News – New Patron

New Patron – Emeritus Professor Simon Forrest

Since inception, the Patron of the Association has been Ken Wyatt, Former Federal Minister for Indigenous Australians, the first Indigenous Australian elected to the House of Representatives, the first to serve as a government minister, and the first appointed to cabinet. Earlier this year, Ken requested to step down from the role.

We were very lucky in that Emeritus Professor Simon Forrest of Curtin University agreed to take up the role.  Prof Forrest is an Aboriginal Australian and a First Nations Elder.  Wadjuk and Barladong Noongar (maternal) and Badimia and Wongatha Yamaji Wongi (paternal).

He was born and raised in Wadjuk country (Perth).  He has connections to country at Goomalling (Balardong), Swan Valley (Wajuk), Mt Magnet (Badimaya) and Leonora (Wongutha).  He trained as a primary school teacher and has worked in schools in Aboriginal communities and rural towns.  He has also worked in the public sector in senior managerial positions in education and curriculum and Indigenous affairs policy and implementation.

Prof Forrest is WA’s longest serving Aboriginal academic having been teaching undergraduate and postgraduate students since 1983 at Edith Cowan University, The University of Western Australia, Curtin University and Michigan State University.  He was the Inaugural Head of KurongKurl Katijin School of Indigenous Austrlian Studies at ECU.  In 2005 he was awarded National Scholar of the Year at the National Aboriginal and Islander Day Observance Committee Awards, in 2018 he was Perth NAIDOC Elder of the Year and in 2020 he was made a Curtin University Fellow.