About Aunty Mollie Dyer
Aunty Mollie Dyer, a proud Yorta Yorta woman, exemplified this year’s NAIDOC theme: ‘because of her we can’. She is remembered as a courageous advocate for the rights of Aboriginal children and families, with an unwavering belief in the strength of their Country, Community and Culture.
Believing “Our kids are the most viable enterprise we can be engaged in“, Aunty Mollie had six children of her own and fostered many other children and young people. Big-hearted and strong-willed, she advocated tirelessly for the Aboriginal community, especially for Aboriginal children in care to be placed with Aboriginal families whenever possible. In 1976 Mollie, with other Victorian Aboriginal community members founded VACCA, the first Aboriginal-run agency to support Aboriginal children and families. Within three years of operation, the number of Aboriginal children in care had reduced by 40%. Aunty Mollie’s passionate and tenacious approach brought about many changes in child and family government policy. She also played a key role in establishing other Aboriginal Community Controlled Organisations, including the national peak body for Aboriginal child and welfare, SNAICC.
Over the years, Aunty Mollie received many important awards for her dedicated service, including the Order of Australia, International Year of the Child Award and the Advance Australia Award. She remains an inspiration to many people today. The Mollie Dyer Awards celebrate Victorian Aboriginal peoples’ excellent work in supporting Aboriginal children, young people and families to feel safe, strong and proudly connected to Culture and Community.