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 Loretta Spratt OAM (Olkola / Lama Lama Clans) was born on Thursday Island but spent her infant years in Coen and Hope Vale. She remained in Hope Vale throughout her childhood until her late teens when she met Nathan McLean, a young man visiting from Mossman Gorge. Commissioner Spratt later moved to the Gorge where she resided for many years with Nathan before buying a house and moving to Mossman in February 2018. Mossman Gorge Commissioner Spratt has previously worked in the areas of sport and recreation. She has completed a Certificate III in Horticulture, discovering her true passion in life, and is currently employed by Bamanga Bubu Ngadimunku Aboriginal Corporation (BBNAC) propagating and using native plants and trees in landscaping.
On 26 January 2015 Mossman Gorge Commissioner Spratt was awarded a Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM) in recognition of her services to the community. She has a keen interest in art and a love of reading and continues to learn new skills to complement her Local Commissioner role in the community. Mossman Gorge Commissioner Spratt continues to work closely with young people and the women of her community to promote strong, healthy and supportive families. On weekends she likes to spend time with her nieces and nephews fishing, enjoying the natural beauty of the Daintree area, reading and particularly gardening at home.
Commissioner George Ross-Kelly (Kuku Nyungul / Kuku Yalanji Clans) was born and raised in Mossman where he attended Miallo State School and Mossman State School. He is the eldest of two children and is proud to be fluent in the Kuku Yalanji language which he has passed down to his children and grandchildren.
In the mid-1980s Commissioner George Ross-Kelly became a resident of the Mossman Gorge community during which time he was employed as a bus driver, providing transport for community residents to shop in Mossman and to go on country excursions which included camping and fishing trips. Further positions held included a role as Supervisor of the landscaping and gardening unit of BBNAC, and Team Leader in the Woodwork Unit of the Mossman Art Centre which afforded him the opportunity to indulge his hobbies of woodwork and using a lathe.
He returned to bus driving in 2004 when he commenced employment with Country Road Coachlines – a service running from Cairns to Cooktown. In 2006 he returned to working closer to home with FNQ Bus Lines which provided a school bus run for the Mossman Gorge and Newell Beach areas. Mossman Gorge Commissioner Ross-Kelly joined the FRC as a Local Commissioner in November 2019. He finds his role with the FRC enriching as it enables him to use his skills and aptitude to communicate with community members, providing support and empathy. He is empowered by the opportunity to learn new skills.
Commissioner Karen Shuan (Kuku Yalanji Clan) was born as a Kuku Yalanji woman. She is a traditional owner of the Mossman area and has resided in Mossman all of her life. After completing year 11 at Mossman State High School, she gained a Certificate III in Tourism and a Certificate III in Business. Mossman Gorge Commissioner Shuan became increasingly involved in Aboriginal culture and concerns and joined BBNAC. Positions she has held at BBNAC include Secretary, Director, Vice Chairperson and Tourism Guide. Commissioner Shuan is presently the Cultural Tour Guide at the Mossman Gorge Centre where she welcomes visitors to country and provides cultural information to the many tourists who visit the area, as well as providing support to other Indigenous staff at the centre. As a custodian of the Kuku Yalanji culture she is recognised as a cultural leader and a skilled and passionate teacher of traditional dance.
Today she leads the dance group for Mossman Gorge, Wabal Wabal Dance, in local performances which celebrate the culture of Cape York people through song and dance. The group has also performed in Cairns at professional engagements and at the National Aboriginal and Islander Day Observance Committee week.