Portrait of Parbin-Ata Carolyn Briggs

Parbin-Ata Carolyn Briggs

Carolyn is a Boon Wurrung senior elder and is the chairperson and founder of the Boon Wurrung Foundation. A descendant of the First Peoples of Melbourne, the Yaluk-ut Weelam clan of the Boon Wurrung, she is the great-granddaughter of Louisa Briggs, a Boon Wurrung woman born near Melbourne in the 1830s.

Carolyn has been involved in developing and supporting opportunities for Indigenous youth and Boon Wurrung culture for over 40 years. In 2005, she established the Boon Wurrung Foundation, which has been responsible for significant work in cultural research, including restoration of the Boon Wurrung language. The Foundation also helps connect Aboriginal youth to their heritage.

Carolyn has worked across numerous communities for over 40 years and is currently completing her Doctorate in Philosophy researching assisting urban indigenous youth to understand indigenous knowledge.

Her cultural knowledge and experience has been recognised by communities throughout Australia. These achievements have been recognised by:

  • Being Awarded the National Aboriginal Elder of the Year in 2011 by the National NAIDOC Committee;

  • Being inducted into the Victorian Honour Roll of Women in 2005;

  • Being entered into the 2012 and 2013 'Who’s Who Australia';

  • Being appointed an Elders in Residence at RMIT University 2017;

  • Being inducted into the 2017 Victorian Aboriginal Honour Roll;

  • Receiving the Member of the Order (AM) of Australia for significant service to the Indigenous community 2019;

  • Elected member of inaugural First People’s Assembly of Victoria 2019.

She is the author of Journey Cycles of the Boon Wurrung: Stories with Boonwurrung LanguageBundjil Creation Story and Barraeemal Story.