Honour 'shock' for Aunty Mae

ABORIGINAL elder Aunty Mae Robinson said she felt honoured and elated when she was told she had received the Fairfield City Citizen of the Year award.

"I was absolutely shocked," she said. "I just couldn't believe that I was receiving it.

"But I'm highly honoured to be given this award because it's a community award.

"We do work with people across the board and you don't think about it, and then someone just takes notice of who you are, so I'm very proud to be Fairfield Citizen of the Year."

The 70-year-old has lived in Mount Pritchard for 41 years and has spent several years working with primary and secondary students to encourage teaching, reading and language development.

She has also played a vital role in developing the South Western Sydney Regional Aboriginal Student Achievement Awards, which encourage academic excellence.

"It's very important to teach my culture because a lot of people have misconceptions about Aboriginal people, so I want to show and teach people our traditions," Aunty Mae said.

"I once had a student who asked me if I still hunted and gathered, and I said, "yes, I do. I go to Woolworths, hunt for the best bargain and once I've gathered all my goods, I come home in my Nissan'."

Aunty Mae was part of the stolen generations, is passionate about teaching and has been involved in education for more than 30 years.

"Education is a very, very important part of my thinking in relation to the world and of young Aboriginal students trying to find their feet," she said.

"I was on the committee that developed the first-ever Aboriginal education policy in the early 1980s."

She is also part of the University of Western Sydney's indigenous student mentorship program, lecturing staff and working with students.

"I still do this because it's important," she said. "I found the knowledge I carry as an Aboriginal elder is something that the community is very interested in."

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