A highly respected Elder and community leader from Gympie will be named an Honorary Senior Fellow of the University of the Sunshine Coast.
Aunty Lillian Burke will receive the award at a special ceremony tomorrow (Thursday 25 October) at 10am at Hamilton Hall, Gympie State High School.
The award recognises the efforts of Aunty Lillian, President of Cooloola Aboriginal Service, to actively promote the benefits of further education to Gympie’s Indigenous community.
Over the past decade, she has worked with Aboriginal youth and volunteered with up to 100 advisory boards, committees and consultancy groups on a range of Indigenous issues, including Fraser Island's Indigenous Advisory Committee.
Her inspiring work as a community leader has earned her several accolades, including a Volunteering Queensland Lifetime Contribution to Volunteering Award.
A descendant of the Butchulla people with links to Kabi Kabi people, Aunty Lillian experienced a childhood of extreme disadvantage as part of the Stolen Generation.
She was born in Cherbourg, a small town located 250km north-west of Brisbane, and has lived in Gympie since 1999.
USC Vice-Chancellor Professor Greg Hill said Aunty Lillian was a valued and greatly respected friend and supporter of USC’s Gympie campus.
“Aunty Lillian is a worthy recipient of the honorary award of Senior Fellow in recognition of her significant contribution to encouraging Indigenous participation in higher education within the Gympie region,” he said.