Meet truth receiver Aunty Colleen
Hi my name is Aunty Colleen Harney and I am a proud Taribelang Bunda, Goreng Goreng adopted Monero Ngarigo woman. But I have lived on Gunai Kurnai Country in East Gippsland for 60 years now.
I am a mother, a wife, and grandmother and friend to many. And I am also a Truth Receiver at Yoorrook based in East Gippsland.
My first job was working in a dry cleaning company in Orbost but I only lasted a couple of months because I couldn’t stand the heat.
Since then, I’ve spent over 40 years working with community throughout Gippsland and Adelaide to ensure my community get the support they need and have a strong voice. This has included roles such as a Field Officer at Victorian Aboriginal Legal Service, and a Community Engagement Officer and Family Mediator at Gippsland and East Gippsland Aboriginal Co-op (GEGAC) in Bairnsdale, and also as a voluntary Elders support staff at the Other Way Centre in Adelaide. I am also proud to be one of the founders of the New Years Eve Koori Marshalling program in Lakes Entrance which was founded to reduce the number of community being locked.
My motto is that “I’m not in it for my gains, I’m in it for the gains of my people”
When people want to share their truths with me, I often like to take them to a quite spot alongside the beautiful Mitchell River (see photo). I find being by the water calm, safe and healing.
Although I had planned to retire before Yooorook, when I heard about the role I took up the challenge because I’m passionate about making sure community have a chance to share their voice and get some justice.