Aunty a driving force for Aboriginal families in Moree

Photo of Aunty Rosie in Moree

Rosie Hankey (nee Jenkins) is a Kamilaroi woman. She works with Pius X Aboriginal Corporation in Moree, NSW, as a school learning support officer across the three ‘L’s’ of language, learning and literacy in the Kiah Preschool.

Aunty Rosie, as she is known, is welcomed into people’s homes for outreach support, trusted for her advice and is always around to help people in her community access the services they want and need.

Pius X aims to be a welcoming, community focused organisation that delivers culturally appropriate services and programs to improve the health and wellbeing of the Aboriginal community. Aunty Rosie is the embodiment of that purpose.

The situation

Moree is a town in Moree Plains Shire, northern NSW. It has a large and diverse Aboriginal population and, like many parts of rural Australia, is a major centre which has been made home by people from different lands including many Kamilaroi, the original inhabitants of the flat, sweeping plains with rich soil on the banks of the Mehi River and surrounding areas. The diversity of culture in Moree brings with it a complexity in approaching social, health and education issues for Aboriginal people.

Rosie has lived within the Moree community all her life. She has witnessed many of the challenges that people in Moree face, including with employment and family life, and has always strived to lead and support positive change amongst her people.

When the Positive Partnerships team began planning for a workshop that would focus on what Aboriginal community members wanted in 2013, we knew that the involvement of influential local people would be crucial. With this kind of support, the workshop could be successful in helping to address the particular needs of Moree’s Aboriginal students with diverse learning styles, whether they are diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder or not.

How she made a difference

Aunty Rosie was instrumental in making sure there were 21 parents and family members at the Positive Partnerships get together, making the 2013 Moree event our largest ever event for Aboriginal people. Her advice about how to run the program to best meet the needs of people in her community was vital in supporting the NSW team of facilitators. She was involved in all details of our planning, from the practical to the strategic. Rosie organised child care so that people could participate and she also spent much of her time transporting people to and from the venue.

Comment

‘Everyone in Moree respects Aunty Rosie, especially for her work at the Pius X Kiah Preschool supporting children with learning and behaviour difficulties, including children with autism. She is leading the way in supporting parents in Moree to seek assistance and a diagnosis. Rosie’s involvement was the absolute stand out success factor for the Aboriginal parents and family carers who joined in for the Positive Partnerships get together in Moree. Her insight, knowledge and professionalism was inspiring and I know I’m not alone when I say I learnt so much from Rosie about culturally appropriate delivery and respect of local people and their contexts.’   NSW Team Leader: Lee Casuscelli