Community Connection/Grassroots

In 2019 a new outreach initiative was considered where over 12 months the Fellowship for Indigenous Leadership would be working towards reaching individuals and communities across Victoria supporting activities that foster leadership in its many forms for the benefit of community. As a starting point the Selection Panel identified and recommended applicants who have demonstrated leadership potential combined with projects that will build grassroots connections with community and encourage confidence in those communities.

Sherree Chaudhry

Sherree is a Gilgar Gunditjmara woman from Gunditjmara country in South West Victoria and lives in Heywood.

She is confident her program can enhance wellbeing for community members, both mental and physical, and develop their confidence and sense of freedom to pursue goals, in similar ways that took her on the Woor-Dungin/Koondee Woonga-gat Toor-rong journey.

Sherree’s project has been about “caring for you is caring for your mob”.   She has organised workshops or activities to help our women self care, especially after the last 2+ years of COVID, lockdowns and disappointments of cancellations of plans. Women are an important part of our community and when we care for ourselves, we know that we’ll be able to look after our mob from a full cup.

Sherree is on the Board of Koondee Woonga-gat Toor-rong Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Led Philanthropic Fund.

Troy Lovett

Troy is Gunditjmara on his mother’s side and Yorta Yorta/Dja Dja Wurrung on his father’s side who grew up in Heywood and has lived there for the majority of his life.

The main aim for his program will be the creation of a boy’s youth group, for Aboriginal youth aged 5-21 in the Glenelg Shire, Portland and Heywood, areas. Once establishing a group of participants, fortnightly gatherings would be held with alternating between ‘on-country’ and ‘off-country’, focusing on a different outcome of the program.

The following link is to the Boys Leadership Program funded in 2023 by the Department of Energy, Environment and Climate Change:

Boys Leadership Program – Heywood

Corey Walker

Corey is a traditional owner of Yorta Yorta Nations from Shepparton, and established the Burnanga Indigenous Fishing Club in the Goulburn Valley to provide a platform for caring for country through fishing and natural resource management activities and programs and cultural engagement.

The Club would aim to address certain aspects that require Indigenous people’s knowledge systems in two-way learning and sharing to find best practice to care for and manage the local waterways and landscape. There are environmental, social, cultural and economic benefits in establishing an Indigenous Fishing Club.

In April 2022 Burnanga has united with Goulburn Valley Water who is transforming two decommissioned reservoirs into community fishing lagoons.  Corey stated in an ABC Goulburn Murray interview: “For our club, this project is all about getting our kids back into recreational fishing, doing environmental and cultural activities and, most importantly, getting the elders to teach that knowledge to our younger generation.”

Charlie Solomon

Charlie is a proud Ngarigo Monero/Gurang Gurang man who grew up in East Gippsland on Gunai/Kurnai Country.

He would like to develop and explore a virtual reality project in the Justice system. Recording places on country to allow Aboriginal people in prison to connect to a special place on country. This will involve working with several communities across the state to record special places.