- Change Agent
As the youngest daughter of Aboriginal leaders Pastor Sir Douglas Nicholls and 2008 Victorian Honour Roll of Women inductee Lady Gladys Nicholls, Aunty Pam follows in her parents’ footsteps as an advocate for the rights of Aboriginal people.
Aunty Pam has made a significant contribution to the lives of young people in the court system, offering counsel and sharing her own experience to promote cohesion in Aboriginal families and communities. She has been an Elder on the Koori Courts since 2005, a community member of the Adult Parole Board, and has worked with young people coming into contact with the criminal justice system in roles with Jesuit Social Services and now Berry Street Shepparton.
Aunty Pam has served on numerous boards and committees, including: the Tarwirri Elders and Respected Panel; Long Walk Board; Carlton Football Club Advisory Board on the Reconciliation Action Plan; the AFL Sir Doug Nicholls Indigenous Round organising committee; and the Worawa Aboriginal College. She is an Honorary Elder of the Victorian National Aboriginal and Islander Day Observance Committee (NAIDOC).
At the age of 50, Aunty Pam became involved in sport to set an example for community members about the importance of exercise. She represented Victoria at the World Masters Games in swimming, and began competing in half marathons, triathlons, open water swimming and yachting. In 2005, she was named NAIDOC National Sportsperson of the Year. Her proudest sporting moment was representing her people in the opening ceremony and baton relay for the 2006 Commonwealth Games in Melbourne.
Aunty Pam was awarded the Australia Day Federal Award in 2005 and ‘Koorie Women Mean Business’ awards in 1997, 2002 and 2004. In 2016, she was inducted onto the Victorian Aboriginal Honour Roll.
Her motto is, “If you can dream it, you can achieve it”.
Reviewed 12 July 2019