Allan Scott Auditorium, Hawke Building, UniSA City West Campus MAP
Presented by The Bob Hawke Prime Ministerial Centre and the Office of the Pro Vice Chancellor: Aboriginal Leadership and Strategy, UniSA


Join our panel of experts who will discuss the need for a two-way education system that recognises and respects the cultures, languages and identities of Aboriginal children and young people, as set out in Article 14 of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Aboriginal Peoples.

Local Aboriginal Elders, who have been at the forefront of the fight for the right to be educated, and have worked in the education system over the last 50 years, share their thoughts and hopes for the younger generations of Aboriginal children and youth, particularly those who are being left behind. Their fight now is for a fair and equitable education process that provides a rounded education for all young people, whatever their capability and diversity.     

Panellists will include members of Purkarninthi, UniSA Elders in Residence, Professor Lester-Irabinna Rigney AM and Professor Irene Watson as Moderator.

Presented by The Bob Hawke Prime Ministerial Centre and the Office of the Pro Vice Chancellor: Aboriginal Leadership and Strategy, UniSA, this panel discussion is an opportunity to hear about the future of Aboriginal Education, local and national issues of significance, and the extensive work of the Panellists to inform public knowledge and awareness.

This event will be presented LIVE in the University of South Australia's Allan Scott Auditorium to a limited audience. For this reason, REGISTRATIONS ARE ESSENTIAL All registered attendees will be required to sign-in and confirm contact details, as a requirement of our COVID-safe plan. Please stay at home if you are unwell or have any COVID-19 symptoms - see SA Health website for more information. We thank you in advance for your thoughtful and responsible cooperation.





crockerLynette Alice Crocker (nee Smith) is a Ngangki Burka, a Senior Kaurna Woman. She is a Traditional Owner and named applicant on the Local Government and Kaurna Indigenous Land Use Agreement and named applicant Kaurna Native Title Claim / Apical Ancestor Group (Nellie Reminemn AKA Mary Monarto).

Aunty Lynette is a retiree and volunteer on a wide range of community & local government committees including the areas of reconciliation, education, natural resources, conservation, native title, cultural heritage, Elders assembly, the Arts & architecture, law, and health. Her roles include executive committee, board, and foundation membership, and advisor and consultant. 

Aunty Lynette has participated in the development of Reconciliation Action Plans for the Campbelltown, Adelaide and Marion City Councils and she displays a great commitment to reconciliation working with Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal communities over the past 30 years.

Her passion is Community Development in particular the wellbeing of our mother earth and the wellbeing of her people, whilst her focus is the true telling of the history of our space and place and our position in the universe.



Uncle Kym (Harold) Kropinyeri is a Ngarrindjeri man born at Point McLeay Mission in the Coorong region of South Australia. He is currently working on writing the autobiography of his renown uncle, David Unaipon, with whom he lived as a child.

Uncle Kym has an extensive knowledge of Ngarrindjeri culture which he learnt from an early age, sitting quietly & listening to his Elders. It is a practice that he still maintains, and it has had a profound influence on his life. His in-depth knowledge of Ngarrindjeri country, language, culture, history, and genealogies is a testament to his respect for the old people and the old ways.

As an artist Uncle Kym has been painting for more than 40 years, having learnt to paint in a boy's home in the 1960's. His artwork often depicts his country and its flora & fauna, and he has exhibited & sold his works nationally and internationally. 



Uncle Lewis Yarlupurka O’Brien is a senior Kaurna Elder, educator, advisor, and mentor, and writer & speaker of the Kaurna language. He has been an Adjunct Research Fellow at UniSA since 2006.

He is widely regarded as a leader of reconciliation and custodian of Kaurna culture. Uncle Lewis continues to be involved, active, and informed across all issues regarding Aboriginal peoples and is a leading light for all South Australians.

He is the recipient of many awards and honours:

1995: Telecom Advance Australia Award of Merit
1997: NAIDOC Elder of the Year
2000: Port Adelaide Enfield Council Elder of the Year
2003: “Local Hero” Metropolitan Australia Day Awards
2003: Centenary Medal (2001)
2004: Fellow of the University of SA
2008: World Harmony Run Torch-Bearer Award
2009: Citizen of Humanity (National Committee of Human Rights)
2011: Honorary Doctorate Flinders University
2014: Officer of the Order of Australia Medal (AO)
2018: Australian Council for Educational Leaders (ACEL) Award
2019: South Australian Life-Long History Achievement Award



Narungga-Kaurna, Dr & Elder, Uncle Dookie O'Loughlin grew up at Point Pearce Mission on the Yorke Peninsula.

He has been an educator, coordinator, trainer, and mentor, who has developed & implemented programs for Aboriginal studies & cultural tourism, including educational resources and publications, and was a devoted teacher at Tauondi College for many years.

Uncle Dookie is a storyteller, cultural consultant, and a champion for cultural understanding and valuing of Aboriginal knowledges.

He has received many awards in recognition of his work, including a 2006 Order of Australia for Reconciliation and Aboriginal studies and was NAIDOC Scholar of the Year in 1993.

He has served on numerous committees for Aboriginal advancement.

In 2017 Uncle Dookie received an Honorary Doctorate from the University of South Australia for his contribution (over 50 years) to Aboriginal Education.



Arrernte man, David Rathman, was born and raised in Port Augusta, South Australia and is a distinguished public servant of 38 years, a Member of the Order of Australia, and a Public Service Medal recipient.

Uncle David now works as a consultant in Aboriginal affairs and education, community development and management, cultural studies, and communication. As an education administrator he worked for Aboriginal students and students who are on the margins of mainstream, being an advocate and changing system thinking and practice.

From 1976 through to 2014 he held a number of public services positions across South Australia, including; Aboriginal Community Worker; Senior Aboriginal Community Worker (Staff Development);  a member of the Australian Government Committee advising on the future of Aboriginal education; Director, Office of Aboriginal Affairs; Chief Executive, Department of State Aboriginal Affairs; Executive Director, Aboriginal Education and Employment Services; and Executive Director Student, Aboriginal and Family Services.

Uncle David was involved in Community development and growing community capacity through people power. As a professional trainer, cultural understanding and changing practice through conducting workshops has been an important part of his role to improve outcomes and ensure an inclusive mindset exists within the wider community.

He continues to serve the Aboriginal community in South Australia as a member of both the Aboriginal Legal Rights Movement Board and the Board of the South Australian Museum, and as Chair of the Aboriginal Advisory Committee. He operates a small consultancy which has undertaken work for several Government agencies, non-Government groups and private sector companies.

Uncle David was awarded the Public Service Medal in 1993 and is a Fellow of the Australian Institute of Managers and Leaders.  On Australia Day in 2000, he was made a Member of the Order of Australia (AM), receiving his medal for services to Aboriginal Affairs, particularly for the delivery of SA Government services in the areas of education and community welfare. He was also awarded a Centenary Medal by the Australian Government. In 2020 Uncle David was appointed Ambassador for the Aboriginal Art & Cultures Centre (AACC) currently in development at Lot 14.



Roslyn May Weetra (nee Branson) was born in Alice Springs in 1949 and she is a Narungga, Ngadjuri, Eastern Arrernte & Kaurna woman.

She was brought up at Pine Point on the Yorke Peninsula and later moved to Port Adelaide; she married and had 3 children; and now has 10 grandchildren and 12 great grandchildren. 

In 1999 Aunty Roslyn graduated from Underdale with a Diploma in Aboriginal Studies and a Bachelor of Arts degree. She has worked in roles as an Aboriginal Liaison person & project officer for State and Commonwealth Departments and Aboriginal Organisations; has held the role of ATSIC Commissioner and been involved in Aboriginal Heritage and Languages – Kaurna and Ngadjuri.

Aunty Roslyn is committed to a broad range of Aboriginal community boards, groups and committees that include:

  • Researcher for cancer at SAMHRI
  • Elder in the Nunga Court
  • Aboriginal Elders Visiting Prisons 
  • Member on Ngadjuri Nations Native Title Board
  • Elder involved in Yellaka Dance Group which reflects Kaurna cultural practices 
  • Aboriginal Community Health in Adelaide SA Health

Hobbies: Writing children’s stories, poems, songs, painting, watching old movies.

Bucket List: Documentary about “My Mum, My Hero”. Acting.



Uncle Frank Wangutya Wanganeen is a Kaurna / Narungga man born at Wallaroo, on the Yorke Peninsular, and raised on Point Pearce Mission. He has lived in Adelaide for most of his life.

For many years Uncle Frank has been a committee member for many organisations and worked in the areas of reconciliation, local government, Aboriginal Heritage, Native Title, social justice, and the revival of the Kaurna language. 

He is passionate about reconciliation and is the current Chair of the Salisbury Council Reconciliation Committee. Uncle Frank also operates the Kaurna Cultural Walking Tours in the Adelaide CBD and describes himself as a cultural educator who creates awareness of Kaurna cultural heritage and Aboriginal issues.  

In 2017 Uncle Frank was the recipient of the “Premier’s NAIDOC Award” which he received for his contribution and ongoing work in the community.

In January 2021 Uncle Frank was the recipient of the City of Salisbury’s “Australia Day Citizen of the Year Award”.


LesterProfessor Rigney has worked in Aboriginal Education for over 20 years. Recently Dean of Indigenous Education at the University of Adelaide, he is now a Visiting Scholar at the University of South Australia. His past positions include Director of Wirltu Yarlu Aboriginal Education and the Director of the Yunggorendi First Nations Centre at Flinders University.

Professor Rigney has a Doctorate PhD by Research and is a Professor of Education. In 2011 he won the National Aboriginal scholar of the Year NAIDOC. In the same year he was appointed to the First Peoples Education Advisory Group that advises on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander early childhood and school education. He was also appointed as Australian Ambassador for Aboriginal Education.

In 2009 he received an honorary United Nations award from the Australian Chapter for his work on Indigenous Education. He has been a member of several high profile expert committees including the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare COAG 'Closing the Gap' Scientific Reference Group, the National Aboriginal Reference Group 25 year Indigenous Education Plan, and Australian Curriculum and Assessment Reporting Authority National Languages Curriculum Reference Group. 

Professor Rigney was appointed a Member of the Order of Australia for his significant service to Indigenous education and to social inclusion research.


Irene Watson

Professor Irene Watson is the Pro Vice Chancellor: Aboriginal Leadership and Strategy, the David Unaipon Chair, and Professor of Law at the University of South Australia. She belongs to the Tanganekald, Meintangk Bunganditj First Nations peoples of the Coorong and the South-east of South Australia.

As Pro Vice Chancellor Irene is responsible for providing strategic advice and guidance on improving the recruitment, support and success of Aboriginal students and staff, both within and external to the University.  As Professor of Law, her research focuses upon Indigenous Peoples in domestic and international law. Over many years, Irene has worked with First Nation Peoples across Australia in advancing Aboriginal rights. 


Hawke Logo    

Presented by The Bob Hawke Prime Ministerial Centre and the Office of the Pro Vice Chancellor: Aboriginal Leadership and Strategy, UniSA 


While the views presented by speakers within The Bob Hawke Prime Ministerial Centre public program are their own and are not necessarily those of either the University of South Australia, or The Bob Hawke Prime Ministerial Centre, they are presented in the interest of open debate and discussion in the community and reflect our themes of: Strengthening our Democracy - Valuing our Diversity - Building our Future.

The copying and reproduction of any transcripts within The Bob Hawke Prime Ministerial Centre public program is strictly forbidden without prior arrangements.