Past Board

Garth Agius (South Australia)

I was involved in FATSIL in the early days and have just recently come back. The organisation has grown bigger and better, and I am excited and honoured to be working with the committee once again.

I have also been involved in the beginnings of the SA Language Centre, (Yaitya Warra Wodli) where exciting new changes are also taking place.

M 0422 757 293

Melinda Holden (Queensland) (Resigned 2007)

I have lived in Townsville for the past 12 years. I am currently working on my family languages of Gurang and Warrgamay.

My involvement with language is:

  • Diploma in the Indigenous Languages
  • FATSIL Committee member
  • Member of the RALMC for the Townsville/Cairns regions for 3 years.

My focus for language betterment is:

  • Lobby the Queensland Government to implement an Indigenous Language Policy.
  • Establishment and structure of a State Language Reference Group.
  • Management and storage for a Queensland database of all listed Languages, resources, research and language workers.

    P 07 4725 7799

Kevin Lowe (New South Wales)(Resigned 2007)

I believe that FATSIL has picked up the mantle given to it by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and become their key organisation to advise and advocate for our languages with governments across Australia.

The direction FATSIL has recently taken has supported the significant language programs which have been initiated in NSW.

It is important that FATSIL and its NSW members and language communities work together to grow language opportunities in the future.

P 02 9367 8198
M 0419 129 159 / 0429 420 359

Eddie Chisholm (Northern Territory)

I was born in Darwin 1971 I lived through the destruction of cyclone Tracy. In 1975 our family moved to southern Arnhem Land where my father began working for Essential services at the Barunga community (formally known as Bamily) and then on to Maningrida community in northern Arnhem Land.  My mother worked as a school teacher.  These two communities are where I began my education, attending pre-school and the majority of my primary schooling. I am very thankful and fortunate to grow up in these places, close to my traditional origins. This has had a huge influence on my career. As I look back now I realize how crucial these years were when I was young and naïve.It has been a solid grounding or me that I can not forget.

Other communities I would consider to be of equal importance and influential on my identity would have to be Ngukurr community (Roper River Mission, southeast Arnhem Land) where most of my immediate family come from.  Then Lajamanu in the north Tanami desert where my father and mother worked when I completed my secondary schooling in Adelaide.  Going home to Lajamanu from boarding school in Adelaide was an amazing experience, I find it hard to comprehend even now one world to another ( I have no regrets about this).  Ngukurr is where I found who I was and where I came from, my grandfathers from this region were truly unbelievable.  They took me in under their wings, gave me knowledge, and helped me to understand things which I could not find answers to by myself.  They taught me such things as my aboriginal name and my skin name; which is Cojok, and my totem; which is the Goanna as is my father’s and my sonss totem.  They taught me what their skin is also, my mothers skin and her totem and every other member of our family.  Through these simple teachings I have come to realize, apply to all of us, and how they are of great relevance to our culture, even more so now, in today’s confusing and changing times.

I have worked in the media for channel 9 in Darwin (NTD8) and Imparja television in Alice Springs.  I have also lectured in television and radio production for a Bachelor Institute through out the NT, and assisting those from remote communities.  This coincided whilst working and living at Ngukurr community for several years with the council and CDEP programs there.  Being an integral part of putting languages back into the Ngukurr CEC (Community Education Centre), this was one of my more gratifying achievements.  Now up to five languages are taught to the kids there, it is ongoing, and very much a part of their school curriculum.  The other main contribution in my work experience has been working for the Aboriginal Legal Services in the Katherine and Miwatj regions of the NT as a para legal/field officer.  This allowed me to travel a lot into the country I was so familiar with, this I enjoyed very much, even though the circumstance of trying to interpret this new law to natural law became extremely difficult at times.  My biggest asset for this job was being able to talk and understand language on both sides of the fence.  I can only encourage others especially our youth to learn as many languages as possible, this has been our biggest down fall for both black and white in this country, not being able to communicate with each other.  If now is the time for reconciliation then we must understand and respect each others cultures.

Theresa Sainty. Palawa Kani (Somerset, Tasmania)

Theresa has worked with the Tasmanian Aboriginal Centre for fourteen years and is now its Senior Aboriginal Language Worker. She has been a member of the Tasmanian Aboriginal Land Council and the State Aboriginal Housing Committee. After training with linguist Leo Edwardsson and researcher Annie Reynolds, Theresa is now researching the palawa kani language to help it become accessible to children in Tasmanian schools.

Denise Karpany (South Australia)


I am a descendant from the Ngarrindjeri, Narungga, Kaurna and Adnyamathanha People’s from South Australia.  I am one of eight children and lived in Adelaide all of my life.

My early years of schooling were at Ferryden Park and Brompton Primary Schools.  I completed my secondary school certificate at Croydon High School.  I attended Adelaide TAFE and received a Community Services Certificate as well as the advanced Certificate in Child Care.  I also have a Certificate in Management Practices, which was done in conjunction with the Australian Institute of Management and the Gibaran Management Consultants.

I have been a FATSIL Member since 1995 and have represented South Australia on the Governing Committee as a Delegate in the capacity of both the Chairperson Vice Chairperson.

I have had a long involvement in the maintenance, revival and preservation of Aboriginal Languages for many years.  I was an inaugural member of the Board of Management of Yaitya Warra Wodli Language Centre Incorporated, and more recently as an employee in the Project Officer / Field Worker and Manager’s positions.

My vision and dreams for the future are to ensure the development of both an Indigenous Languages Policy at both the State / Territory and National levels, as well as a movement towards a legislative base for the traditional languages of Australia.

Matilda House (Australian Capital Territory)