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7 – 14 July 2024
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Rory O'Connor on behalf of Patricia O'Connor

Patricia O'Connor

Female Elder of the Year

Rory O'Connor accepting the award on behalf of Patricia O'Connor.

Known for being a quiet achiever, Patricia O’Connor is the inspirational woman behind the Kombumerri Aboriginal Corporation for Culture.

An idea discussed around the dining table one evening in the early 1980’s has grown into one of Australia’s most successful Aboriginal-owned language centres, and is a major contributor to the Indigenous cultural landscape of south east Queensland.

The corporation trades by the name Yugambeh Museum. It is a language and heritage research centre and is the major source of information for researchers of Yugambeh cultural heritage. Patricia has been the driving force behind the Kombumerri Aboriginal Corporation for Culture.

The Museum aims to record and promote the traditional knowledge of its region, especially the Yugambeh language, which was traditionally spoken throughout south east Queensland. The museum has developed language awareness and other programs, linking with many of the schools, government and community organisations in and around the Gold Coast, Beenleigh and Beaudesert area. The Museum also assists Aboriginal youth with employment and training opportunities, and helps community members trace their own family stories.

Patricia has brought the stories of her community alive through her passion for curating interesting material for community. During her time with Kombumerri, Patricia has overseen 20 distinct and significant exhibitions – consisting of more than 300 panels and single photo items, at an average of one exhibition every two years.

Currently, Patricia is working with younger generations to create a new community movement called Yugambeh Mobo. Yugambeh Mobo is a campaign to unite the community through cultural pride from the past to our tomorrow. Yugambeh mobo aims to ensure Aboriginal culture, concepts and values are part of the south-east Queensland story.

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We acknowledge all First Peoples of the beautiful lands on which we live and celebrate their enduring knowledge and connections to Country. We honour the wisdom of and pay respect to Elders past and present.