The Commission recognises we are visitors to the country we travel across and work in and that many of our Local Commissioners are Traditional Owners and Elders of their communities. The Commission acknowledges and pays our respects to the Traditional Owners, Elders and Teachers of these lands; to those of the past whose unseen hands guide the actions and decisions of the Commissioners today; to those of the present working for their communities setting the example for the next generation and to those of the future, the Elders not yet born who will inherit the legacy of our efforts.
Commissioner Victor Patrick Gibson OAM (Binhthi / Bulcan Clans) worked as a Student Case Manager for Cape York Aboriginal Australian Academy (CYAAA) in Hope Vale for three years until his retirement. He is the organiser of the Young Leadership Forum, encouraging young people to become the leaders of tomorrow. He is an active member of the Hope Vale Men’s Group again supporting the young and encouraging the role and merits of cultural and community activities. Commissioner Victor Gibson has devoted much of his working career to Hope Vale, assisting to build up his community. In doing so he has served as Deputy Mayor and Councillor.
On 26 January 2015 Hope Vale Commissioner Victor Gibson was awarded a Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM) in recognition of his services to his community. He remains a keen supporter of good governance with his particular concern of making sure there is a place for young people in leadership and governance roles.
Commissioner Doreen Hart OAM (Binhthi / Bulcan Clans) currently holds the position of Team Leader/Service Provider with Apunipima Cape York Health Council. In 2015 she was selected as a Cape York representative for the 2015 Emerging Leaders Program hosted by Jawun, however health issues prevented her from completing the program. Her former roles include Engagement Officer for Cape York Empowered Communities Backbone Organisation, Community Development Officer with Living Change at the Wunan Foundation, Chief Executive Officer for the Apunipima Cape York Health Council and Housing Officer for the Hope Vale Aboriginal Shire Council. She is a Justice of the Peace (Qualified) and a member of the Thurrbill Community Justice Group. On 26 January 2015 Hope Vale Commissioner Hart was awarded a Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM) in recognition of her services to the community.
Commissioner Erica Deeral (Gamaay / Waymbuurr Clans) retired from her position of Administrative/Accounts Officer with the Hope Vale Campus of CYAAA in 2019. She enjoyed working at the school and seeing school attendance improve so that young children can obtain an education to better their futures. Prior to this Hope Vale Commissioner Deeral held administrative positions with the North Queensland Land Council and Cook Shire and Hope Vale Aboriginal Shire Councils. She attended Hope Vale State School, Cairns West State School, Trinity Bay High School and the Cairns Business College. She is a traditional owner and a Director of the Hope Vale Congress Aboriginal Corporation. Commissioner Deeral is a mother to two sons and grandmother to four granddaughters and one grandson.
Commissioner Selina Kerr-Bowen is married to Ronald Bowen from the Thuupi / Dharrba Warra Clans of Hope Vale. Commissioner Kerr-Bowen has two children and one adopted son from the many children that she and her husband cared for over the years while being kinship carers. Both of her sons graduated from Peace Lutheran College in 2013. Her daughter attended at the Coen Campus of CYAAA in 2015 and is currently at the Hope Vale Campus of CYAAA. Commissioner Kerr-Bowen has lived in Hope Vale for the majority of her life, only leaving to complete her secondary schooling in Brisbane where she graduated from Hendra High in Nunda. After leaving school her former jobs have included being an Assistant Manager for the local food store, an agent for the Commonwealth Bank in Hope Vale, a Parenting Consultant where she delivered the Triple P program for Cape York Partnership and a Councillor from 2016 to 2020 with the Hope Vale Aboriginal Shire Council.
Hope Vale Commissioner Kerr-Bowen commenced with the Commission on 14 May 2015 and feels good parenting is vitally important and she would like other parents to also enjoy the close relationship and respect from their teenagers that she has with her children.
Commissioner Cheryl Florence Cannon is a strong, determined and motivated Indigenous woman from Hope Vale. Commissioner Cannon loves the precious time she spends with her family and pottering around home tending to her garden. She has had a career in education across Cape York, teaching and in leadership roles within a number of schools. After a brief retirement, Hope Vale Commissioner Cannon’s commitment to education has her currently employed as an Attendance Officer at the Hope Vale Campus of CYAAA. Her role also involves engaging community people to be more active within the school community, in addition to providing support for school attendance and incorporating cultural aspects within the school.
She joined the Commission as a Local Commissioner in Hope Vale in August 2014, and thoroughly enjoys the experience. As a Commissioner for Hope Vale, Cheryl’s vision and values run parallel to that of the wider community and she is willing to set in motion responsibilities that bring about change for the positive future of Hope Vale.
Commissioner Robert Gibson (Bulgun Warra / Aba Yeerrkoya Clans) was born and raised in Brisbane and is one of six children. His family, though originally from Hope Vale, moved to Brisbane to access medical treatment for his eldest brother. Commissioner Gibson attended Zillmere North State School and in 1982 completed year 12 at Aspley State High School. He continued his tertiary studies at TAFE prior to attaining a boilermaker apprenticeship at the Royal Corps of Australian Electrical and Mechanical Engineers Army Barracks.
In 1984 he was happy to return to his family’s homeland of Hope Vale and secured employment as a Deckhand at Cape Flattery until 1991. Following his work at Cape Flattery Commissioner Gibson gained employment with the Hope Vale Aboriginal Shire Council as a Debtor’s Clerk/Administration Officer. In 1993 he was elected as Deputy Chairperson of the Hope Vale Aboriginal Shire Council. After completing a Certificate of Justice Studies, Community Policing at Innisfail’s TAFE he was employed as a Police Liaison Officer in Mossman from 1996 to 1999, later transferring to Hope Vale.
Commissioner Gibson has been Director and Deputy Chair for both Alka Bawar Aboriginal Corporation (Bathurst Heads) and Kalpowar Aboriginal Land Trust. These positions included the sourcing of funding and planning for on country development. On 24 October 2019, the Governor in Council under the FRC Act approved the appointment of Robert Gibson as an FRC Local Commissioner.
Commissioner Gibson has been blessed with two daughters and one grandchild who live in the Cooktown and Hope Vale area. Fishing and camping have been a big part of his life and he has a new-found hobby of carpentry in constructing planter boxes.
Commissioner Priscilla Gibson (nee Bowen) a Guugu Yimithirr speaking woman has ancestral heritage to Daarrbra, Bagarrmugu, and Birra-gumba from her grandfather George Bowen (Emerson) who was removed from his homeland (Proserpine area) to Cape Bedford Mission after the closure of Mari Yamba Lutheran Mission.
She has skills and qualifications in early childhood education, having established a centre in her hometown of Hope Vale, later acquiring the ‘George Bowen Memorial Kindergarten’, and assisting it to achieve accreditation under the Childcare and Kindergarten Association. Commissioner Gibson holds a Diploma in Nursing, Nutrition and Advanced Practice in Aboriginal Health, and a Graduate Diploma in Health Promotion, Counselling and Referral Skills. She has served on various boards as a Director, worked with the TAFE College in Cairns in the position of Program Manager for the Community Ranger Program, Local Coordinator for the FRC, Coordinator for the Well Being Centre and Senior Parenting Practitioner with Cape York Partnership. Commissioner Gibson and her husband Commissioner Victor Gibson perform strong community engagement roles by providing opportunities for social gatherings through concerts, Yarning Circles, contributing to the Young Leaders Program and opening their door as foster carers for the community.
Commissioner Gibson states, “Culture and my family is important to me. It is the embodiment of my existence and that of my ancestors and descendants.”
On 24 October 2019, the Governor in Council under the FRC Act approved the appointment of Priscilla Gibson as an FRC Local Commissioner.