Ngardarb Francine Riches

Ngardarb is a Bardi/Jawi woman, born in the Kimberley region in Western Australia, who's made an impact in her community.

Honour Roll

Francine is a strong and passionate advocate for promoting reconciliation, understanding of Aboriginal culture and the issues faced by the Aboriginal community. She has assisted numerous organisations in developing reconciliation plans, including the Western Region Community Health Care (now known as cohealth), Maribyrnong Secondary College and Maribyrnong City Council.

As a Masters graduate of Fine Art, Francine is also an exceptionally talented artist. She has worked as an illustrator for children's books and has numerous paintings and sculptures exhibited across Australia. Her commitment to the promotion of Aboriginal art in the public arena has also facilitated a greater understanding and appreciation of Aboriginal culture. She has also travelled internationally with her Sculpture by the Sea exhibitions.

Francine has mentored extensively to assist in the development and support of Aboriginal artistic talent. She has worked with the Barkly Arts Centre, now known as the cohealth Arts Generator, and with Elders to run Elders Art groups.

In pastoral care, Francine established the first Aboriginal church in the western suburbs. With her husband, Pastor Tony Riches, she continues to support the local Aboriginal community. Francine has provided extensive chaplaincy support to Aboriginal AFL players and their families, and has developed the Indigenous Solidarity Statement used throughout Victoria and Tasmania's 130 churches. In 2012, she co-founded the Solid Chaplaincy Indigenous Youth Program which responds to complex issues faced by Aboriginal youth such as suicide, mental health and the forcible removal of the Stolen Generations. Francine has been shortlisted twice for the Premier's Book Award, received the Western Australian Inaugural State Percent for Art award, and became the Maribyrnong Citizen of the Year in 2014.