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Aboriginal Elder Receives Honoray Degree

From the Archives

An Australian Aboriginal Elder from the Bibilmum Noongar language group has received an honorary degree from reputable Warnborough College (Ireland) on the 8th August, 2013. 

An Australian Aboriginal Elder from the Bibilmum Noongar language group has received an honorary degree from Warnborough College (Ireland) on the 8th August, 2013. Robert Francis Isaacs, who was honoured with the Order of Australia and serves as a Justice of Peace, has committed the last 50 years to breaking down cultural barriers and improving the lives of thousands of Aboriginal people.

Professor Raymond Morland, the Warnborough College Council Secretary, was a former professor at the Western Australia Institute of Technology (WAIT) where he met the young Robert. With funding from the Perth Rotary, he recommended Robert for an American exchange programme involving special projects with the Uti Indians.

After his return from Utah, Robert focused on understanding how Australian legislation and policies impacted Aboriginal people, and then developing practical, innovative policies and programs to assist them. His initiatives include establishing dental, rehabilitation and health care clinics; improving relations between Aboriginals and the justice system; assisting in establishing Clontarf Aboriginal College; and leading housing initiatives.

Robert has held senior roles related to Aboriginal Housing affairs, the Aboriginal Medical Service, and the Marr Mooditji Aboriginal Health Workers College. He founded the Aboriginal Medical Service Dental Clinic. He was the first Aboriginal person to be elected to local government in his previous roles as Councillor and Deputy Mayor for the City of Gosnells. Robert pioneered the first negotiation between a multinational mining company and an Aboriginal community. He is now Executive Member to the State Aboriginal Advisory Council (Aboriginal Affairs Planning Authority Act).

Robert Isaacs’ unique contributions to society were recognised by Warnborough College (Ireland), and he was awarded anHonoris Causa Ph.D in recognition of his contribution to social work and Aboriginal affairs, leading to the social and economic advancement of Aboriginal people in Western Australia. Warnborough College is also working to establish educational opportunities and scholarships for Aboriginal students.

Dr Brenden Tempest-Mogg, College President, said “We are looking forward to welcoming Aboriginal students to Canterbury.”

Julian Brazier, the MP for Canterbury, sent well-wishes on the occasion and also for the 40th anniversary of Warnborough’s founding in Oxford in 1973.  The week of celebrations began with a welcome to international delegates by John Gilbey, head of the Canterbury City Council. He personally congratulated Robert Isaacs on his award and achievements.

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