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2018 Australian Nurse of the Year inspires at NAIDOC week

Acacia Prison was proud to invite 2018 Australian Nurse of the Year Gail Yarran to speak at this year’s NAIDOC event. A Noongar woman, from the Balladong and Wadjak peoples, Gail inspired prisoners and guests with her story about how she overcame adversity and discrimination to pursue her dream of becoming a nurse.

For the past 50 years, Gail (pictured left) has worked in the WA healthcare system and advocated for better delivery of health care services to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. Her speech received a standing ovation from the crowd of inmates, family and special guests. 

As reported in the Hills Gazette, more than 50 prisoners joined guests and family members for the NAIDOC week event, recognising the 2018 theme: 'Because of Her, We Can'. 

The event included traditional Aboriginal dance performances, NAIDOC awards, and an art exhibition by inmates from the Young Adult Community. 

Artist Quenton received the top honour for his piece (pictured below). “The middle represents my mother, the footprints represent her journey," he explained. "The top is me and my brothers and sisters (family). The right is me as a person; my past, present and future (life). The bottom represents the Avon River, Northam (home). The left is the love I have for my mother and my family (love). 

Altogether the story is: Because of her, we can; grow into our own individual persons, make our own homes, find love and create our own families.”

Other NAIDOC week activities at the site included an athletics competition, traditional roo-tail cook-up and an AFL match. Adam Cockie and Steve Hargrave from the WAFL Commission collected hand-painted footballs to represent each WAFL club.

Read more in the Hills Gazette.

The winning artwork, by artist Quenton.