Aunty Phyllis Andy

For more than 20 years Aunty Phyllis Andy has been an active community leader for the East Gippsland communities.

Honour Roll

For more than 20 years Aunty Phyllis Andy has been an active community leader and tireless worker for the East Gippsland communities of Bairnsdale, Lakes Entrance and Lake Tyers, focusing on women and children. Using her standing as a respected Indigenous Elder, Phyllis has influenced change and established partnerships, programs and services that create lasting benefits and a growing sense of local reconciliation.

Phyllis sees education as the key to a better future. "I try to make it a little bit better for the next generation of Indigenous women and children to access things better than what we did as kids and young adults," Phyllis said. "The inspiration to help others came when I presented graduation certificates to 10 Indigenous women on a childcare course. It meant the future and it felt special to see the Indigenous women standing side-by-side with the white people and they were equal at that moment," she said.

Phyllis later campaigned to improve the health and safety of Indigenous families and often placed herself in difficult and dangerous circumstances to protect vulnerable Elders, women and children. Her exposure and deep understanding of Indigenous issues was garnered from her various roles working in childcare, family support and community health. Phyllis was a founding member of Lakes Entrance Koori Elder groups and Lakes Entrance and Lake Tyers women's groups. She was also involved in the Gippsland and East Gippsland Aboriginal Cooperative Board, Lake Tyers Aboriginal Trust Board, and the Gippsland Lakes Community Health Board of Management.

To her community, Phyllis has also become an unofficial adviser, giving guidance and showing leadership on Indigenous community issues, as well as advocating for women's issues. "Women are the drive behind our families like our mothers were and their mothers before that. We are always out front making changes for the betterment of our communities," Phyllis said.