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IPAA Victoria tribute to Merle Jackomos OAM

IPAA Victoria was saddened to hear of the recent passing of Merle Jackomos OAM.  Although she has gone to the dreamtime, Merle Jackomos will always have a place in the heart of IPAA Victoria.

One of the milestones on our Reconciliation calendar is the Alick and Merle Jackomos Oration which was one way we showed the respect that we have for Alick and Merle Jackomos who together made an immense contribution to Indigenous communities in Victoria and around Australia.

Together with her husband Alick, Merle’s achievements included the creation of many Aboriginal community organisations and national bodies, which championed the aspirations of Indigenous Australians – including the Aborigines Advancement League and the Victorian Aboriginal Legal Service.

As a member of the Yorta Yorta people, Merle grew up on the famed Cummeraganja Mission in NSW where the historic ‘walk off’ occurred in 1939, brought about by the unjust treatment of her people. She continued to form a deeply personal relationship with Melbourne’s Aboriginal community, bringing momentous support to her community, which included establishing youth hostels.

As an early participant in the Federal Council for the Advancement of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders, Merle’s personal involvement helped the passing of the historic 1967 Referendum - the first stage in the true reconciliation movement within Australia.

For Merle’s commitment to her community, she received along with Alick, the Medal of the Order of Australia. Their legacy in the public sector lives on through children Andrew PSM and an IPAA Fellow, Esmai and Michael.

IPAA Victoria will always remember Merle and Alick’s dedication in bringing Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal Australians together. Merle Jackomos is a glowing example of someone with ideals aimed toward a better future for all Australians.