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Association Management Committee 2019

Cindy Berwick


Cindy grew up in the inner city of Sydney and is a Ngunnawal woman descending from the Bell family in Yass. As a secondary mathematics teacher she commenced her teaching career in 1984 and has held various executive positions both within schools and across NSW Department of Education. Cindy has also lectured at Sydney University and University of Western Sydney. Cindy believes Aboriginal people should self-determine their own future and has a strong commitment to social justice.

Anne Dennis

Vice President

Anne Dennis is a Gamilaraay woman living in Walgett and a strong advocate for Aboriginal people in the North West NSW. Anne understands the importance of a quality education needed in today’s society which inspired her to become a teacher. Anne has been involved in the NSW AECG Inc. for many years as an active member of her Local and Regional AECG and was formally recognised when give the status of Life Membership within the organisation. Anne is also involved in other Aboriginal organisations which allows her to advocate on behalf of her people ensuring that the needs and aspirations of the community are heard.

Julie Street-Smith


Julie Street-Smith is a Minang/Ngadju woman who comes from Kalgoorlie WA, descending from the Harris, Woyliberry and Williams families. I have been living in Wollongong for 40 years and have always been involved with the Education of young people. As a girl guide leader, a youth and community worker, student support officer, Aboriginal Education Worker or in her current role as the Aboriginal Community Liaison Officer for NSW School Services in the Illawarra area.

Julie took up a casual vacancy on the NSW AECG Association Management Committee in August 2017. Julie has been the President of the Northern Illawarra Local and Upper South Coast Regional Secretary for the past three years and is very passionate about the education of our children. Julie understands that most people know the ‘Why’ of Aboriginal Education but very few know the ‘How’ and is actively trying to change that in her community.

Patricia Daniel


I was born on the land of the Gadigal people at Crown Street Hospital in 1968. I come from a long line of proud, strong Aboriginal people.  My Aboriginality stems from my mother’s side. My mother’s father (my Grandfather) was a proud Bidjigal man of the Eora Nation and my mother’s mother (my Grandmother) was a proud Wandi Wandian woman of the Yuin Nation.

On leaving high school I studied at Supreme Secretarial College and later TAFE. I’ve lived at Heckenberg on Darug Country for 39 years and have work in my local community as an Aboriginal Education Officer for 12 years. I’m a positive role model for our students I believe education is power and I reinforce this message to our mob in my role as AEO.

I’ve been an active member of the Liverpool LAECG since its re-establishment over 10 years ago.  As a member of the LLAECG and Mil-Pra Regional AECG I have held various Office Bearers positions. I’m currently the Vice President of LLAECG, Treasurer of Mil-Pra and Treasurer of NSWAECG.  I was successfully elected from the floor at the 2018 NSWAECG AGM and have enjoyed the experience and thank you all for the opportunity to represent you. I always advocate for the betterment of Aboriginal students and communities and encourage my daughter do so too.

Melinda Brown


Melinda is an Aboriginal women from Wailwan and Worimi ancestry who grew up in Dharawal Country, Campbelltown. A proud mother and grandmother of 4 children and 4 grandchildren who now live on Awabakal Country Newcastle.

Melinda has dedicated many years of her career in support of the next generation of proud Aboriginal Australians. She has worked at the forefront of support for young Aboriginal people for over 20 years. Melinda is passionate about helping students, teachers, parents, carers, schools and communities to engage and participate within Aboriginal culture. Her passion has seen her work as a Project Officer for the NSW Aboriginal Education Consultative Group, supporting Aboriginal communities and schools to engage around Aboriginal Education, Aboriginal cultural perspectives and in achieving improved student learning outcomes.

Melinda’s previous experience includes working at many levels within the NSW Department of Education in a range of community engagement and student supporting roles and facilitating after school homework centres for students within her local area.

Melinda is Vice President of the Sugar Loaf Action Group that advocates on behalf of the community in West Wallsend NSW. The Sugar Loaf Action Group has been instrumental in the protection of sacred Aboriginal women’s sites.

In 2013, Melinda was awarded citizen of the year for Lake Macquarie in recognition of her work supporting students within the local community. Melinda has also received recognition through her part time acting career, appearing on TV shows such as Black Comedy, Black force and the SBS Clever Man series.

Most importantly Melinda was instrumental in the delivery of the MGoals Initiative, the precursor to Storylines of which she is a Co-Founder. Working as a Project Officer of MGoals, Melinda worked extensively with Community and partners to inform and evolve the MGoals into what Storylines is today.

Troy Freeburn


I Troy Freeburn am a Bundjalung man, living in Casino. I have a long association in working and supporting young people and the community. I have worked as a youth worker for a number of years in the Casino, Coraki and Evans Head communities. As Youth Pastors, my wife and I ran a successful youth program for many years catering to the needs of the young people of the community. I have worked within the Department of Education for many years in capacities, Teachers Aide, Casual AEO, Project Officer and Aboriginal Community Liaison Officer.

I am an active member of the Upper North Coast Regional AECG and served as regional Rep, where I grew in confidence. In 2017 I was proud to be given an awesome opportunity and be elected as an AMC member.

Merv Donovan


Merv is from Bowraville on the North Coast of NSW and is a proud member of the Gumbaynggirr Nation. Merv joined the public service in 1977 working in the Australian Taxation Office, Department of Aboriginal Affairs and then onto the Aboriginal Arts Board of the Australia Council. In 1988, he commenced work with the National Aboriginal Islander Dance Theatre as Tour Manager for the Company’s tour of Germany and Finland and the Spoletto Festival in Melbourne. In 1989, he joined the NSW Aboriginal Education Consultative Group as Executive Officer and in 1993 joined TAFE NSW where he has worked as the Aboriginal Co-ordinator, Aboriginal Development Manager. In 2007, Merv secured his current substantive position of Leader, Aboriginal Education and Training, TAFE NSW.

A short two year secondment as Equity Manager, TAFE Western Dubbo from 2011 to 2013 and a further two years as Executive Officer with the NSW Aboriginal Education Consultative Group from 2014 to 2015, Merv has returned to his position as Leader, Aboriginal Education and Training, TAFE NSW and has over the previous year (2017/2018) has served on the NSW AECG Association Management Committee.

Barbara Keeley


Coming Soon…

Lesley Armstrong


Lesley is a Yuin woman from the South Coast of NSW and has been involved in Aboriginal Education for over two decades. Currently residing on the Central Coast Lesley has strong family connections to the La Perouse and South Coast Communities. Lesley has worked as an Aboriginal Education Officer at Gorokan High School and has seen the Central Coast Aboriginal community grow from strength to strength. Lesley believes that getting Aboriginal people engaged in education will only better the next generations’ educational opportunities that would then build success.