SNAICC saddened by the sudden passing of Children’s Day Ambassador

by Freya Lucas

August 27, 2019

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander readers are warned that the following article references  a recently deceased person.


SNAICC – National Voice for our Children was ‘shocked and saddened’ by the recent sudden passing of a Wangkatjungka woman who was an Ambassador for National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Children’s Day 2019, using her character, Nanna, from the highly successful children’s TV series Little J and Big Cuz.


The person who passed has been named in this statement from SNAICC, with permission from her family. Following cultural protocol, The Sector has chosen not to name the person, as the family’s permission has not been given directly to The Sector to share. 


The Wangkatjungka woman who provided the voice for Nanna was born in the far north Kimberley region of Western Australia, growing up on Country. 


She began her career as a dancer with with Sydney’s Aboriginal Dance Theatre before moving on to work with Bangarra Dance Theatre, and soon became renowned for her outstanding performances in theatre, TV and film, including Rabbit Proof Fence and Bran Nue Dae.


Her family said that her passion and love of culture inspired Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children to celebrate the importance of playing, learning and belonging. As part of her function as Ambassador for National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Children’s Day 2019, SNAICC spoke to the person about what playing, learning and belonging meant to her:


“When I was a young child I was very lucky that I didn’t speak English. I spoke my traditional language, Walmajarri. When I first went to kindy I was fascinated with the pictures and the books and other toys that I hadn’t played with before. It prompted me to want to learn more about other places and people and languages. So I had a fantastic time in my early years growing up, going to kindy and going to school. 

“I think it’s vital for our children to get an education and learn in those early years. It prepares you for the future.”

Speaking about the passing of the influential Ambassador, SNAICC Chairperson Muriel Bamblett said “She was an inspiring and talented woman who will always be remembered, not only for her passionate performances, but for celebrating our culture and inspiring our children. 


Our thoughts are with her family and friends as we remember her contribution to the hearts and minds of all Australians for today we have lost a truly amazing woman.”


To read the statement, as published by SNAICC, please see here