We feel privileged to have the following people represent and support Gawura in many heartfelt and passionate ways. We are immensely grateful for their ongoing commitment to our Gawura programme.
Archbishop The Most Reverend Dr Glenn Davies
The Most Rev. Dr Glenn Davies has been the Archbishop of Sydney since 2013. A former lecturer in Old Testament at Moore Theological College, Dr Davies also held the position of Registrar of the College, and later was appointed as rector of St Luke’s Miranda.
He was consecrated Bishop of North Sydney in 2001 and held the position until his election as Archbishop.
Glenn is married to Di and they have two married daughters and three grandchildren.
Professor Larissa Behrendt
Professor Larissa Behrendt is a Eualeyai and Kamillaroi woman who decided to become a lawyer at age 11 when her Indigenous father found his mother’s removal certificate. She is an academic and author, and is currently a Professor of Law and Director of Research at the Jumbunna Indigenous House of Learning at the University of Technology in Sydney. Her first novel Home won the 2002 David Uniapon Award and a 2005 Commonwealth Writer’s Prize. Her latest novel, Legacy, was released in 2009 and won a Victorian Premier’s Literary Award. She is also the author of several books on Indigenous legal issues.
Larissa is a Land Commissioner at the Land and Environment Court, Alternate Chair of the Serious Offenders Review Board, a member of the Academy of Social Sciences of Australia, and a founding member of the Australian Academy of Law. Larissa is a Board Member of the Museum of Contemporary Art and Chair of the Bangarra Dance Theatre. In 2009, she was named the NAIDOC Indigenous Person of the Year. Larissa is a passionate and articulate advocate for the rights of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders and will continue to be at the forefront of national discussion for many years.
The students in Gawura love visits from Larissa – her encouragement and support to be passionate about writing and learning is a constant in the classroom.“I became involved with Gawura because I was interested in a model of education that focused on academic excellence within elite educational institutions but did not involve removing Indigenous children from their communities. The Gawura model has not only afforded Indigenous children in the local Redfern community the opportunity for a high quality education, it has fostered a relationship with the local Indigenous community through the families of those children which means that they are actively involved with the life of the school, often in the classrooms and building a relationship with the larger St Andrew’s Cathedral School community. This relationship has enriched the school but also assisted families to develop and embrace new cultures of learning within their families”. Professor Larissa Behrendt, March 2011.
Pastor Ray Minniecon
Pastor Ray is a descendant of the Kabi Kabi nation and the Gurang Gurang nation of South-East Queensland. He is also a descendant of the South Sea Islander people with connections to the people of Ambrym Island. Currently, Pastor Ray is the Director of Bunji Consultancies, a production company that supports the development of Aboriginal film and documentaries and leadership and business initiatives with various public and corporate clients. Ray has worked with the Anglican Diocese of Sydney as Pastor and Director of Crossroads Aboriginal Ministries. He is the inaugural Chairperson of the Sydney Anglican Indigenous Peoples Committee and a Council member of St Andrew’s Cathedral School.“To me personally, Gawura represents one of the most positive futures for our Aboriginal community in Sydney. These children are eager to learn, excelling in academic abilities, showing us that they want to achieve some big goals in their lives. They are my pride and joy. I am also so proud of my involvement in the establishment and ongoing development of Gawura. We need more Gawura schools, not only in Sydney, but all over Australia -where Aboriginal parents have a deeper involvement and control of the education and future of their children, returning to the ways we have done for over the last 50,000 years. Gawura is a quiet revolution and it is the true dream of the Gawura community to build more of these “schools within schools”.
Ms Deborah Cheetham
Soprano Deborah Cheetham fell in love with opera, while attending an Australian Opera Merry Widow production in 1979, in which Dame Joan Sutherland performed the title role. She was 14 years old at the time. Since then, she has become Australia’s foremost Indigenous soprano, founded Short Black Opera Company, and composed Australia’s first Indigenous opera, Pecan Summer, which premiered in October 2010 and played at The Arts Centre, Melbourne in September, 2011. Deborah has created many opportunities for Indigenous singers and musicians, actors, writers and technicians. She has opened doors for many Indigenous artists and is an inspiration for all Australians. Ms Cheetham encourages and inspires the young students at Gawura to achieve great things themselves, with two of our Aboriginal students given the wonderful opportunity to perform in Pecan Summer.“There is so much success (of Aboriginal people) out there, but it’s not something you ever get to hear about. They’re not messages that the media want to put forward. And this perpetuation of the concept of the “Indigenous issues”, if I could separate those two words forever, that I guess, is my life’s purpose – to separate those words: “Indigenous issue”, and the whole industry that’s built around that and say – “no there’s been a lot of Aboriginal Achievement”. Let’s focus on that, let’s look at that, let’s promote it so that the next generation of kids are seeing the balance. Yes, there are still challenges in our way, but look at all this achievement. It’s not unusual for Aboriginal people to achieve and to be successful – and that’s the message that I want to put out there. So it is about raising expectations that Aboriginal people have themselves and that the general population have for Aboriginals”.
Read our News Story – “High Expectations: A Journey with Deborah Cheetham, Ambassador to Gawura“
Mr Peter Warne
Mr Peter Warne is an active member of the School Community and former parent of the School who commenced the position of Chairman of the St Andrew’s Cathedral School Foundation in May 2006 and continues in this role today. Mr Warne is Director of the New South Wales Treasury Corporation and Chairman of Australian Leisure and Entertainment Property Group. Until recently, he held the position of Executive Chairman of Next Financial Limited.
Mr Warne held the position of Executive Chairman of Next Financial Limited for many years and currently holds numerous directorships including Macquarie Bank Limited, Macquarie Group Limited, WHK Group Limited, SFE Corporation Limited, ASX Limited, Securities Research Centre of Asia Pacific Limited, Capital Markets CRC Limited, GESB Mutual Ltd and is a Member of the Advisory Board of the Australian Office of Financial Management. He is also a Faculty Industry Advisory Board Member of Macquarie University. A committed advocate for Gawura, his tireless work to gain funds, through both government and independent channels has been outstanding.