulting
The Alice Springs launch of History of Aboriginal Health Workers & Aboriginal Community Workers 1870–2013 was an emotional, moving event.
There were 80-90 people at the event: Aboriginal Health Workers and educators, Alice Springs Mayor Damien Ryan, John Patterson, CEO of AMSANT, Donna Ah Chee CEO of Congress, David Smith Chair of CARHDS (Central Australian Remote Health Development Service), General Practice Education NT Chair Dr Sam Heard and CEO Dr Brett Dale, and Adrian Renzi Ministerial Adviser for Central Australia (at request of the NT Minister for Health Robyn Lambley) and Karen Marshal from NT Medicare Local, and many more.
MC Maurie Ryan, Chair of the Central Land Council, called for a standing ovation for timeline authors Kathy Abbott AHW and Rosie Elliott, and with many speakers spoke of the inspirational role Arrende woman Kathy Abbott AHW had played in their own professional lives. There were tears.
Kathy Abbott spoke about her hopes and fears for the AHW movement, and expressed her concern that the critical role of community selected primary health care providers was being sidelined by concern for academic qualifications.
Ampilatawatja AHW Eileen Bonny E spoke about her role as an AHW in a remote community, her learning process working alongside other health professionals, and Ampilatawtaja Health Service CEO David Smith spoke about Eileen’s crucial role in providing health services.
Speakers included Donna Ah Chee, CEO of Central Australian Aboriginal Congress (CAAC), Lousie Dennis AHW Remote Health, David Smith Chair of CARHDS. There was much reflection all around.
John Patterson, AMSANT CEO, Eileen Bonny AHW and Kathy Abbott AHW then launched the poster and cut the sponge cake. Delicious.
There were thanks all around, including to CARHDS CEO Raelene Beale and CARHDS Chair David Smith for supporting the launch at their new IAD campus site.
Kathy Abbott said “We particularly want to thank CLC CEO Davis Ross advocacy for this timeline to Centrecorp and Yeperenye Shopping Centre. This gave us the funding to cover our costs and make sure communities get copies of this story.”
NT Medicare Local also provided funding support for the project. However the work for the poster was done entirely unpaid by Kathy and Rosie. A huge job.
Around 2000 copies of the poster are now being distributed to services and communities across the NT in the weeks after the launch. The CLC, AMSANT, Remote Health, CARHDS, Shire Councils and others will have copies to take to communities.
Author Rosie Elliott said: ”If you get a copy of this poster, make sure you laminate it or cover it with clear contact. You will have to do it at a commercial laminator. The poster won’t last long otherwise! It’s worth the $20-35 lamination cost and trouble!
Send your own stories and corrections back to the authors for a next edition. (It’s already started.)
In the week after the Alice Springs launch we have given over 600 copies to:
- Central Land Council
- AMSANT (for Central Australia services)
- NT Department of Health: Remote Health
- Central Australian Aboriginal Congress (CAAC)
- Nganampa Health
- Ngaanyatjarra Health Services
- NPY Women’s Council
- Tangentyere Council
- Western Macdonnell Shire Council
- Central Desert Shire Council
- NT Medicare Local
- Centre for Remote Health
- Yeperenye School
- Alice Springs Town Council
- Libraries: Alice Springs Library, Batchelor College Library, IAD Library
- Strehlow Centre
- The Purple House
- Flynn Drive Renal Unit
Others who wish to order the poster (laminated or unlaminated) can order online