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Joan Hendriks


Joan Hendriks is an Aboriginal elder of the Ngugi people from Moreton Island off Brisbane and a Catholic theologian.

Joan has four children and ten grandchildren and her family is the most important part of her life. As an Elder, community person and Educator Aunty Joan has worked since the 1980’s in the field of Aboriginal Education and Reconciliation and Justice for the Indigenous peoples of Australia. She has presented workshops in primary and secondary Schools, local Church and Community organisations, Government departments and internationally at the United Nations Indigenous Peoples Forum in 2004. Her contributions have made a significant impression on a large number of Indigenous and non-Indigenous students, staff and community. In 2007 Aunty Joan received one of five National Elder of the Year awards presented the Indigenous Higher Education Consultative Council for her Lifelong contribution to Indigenous Higher Education.

Currently, Aunty Joan is a sessional lecturer in the Diploma in Indigenous Education, and Bachelor of Education Primary (Indigenous Studies) at ACU where she teaches on Indigenous Spirituality and Cultural Studies. She has also been involved as lecturer-in-charge of the compulsory subject on Indigenous cultures for mainstream students enrolled in the Bachelor of Education (Primary).

Aunty Joan has completed a Master of Theology and is currently enrolled in a MPhil program. In this capacity she is a role model for Indigenous people demonstrating that age is no barrier to learning and that learning is a life-long process, a concept which is embedded in traditional Aboriginal life. Aunty Joan is one of nine participants invited to participate in the Inter-Religious Research project “Forgiveness as a means of Peace” funded by the Arbor foundation from Switzerland.

As well as a being an outstanding mentor to Indigenous students and staff at ACU, Aunty Joan provides leadership within the university through her contributions to promoting reconciliation between Indigenous and non-Indigenous community. She is regularly asked to provide the Traditional Acknowledgement at all major university functions. She is also a member of the ACU Weemala Advisory Committee and the National Indigenous Advisory Committee . In 2008 the Australian Catholic University (ACU) National granted an honorary Fellowship to Aunty Joan.

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Acknowledgment of Country

The Wheeler Centre acknowledges the Wurundjeri Woi Wurrung people of the Kulin Nation as the traditional owners of the land on which we work. We pay our respects to the people of the Kulin Nation and all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Elders, past and present.