30 years of Ramahyuck celebrated

Aunty Bess Yarram (second from right) cutting the cake. Also pictured: Annemarie Frawley, Sherise Griffin, Bonnie O'Shanassy, Helene Booth, Lynette Bishop and Ivy Yarram.Photo: Stefan Bradley

Stefan Bradley

Ramahyuck District Aboriginal Corporation celebrated 30 years of incorporation on Thursday, May 12 with a flag-raising, speeches, history displays and a roast lunch.

The event began at 11am at the Noel Yarram (Snr) Centre on Foster Street, Sale, with a Welcome to Country from Lynette Bishop to roughly 80 attendees. Ramahyuck general manager of Corporate Services Andrew Dimarco was the emcee.

During the flag raising ceremony, Gavin O’Shanassy played the didgeridoo while Sherise Griffin raised the Aboriginal flag, Bonnie O’Shanassy raised the Torres Strait Islander flag and Kim Hills raised the Australian flag.

Young artist Rhianna Abdullah also sang a song in her native tongue.

Then, Ivy Yarram, daughter of the late Noel Yarram Senior, delivered an emotional address on behalf of the Yarram family and founding members of Ramahyuck that detailed some of the history.

The address was written by Ms Yarram’s sister, Daphne.

Noel Yarram Snr was instrumental in pursuing support services for local Koorie families that lived in Sale, and passionate about ensuring the health and wellbeing of the local Koorie community.

He spent a great deal of his time going quietly about his business, building relationships, writing letters and meeting with members of the local council, state and federal ministers seeking funding or support for services for our local Koorie community.

After his passing, the family made a commitment to pursue this work and with the help and support of the local Koorie families in Sale at that time.

The first program that was funded and run by the Corporation was the Community Development Employment Program, or CDEP; it was the original ‘Work for the Dole’ program, with 15 participants.

As it grew, the focus was on providing quality health and social support programs that provided training and employment for the community.

Ms Yarram said that Ramahyuck was “not intended to be (a welfare scheme)”.

Ramahyuck’s new chief executive officer Nancy Binotto was unable to attend the event, but her speech was up next, and was read out by Mr Dimarco.

Ms Binotto told the Gippsland Times over the phone she wanted her speech to highlight all those involved in Ramahyuck over the last 30 years.

“Today is a very special day as we celebrate 30 years of Ramahyuck District Aboriginal Corporation,” the speech began.

“I would like to acknowledge the amazing initiative of the late Mr Noel Yarram Snr, who championed the concept of an independent Corporation after years of the local Aboriginal community being supported by services from Morwell and Bairnsdale.”

Ms Binotto said as the new CEO, she wanted to get back to Ramahyuck’s “core”.

“I want to renew everyone’s pledge to our vision.”

As highlighted in Ms Binotto’s speech, Ramahyuck’s vision is for “healthy, strong, vibrant Aboriginal families living their best lives, for all their lives”.

The presentation ended with a cutting of the cake by Aunty Bess Yarram, with some of original members of the Ramahyuck team – Annemarie Frawley, Sherise Griffin, Bonnie O’Shanassy, Helene Booth, Lynette Bishop and Ivy Yarram, and everyone was invited inside for a roast lunch and mingle.

Ramahyuck District Aboriginal Corporation Certificate of Incorporation dated May 12, 1992. Photo: Contributed

Cupcakes and cake. Photo: Stefan Bradley

Rhianna sings.
L-R: Andrew Dimarco, Ivy Yarram, Rhianna Abdullah, Lynette Bishop. Photo: Stefan Bradley

Ivy Yarram speaks at the 30-year celebrations last week. Photo: Stefan Bradley

Bonnie O’Shannassy, Sherise Griffin and Kim Hills during the flag-raising ceremony. Photo: Stefan Bradley

Photo: Stefan Bradley