NAIDOC Week: honour and recognition ‘For Our Elders’

Honour for Elder and educator Aunty Fay Stewart Muir highlights NAIDOC Week celebrations, which ran from 2 to 9 July 2023.


From Sunday 2 to Sunday 9 July 2023, we celebrated NAIDOC Week 2023. In keeping with this year’s theme – ‘For Our Elders’ – the department congratulates distinguished Elder and educator Aunty Fay Stewart Muir (OAM).

In the recent 2023 King’s Birthday Honours, Aunty Fay was awarded a Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM) for services to the Aboriginal community of Victoria. This is a richly deserved honour for Aunty Fay, who has made an extraordinary contribution to the Victorian community.

Through her work as a community language specialist and cultural educator for the Victorian Aboriginal Corporation for Languages, Aunty Fay has brought deep knowledge of her culture and languages into early childhood services, school classrooms and community settings, enriching all those who have had the privilege to learn from her.

As a mentor, author, and educator, Aunty Fay provides cultural guidance to students and teachers at all levels of the Victorian education system. As an example, Aunty Fay has previously worked with the Victorian Curriculum and Assessment Authority, embedding Aboriginal perspectives in the Victorian curriculum. Aunty Fay has also contributed to this year’s Kinder Kit, with 2 books Birds in the Bush’ and ‘Whose Animals? Australia’, co-authored with Jeannette Rowe.

NAIDOC Week is celebrated across Australia in the first week of July each year (Sunday to Sunday), under the leadership of the National Aborigines and Islanders Day Observance Committee.

We are grateful that Aunty Fay was celebrated in NAIDOC Week alongside other Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

Aunty Fay – a proud community leader

Aunty Fay is a Senior Boon Wurrung and Wemba Wemba Elder, First Nations’ community leader and Koori Court Elder. She is a Boon Wurrung and Wemba Wemba language specialist and works as a prison educator in First Nation languages and a creative language revival consultant and collaborator.

When asked what the award meant to her, Aunty Fay said: ‘It means recognition of the work I’ve done in community; not just my own community, but especially in early childhood and school settings – also the justice space.’

Aunty Fay’s quiet dignity and commitment embodies the spirit of self-determination practised by her, and which shapes all her work with community.

Aunty Fay was inducted into the Victorian Honour Roll of Women in 2020 and the Victorian Aboriginal Honour Roll in 2021.

What can you do to mark NAIDOC Week?

It’s not too late to celebrate NAIDOC Week! Take the chance to learn more about the week and First Nations culture by visiting the NAIDOC Week website.

You can also promote the week by:

Find out more

For further information, we encourage you to check out these resources to: