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Elders recognised in NATSICC awards


South Australian elder Brenda Lester is among the winners of the 2019 Service to Community Awards announced this week by the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Catholic Council (NATSICC).

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In the lead up to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Sunday on July 7, NATSICC, the peak Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander body in the Catholic Church, has announced the winners of this year’s awards which are presented in the following categories: adult, young adult (18-25), non-Indigenous and Elders.

For the first time, seven inspirational Elders have received the Deacon Boniface Award for Elders, which has been renamed this year in tribute to the greatly respected elder, Deacon Boniface Perdjert, Australia’s first Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Deacon.

Deacon Boniface, who passed away earlier this year, was also an Aboriginal Elder of the Kardu Diminin clan and the Traditional Custodian of the land on which the Northern Territory town of Wadeye (Port Keats) is built.

Brenda Lester was born in Port Augusta in 1955. Her mother was Emily Lester (who lived in Colebrook Home in Quorn) and father Achee. Brenda returned to live at Amata with her young family on the Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunyjatjara Lands in 1985.

Brenda retired due to ill health and left Amata in 2015 and now resides in Port Pirie with her daughter Naomi and grandchildren. Brenda witnesses in her relationships toTjukurra/God and hence responds to everyone with both unconditional love and genuine care for their dignity.

For more information on the category award winners, visit

The theme for the 2019 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Sunday Resources is “Peace to this house and all who dwell within”.

Further resources for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Sunday are available on the NATSICC website.

NATSICC provides a strong voice for First Nations Catholics and works in partnership with the Australian Catholic Bishops to address the issues facing their people.



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