Aurukun is on the western coast of Cape York and is approximately 900 kilometres northwest of Cairns, and about 200 kilometres south of Weipa. The community had an estimated resident adult population of 991 people as at 30 June 2014.
Commissioner Edgar KERINDUN
Commissioner Edgar KERINDUN OAM (Sara Clan) was born and raised in Aurukun and is a traditional owner of the area. Aurukun Commissioner Kerindun was re-elected to the position of Aurukun Shire Councillor in the Local Government elections conducted on 19 March 2016 and has been appointed Deputy Mayor. Commissioner Kerindun previously held the position of Engagement Officer at Queensland Health until his election as a Councillor for the Aurukun Shire Council in 2012. On 26 January 2015 Aurukun Commissioner Kerindun was awarded a Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM) in recognition of his services to the community. He was one of the original Community Police Officers in Aurukun and continues to promote justice and rehabilitation for ex-offenders. Together with his partner, Aurukun Commissioner Doris Poonkamelya, they have in their care three children from their extended family. Aurukun Commissioner Kerindun has a strong belief that if you show respect to everyone, everyone will have more respect for you.
Commissioner Doris POONKAMELYA
Commissioner Doris POONKAMELYA OAM (Putch Clan) was born at the Kendall River Outstation and her family moved to Aurukun when she was a child. Aurukun Commissioner Poonkamelya retired as a senior health worker from Queensland Health in 2009 where she worked for 29 years. On 26 January 2015 Aurukun Commissioner Poonkamelya was awarded a Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM) in recognition of her services to the community. On 19 March 2016 Commissioner Poonkamelya was elected as a Councillor for the Aurukun Shire Council. She is a founding member of the Aurukun Community Justice Group and is also deeply committed to education as the pathway to employment and a promising future for young people. As a recognised Child Safety Carer, Aurukun Commissioner Poonkamelya believes in ensuring a safe environment for children to grow and mature.
Commissioner Sarah WOLMBY
Commissioner Sarah WOLMBY OAM (Aplach Clan) was born and raised in Aurukun, only leaving her home community to attend boarding school to obtain a year 11 education. Aurukun Commissioner Wolmby previously worked for 15 years as a community health worker with Queensland Health and has worked in child care and teaching centres. On 26 January 2015 Aurukun Commissioner Wolmby was awarded a Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM) in recognition of her services to the community. She is an avid supporter of children receiving a strong education to allow them to successfully graduate from senior and tertiary education and gain employment either in Aurukun to enrich the community, or outside of Aurukun in their chosen career.
Commissioner Ada Panawya WOOLLA
Commissioner Ada Panawya WOOLLA OAM (Winchanum Clan) was born and raised in Aurukun, leaving the community to attend boarding school and later Cairns Business College. Commissioner Woolla was re-elected to the position of Councillor in the Aurukun Shire Council on 19 March 2016. Upon election to the position of Councillor of Aurukun Shire Council in April 2012 she retired from her position as a Recognised Entity, where she worked alongside DCCSDS to assist families and children in Aurukun.
In September 2014 Aurukun Commissioner Woolla was appointed to the Special Taskforce on Domestic and Family Violence in Queensland. The Taskforce was established by the then Premier Campbell Newman and was chaired by the Honourable Quentin Bryce AD CVO, former Governor-General of Australia. On 26 January 2015 Aurukun Commissioner Woolla was awarded a Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM) in recognition of her services to the community. She is also a foster and kinship carer, an office bearer in the church, a founding Member of the Aurukun Community Justice Group, a respected mediator and community Elder. Aurukun Commissioner Woolla supports the education and training of young people and together with her husband, Aurukun Mayor Dereck Walpo, strives to improve opportunities for her community.
Commissioner Dorothy POOTCHEMUNKA
Commissioner Dorothy POOTCHEMUNKA (Winchanum / Aplach Clans) was born, raised and educated in Aurukun, and now has 10 children, 13 grandchildren and five great grandchildren. Aurukun Commissioner Pootchemunka’s interests span the full spectrum of traditional activities including fishing, camping and the customary female craft of basket weaving using Pandanus and Cabbage Palm leaf. Her baskets are on display in national galleries in Australia and overseas. Aurukun Commissioner Pootchemunka is also a registered Wik interpreter and her expertise is utilised within the court system and also by the Department of Human Services. She views education as the key to employment and encourages all students to make the most of their education and training to enhance future job opportunities.
Commissioner Vera KOOMEETA
Commissioner Vera KOOMEETA OAM (Aplach Clan) was born in Aurukun and attended primary school in Aurukun. She continued her studies at PGC and Scots College in Warwick completing year 10 and then attended Technical and Further Education (TAFE) in Cairns, obtaining a qualification in community teaching. On 19 March 2016 Aurukun Commissioner Koomeeta was re-elected to the position of Aurukun Shire Councillor in the Local Government elections. On 26 January 2015 Aurukun Commissioner Koomeeta was awarded a Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM) in recognition of her services to the community. She is a Justice of the Peace (Magistrates Court) and a registered interpreter as well as a member of the Aurukun Community Justice Group.
As the representative of her clan group she is involved in several committees and holds positions on a number of boards. Aurukun Commissioner Koomeeta’s experience assists in her ability to make independent and informed decisions as a Local Commissioner. When not working, she can be found spending time with her granddaughter, camping and fishing.
Commissioner Leona YUNKAPORTA
Commissioner Leona YUNKAPORTA (Wanum Clan) was one of four new Local Commissioners who commenced with the Commission on 14 May 2015. Her homeland is Ngakyangka (near the Holroyd River) and the clan totem is the Hammerhead Shark.
Aurukun Commissioner Yunkaporta holds a Certificate II in Business Administration and is currently in her third year of a Bachelor of Early Childhood Education. Since 2012 Aurukun Commissioner Yunkaporta has held the position of Indigenous Engagement Officer with the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet (DPMC). In this role she works with the Government Coordination Officer to provide information to the community about the Indigenous Advancement Strategy. She liaises with community members, clans and organisations to assist them to become actively involved in government decision-making processes, including the allocation of funding and the design and delivery of solutions to build their own future. Aurukun Commissioner Yunkaporta acts as a conduit between the community and the DPMC, ensuring there are common understandings in regard to the processes and requirements of government and the needs of the Aurukun community. She has also held the position of Community Support Officer with Transition Support Services (TSS) who provide support to parents and students in the transition to boarding school.
AURUKUN Local Coordinator - Dellis Gledhill
Dellis Gledhill commenced her career in the Australian Defence Force before making a sea change and returning to her hometown of Mossman in North Queensland. Dellis has worked in remote communities for twenty-one years, and for the past six years has worked in Aurukun. She has an admirable rapport with the people of Aurukun and is well accepted by community members. Dellis’ experience extends to the court system where she assists as a Justice of the Peace (Magistrates Court). She has completed her Master’s Degree in Criminology & Criminal Justice while working in Aurukun and is committed to the continuation of the Family Responsibilities Commission working with the community of Aurukun in her capacity as Local Coordinator.