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Order of Malta Australia

News

Blankets, food and care pack distribution in the Daly River

13/06/2024 


Report by Maria Randazzo

On Sunday 9 June, the Order of Malta members and volunteers of the Northern-Central Region, led by Father Ched Mloka from St Marys Cathedral (Darwin), jointly with St Vincent the Paul Society’s members and a several members of the African Darwin choir, travelled from Darwin to the community of Nauiyu (Daly River) in the Northern Territory to share a time of grace in Christian brotherhood with the Nauiyu First Nations community. Nauiyu is located 230km south of Darwin.

We were warmly welcomed by Fr Rius Baku Salu SVD outside the town’s Church. We were also honoured and humbled by the  presence of the Elder community leader, Dr Miriam-Rose Ungunmerr Baumann AM and her fraternal ‘welcome’. Dr Miriam-Rose  is a Ngan’giwumirri woman and Elder from Nauiyu. After the Eucharist, celebrated by Fr Rius and Fr Ched and beautifully animated by the Nauiyu choir and the African choir, we shared our gifts (blankets, clothes, food items, hygiene bags and rosary beads) over a morning tea for the community.

It was a special opportunity to connect with members of this First Nations Community and with Dr Miriam Rose, who inspired members and volunteers with her way of life and deep understanding of western culture. She said:

“We have lived in this country for many thousands of years and 200 years ago we began to interact with white fellas. Since then, we have adapted to a new way of living. We learned to speak your English fluently. For years we have walked on a one-way street to learn the white man’s, white people’s way. I’ve learned to walk in two worlds and to live in towns and cities and even worked in them. Now is the time for you to come closer to understand us and to understand how we live and listen to what the needs are in our communities. When you come to visit or work in our communities and leave your comfort zones, I ask that you bring your knowledge and wisdom, but we ask you also to learn and understand how we live and function in our communities and listen to what our needs are.”

It was a memorable visit, strengthening the OM Northern Central Region’s connections of trust and friendship with the Nauiyu community.

 

More about Dr Miriam-Rose Ungunmerr Baumann AM

Dr Miriam-Rose is a renowned educator, artist, and public speaker, who has dedicated her life to improving educational outcomes for Aboriginal children. In 1975, Dr Miriam-Rose became the Northern Territory’s first fully qualified Aboriginal teacher and later became the principal of the Catholic school in her home community before being appointed to the Federal Government’s advisory body, the National Indigenous Council. In 2013, she established the Miriam Rose Foundation, to bridge the divide between Aboriginal culture and mainstream society – driving reconciliation at a grassroots level.

Through her professional and creative life, Dr Miriam-Rose has remained dedicated to maintaining the cultural independence of her people and being a spokesperson for an Aboriginal worldview. In recognition of her leadership, she was invested as a Member of the Order of Australia and conferred an Honorary PhD in Education from Charles Darwin University. Recently she was awarded a second honorary doctorate by the Australian Catholic University: the degree of Doctor of the University.

In 2021 Dr Miriam-Rose’s body of work was recognised when she was named Senior Australian of the Year. She was also chosen as one of 10 everyday Australians to form part of a national delegation, along with the Prime Minister, to attend the funeral of Queen Elizabeth II.

The Australian Association

The Australian Association, formed in 1974, currently has in excess of 300 members and aspirant members across every State and Territory of Australia. We also have ongoing and strong links with the Order’s National Associations throughout the Asia Pacific Region including in Singapore and the Philippines and with members of the Order in New Zealand, Hong Kong SAR, Thailand and Korea. The Order of Malta is committed to serving Our Lords the Poor and Sick worldwide and has done so for over 900 years. This website shares with you the history, mission and current activities of the Order of Malta in Australia, and provides links to the work of the Order world-wide.