Meet the Wadawurrung Candidates
Candidate for the Southwest Region
I am 73 & when I found out at age 35 that I was an Indigenous Australian my life & that of my Family changed forever.
My mother Violet “Nin” McPherson who turns 96 in June shared her history that has resulted in her Daughter Joy, my sister, now the Membership Manager looking after our people & represented Wadawurrung at the Birmingham Commonwealth Games Ceremony.
Our Daughter Rebekah Devlin is the General Manager of Treaty, Communications & the 2026 Commonwealth Games within our Traditional Lands.
One Nephew is the acting CEO of Wadawurrung whilst another is the Commonwealth Games Engagement Officer.
Whilst another is a Board Member & my Niece is a respected artist.
I am extremely proud of my Family & of being an Indigenous Australian for this is who I am.
As such I hereby nominate for our First Peoples’ Assembly as this is another opportunity for us ALL to be represented fairly & equally across this great Nation of Australia.
Finally as an Energy Management Consultant of many years standing I will fight to protect our fragile environment for you, your children & grandchildren.
Elder Wadawurrung Nation
Aunty Joy Oldaker
Candidate for the
South West Region
My name is Joy Oldaker, I am Wadawurrung Traditional Owner and a proud Wadawurrung elder.
I have been a member of Wadawurrung for over 20 years. During this time, I have been a Board Member and presently I am employed by the Corporation as the Membership Relations Coordinator.
I was privileged to be chosen to represent Wadawurrung at the Closing Ceremony of the Birmingham Commonwealth Games, where I presented message sticks to the President of the Commonwealth Games Federation, Dame Louise Martin, to bring back to the Victoria 2026 Commonwealth Games, which will be held partially on Wadawurrung Country.
It was a very proud moment for myself and my mother, who is the oldest living Wadawurrung elder, at 96.
I have a deep passion working with our Wadawurrung Members, old and new. One of the greatest achievements is reconnecting family members.
I am also on the Council of Elders working together with Elders to ensure Culture is protected, their knowledge is passed on, and that they have a safe place to be heard and respected.
The Assembly needs strong voices, that listen and can demonstrate loyalty, so we can move forward with purpose and hope for a better future.
Nyatne (thank you)
Candidate for the South West Region
My name is Jody Hand and I am proud Kulin Nation Wadawurrung woman.
Prior to working at Wadawurrung as an Elders and Family Support Officer, I had 26 years of experience in the Public Health and Research Sector. My decision to nominate for The First Peoples’ Assembly is to advocate for our Elders and Traditional Owners by being involved in the discussions and decisions that are made during the processes of Treaty.
I am hoping to empower Mob by listening to our Elders and our community and by giving us a strong and collective voice during these negotiations.
Nyatne baa Gobata (thank you and take care)
Candidate for the Metro Region
My name is Samuel Smits. I am 44 years old and a proud Wadawurrung Man.
Born in Albury, I moved to Maribrynong in my mid 20s and have now lived in St Albans, Melbourne for approximately 15 years.
For 1.5 years I have Co-Chaired the Ngal Ngal La, Wadawurrung’s Cultural Governance committee.
I currently work for Boeing Aerostructures Australia as their Indigenous Liaison Officer and Aerospace Tradesman. Previously, I was in the Army Reserves as a Royal Australian Electrical Mechanical Engineer for five years. I have also worked in sales and management of car dealerships.
I would love to represent the Metropolitan region on the Assembly to be a voice for self determination and Treaty, and making sure that you will be heard. Making you and your family secure, safe and healthy for future generations is my mission. How that looks is up to you.
Let me know what is important to you in regards to Treaty and I will use all the skills and values that I have, such as loyalty, honesty and integrity, building relationships, passion, and negotiation skills to achieve the results you want.
Thank you for taking the time to consider me as your representative in the Assembly.
Candidate for the
North West Region
I am Lynette Fagan, a proud Wadawurrung Woman living on Dja Dja Wurrung Land and raising my family here.
I believe everyone has a voice and they deserve to be heard. I am passionate about representing my community and helping highlight and share issues that are important to us all.
I have worked in Disability and supporting young kids and parents to reconnect is something I have loved doing. I often advocate in schools for my children who have disabilities to have their human rights upheld.
I am an Aboriginal Artist and have been involved in three Exhibitions, including Bendigo’s first Aboriginal Art Gallery, Dja Djuwima.
I enjoy a yarn and am very good at listening and advocating for a better future.