NAIDOC Week holds joy, sorrow for Aunty Judi - University of the Sunshine Coast, Queensland, Australia

Accessibility links

USC News

NAIDOC Week holds joy, sorrow for Aunty Judi

8 Jul 2021

NAIDOC Week holds great significance each year for Aunty Judi Wickes, a long-term Indigenous Services staff member at USC.

The Wakka Wakka-Kalkadoon woman, who provides counselling support for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students at the University, was the driving force behind the first NAIDOC Week celebrations ever held on the Sunshine Coast in 2003.

“I think NAIDOC Week is important to all Australians – not just Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people,” Aunty Judi said. “We need to come together on this. We’re all sisters and brothers. It’s a celebration for all citizens of this country.

Aunty Judi, who is a social worker and holds both a Bachelor of Arts (Honours) and a Master of Arts from USC, said NAIDOC Week provided an important opportunity to recognise the trans-generational trauma suffered by Aboriginal people.

This is a topic she has researched extensively after learning that her grandfather received a “certificate of exemption” under a government policy that continued until 1967 with the guise of allowing Aboriginal people to live in a “white man’s world”.

Aunty Judi said while the exemptions offered legal freedoms denied to other Indigenous people – such as the ability to travel freely and live and work where they wanted – they had a serious downside.

By requiring certificate holders to renounce their culture and heritage, they led to significant breakdowns in family and cultural connections, the ramifications of which are still being felt today.

One of Aunty Judi’s articles about exemptions is featured in Black, White and Exempt, a new book co-edited by La Trobe University academics Dr Jennifer Jones and Dr Lucinda Aberdeen (previously from USC).

Aunty Judi will speak on this topic at a ‘Second Rethinking and Researching 20th Century Aboriginal Exemption Symposium’ that will be hosted by USC and La Trobe University in late October.

Aunty Judi Wickes

Related programs

Related articles

Creative Industries student Adam Brannigan. Photo by Helen Klaas
Nurse’s flair for writing wins $5,000 national award
24 Aug

Impressing a marriage celebrant with his well-worded wedding vows has played a hand in Sunshine Coast palliative care nurse Adam Brannigan winning a new national writing prize.

Sawfish captured at Baffle Creek, Wide Bay in 1961. Image suppled to Sharks and Rays Australia.
Study seeks photos, sightings to save iconic sawfish
17 Aug

Researchers are seeking new and old photos of sawfish – one of the world’s most distinctive and endangered rays – in a bid to better understand how to protect them.

Shannon Nestor wins soil science research award
Mooloolah River probe earns award for bright spark
16 Aug

Establishing why the Mooloolah River catchment has elevated electrical conductivity in its estuarine sediments has earned a USC student high recognition from the Queensland branch of Soil Science Australia.

Contact the USC media team

Name Position Email Phone
Terry Walsh Manager, Media and Messaging +61 7 5430 1160
Janelle Kirkland Media Relations Coordinator +61 7 5459 4553
Clare McKay Media Relations Officer (Regional) +61 7 5456 5669

Search results for

Recent news