Elders

Footscray Community Arts Centre is committed to collaborating with our Indigenous community to provide spaces of cultural safety and creativity which support the maintenance and nurturing of the unique contemporary urban Indigenous identity of Melbourne’s West.

A reference group, facilitated by our Indigenous Cultural Program Creative Producer, and composing of six Indigenous leaders, artists and academics is the central guiding committee for all activities undertaken through the Indigenous Cultural Program. Elders-in-residence, Aunty Carolyn Briggs and Uncle Larry Walsh, work closely with Footscray Community Arts Centre, mentoring artists and community.

About Aunty Carolyn Briggs

FCAC Elders Aunty Carolyn Briggs Rachel Main
Aunty Carolyn Briggs during Wominjeka 2013. Photograph by Rachel Main.

Aunty Carolyn Briggs is a Boonwurrung elder from Victoria who is recognised as a keeper of the history and genealogies of her people. She says, ‘It’s about the strength of families, our heritage and the sense of belonging to place.’

Aunty Carolyn is a language and linguistics expert and is dedicated to recording her Boonwurrung language in oral and written form. She has been active in community development, Native Title, cultural preservation and cultural promotion. For many years she ran the Tjanabi restaurant in Melbourne, which specialised in contemporary Aboriginal cooking, promoted the Boonwurrung culture and became ‘the place to meet’ for Indigenous people. Aunty Carolyn established Australia’s first Aboriginal childcare centre and is CEO of the Boonwurrung Foundation, which she set up to help connect Aboriginal youth to their heritage. Aunty Carolyn is also a member of the National Congress of Australia’s First Peoples.

About Uncle Larry Walsh

FCAC Elders Uncle Larry Walsh David Hannah
Uncle Larry Walsh during Wominjeka 2012. Photograph by David Hannah, courtesy of Maribyrnong City Council.

Uncle Larry Walsh is a local Aboriginal cultural leader and storyteller. He particularly loves working with the younger generation as he sees them as the torch-bearers of the future. Inspired by his local Aboriginal community, plus his own Kulin ancestral blood connections to his country, Uncle is one of the only senior Elders in Melbourne who focuses specifically on storytelling, ensuring the cultural continuity of his ancient oral traditions.

It’s important to note that Uncle Larry is a pure storyteller. He sees his focus being on the oral tradition, the story – as an important expression and make up of Aboriginal culture. He wishes to display that Aboriginal people live as much in the modern world as intimately as they are connected to their past.