2020 NAIDOC Awards winners announced

Published on Wednesday, 11 November 2020 at 10:28:00 AM

The GRAMS NAIDOC Ball, Always Was Always Will Be was held on Saturday 7th November 2020 to celebrate and acknowledge the history, culture and achievements of the First Nations people who have occupied and cared for the land for over 65,000 years.  

The event was held at the Nukara Farm this year to allow for safe distancing between people whilst being able to connect to country during the auspicious event. 

It was an especially special event this year as GRAMS recognised and celebrated the resilience of the community by overcoming the unprecedented challenges due the COVID-19 pandemic.

The evening was filled with outstanding performances including the Girls Academy dance, Bradley Hall band, Red Ochre band and the GRAMS Awards show.

Event Coordinator David Batty said it was a very rewarding experience to see everyone enjoy the GRAMS NAIDOC Ball.

“It was amazing to see the community come together and enjoy the performances that highlighted Australia’s rich and diverse Indigenous culture,” Mr Batty said.

“I would like to thank everyone in the event committee, the local businesses who donated and the event major sponsors who contributed in putting together the unforgettable night!”

The GRAMS NAIDOC Ball also gave an opportunity to reward and recognise Indigenous Australians in the community that have made a noteworthy achievement this year to enrich the Indigenous communities.

GRAMS Chief Executive Officer Deborah Woods said it was important that as community leaders, they identify and recognise those who represent the values of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people community and went above and beyond to improve the lives of others.

“The GRAMS NAIDOC Awards gives us an opportunity to acknowledge and appreciate extraordinary individuals who have inspired us with their achievements,” Mrs Woods said.

“This year’s recipients have truly represented the strength of our community and serve as an inspiration for everyone in our community to strive for excellence.”

Congratulations to the 2020 GRAMS NAIDOC Awards recipients:

Youth of the Year: Sarayah McDonald

Sarayah McDonald

“Sarayah has always been a leader and a positive role model for her family and peers. Starting out as a student leader when she was in year 6 at Primary School, to currently being a part of the year 11 leadership group at Geraldton Senior High School. Sarayah has attended student leadership forums through her school which has helped her develop and strengthen her leadership skills.

Earlier this year, Sarayah travelled to Adelaide as part of the CSIRO Aboriginal Summer School for Excellence in Technology and Science (ASSETS) Program. ASSETS Program promotes Aboriginal leadership and further tertiary education options and increases Aboriginal students’ aspiration to pursue a Science/Technology/Engineering/Mathematics (STEM) options at the University level.

Sarayah is currently studying Australian Tertiary Admission Rank (ATAR), with her favourite subject being human biology. She is a participant in Girl’s Academy and will this year be an MC at their end of year awards. She is also a participant in Follow the Dream Program and attends after school study sessions four days a week in order to focus on her education.

This year she was also invited back to the Indigenous Australian Engineering Extension Program through Curtin University. Sarayah spent a week at Curtin University and, through the help of her mentor, gained a greater understanding of her further education options beyond high school. She had the opportunity of meeting with inspirational Aboriginal students currently at Curtin University studying engineering, psychology, physiology and medicine. Sarayah spoke of the encouragement and support she received from these amazing students.

Sarayah attended an ATAR camp at the beginning of October 2020 and toured universities in Perth. Upon returning home, she has decided that she would like to pursue a career in a health science field and plans to apply to universities next year, being her final year at high school; with particular interest in Indigenous Health Science and Pre-Medicine courses.

Sarayah has always had a focus on health and competed training, and worked with GRAMS Deadly Cru, as a Peer Educator for the Aboriginal Health Council of Western Australia’s Young Leaders Program.

Sarayah is a respectful, genuine, kind and empathetic young woman with a strong sense of social justice and equality. She is passionate about helping others. Sarayah has spoken of becoming qualified in her chosen health field and coming back to the Regions to work with her community and her people and help with the significant health issues we face.”

Elder of the Year: Barbara Dalgety


“Barbara has been nominated for this award for her dedication of nurturing and guiding students of Bluff Point Primary School to reach their Educational potential for the past 35 years in her role as the Aboriginal Islander Education Officer. Mrs Dalgety as she is fondly called at BPPSS can be found in “The Eagles Nest” (AIEO’s office), each morning with her fellow AIEO’s preparing for the day ahead.

Mrs Dalgety has been an important link between the Aboriginal and School communities She has assisted many programs and supported strategies to grow the Aboriginal Cultural within the school such as; NAIDOC Week, forming the Diji Boys group, Reconciliation events, and many more.

Mrs Dalgety efforts were recognised when she won the AIEO of the Year in 2017. This award is a Department of Education state award. Acknowledging and recognising the work AIEO’ s do within their schools.

During her time Mrs Dalgety has watched the growth and development of children, who are now parents and some grandparents sending their family members to BPPS. Some of the Parents and Caregivers are surprised when enrolling their family members, to still see Mrs Dalgety at the school. This would also give them a sense of family as she once taught them.

Barbara is very content with her role. She is a quiet achiever and would never want any fuss over her as she is just doing her job. Barbara loving caring wife to her husband Ralph. A wonderful mother to her three children Kelvin, Milton and Makeesha. And “The World’s Best Grandmother and Great Grandmother to her grandchildren and great-grandchildren.”

Scholar of the Year: Charmaine Green


Award collected by Charmaine’s son on her behalf

“Charmaine is a self-taught visual artist and published poet who writes and paints about her country and culture.

Charmaine has developed a contemporary style giving special importance to line work which she believes represents the style of work done by her ancestors in the Murchison and Midwest Region.

Charmaine has a strong sense of place linking her to country and likes to reflect this in her artwork.

Charmaine is represented by Yamaji Art Centre, Geraldton,Western Australia” - Yamaji Art

GRAMS Female Staff Member:  Elaine Laraia


“Elaine is the Suicide Prevention Coordinator at GRAMS and have been overseeing the Community Safety and Well Being Action Plans project this year to help address mental health in remote Indigenous communities.

Elaine have travelled with the Suicide Prevention Trial Team to many communities conducting several engagement workshops to discuss mental health and suicide prevention with the local Indigenous groups.

Her dedication and relentless desire to help others have been inspiring to the entire GRAMS team.”

GRAMS Male Staff Member: David Batty


“David is our Health Promotions Officer and his commitment to improving the health outcomes of individuals and the community have impressed us all.

With his perseverance and dedication, David is dedicated to promoting health awareness by organising many programs and activities to encourage the community to get involved and learn about making healthier life choices.

He’s a tremendous asset to the team, and we’re lucky to have him on the GRAMS team.”

GRAMS Recognition of Service: Mervin Cashin


Award accepted by Mervin’s siblings on his behalf

Champion Photo of the Year: Shauna Oakley


For winning NAIDOC Photography Competition photo: Yambamutha – Our Children

I am a proud Malgana women from Gathaagudu (Two Waters) Shark Bay.

I wanted to capture images that hold a greater importance for our Aboriginal People, and I had a vision of images I wanted to create.

I found that no one in Perth was offering images that deeply reflected our culture, our connection to the land and the connections with our families. And I wanted to be able to create life long art that will be treasured for future generations to come.

I have finally found myself amongst the craziness that has been my life these last few decades.

I am a woman. I am a daughter. I am a sister. I am a Mother. I am a Wife.  I am creative. I am Aboriginal. And I am strong.”

Belle of the Ball = Tiffany Cockburn

Beau of the Ball = Aron Davis

Tiffany and Aron

Thank you to all the local businesses that donated gifts for the raffles and prizes.

Thank you to Shauna Oakley for providing photography service on the night. All the Ball photos can be purchased from her website Shauna Oakley Photography

The Ball was a major success this year thanks to the support of the major sponsors, Market Creations, Rangeway Guardian Pharmacy, Bundiyarra Aboriginal Community Aboriginal Corporation, Aboriginal Health Council of Western Australia and Bank of I.D.E.A.S.

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