Yandaarra Aunty Grace Roberts Community Awards
The Sector > Provider > General News > Yandaarra Aunty Grace Roberts Community Awards now open for nominations

Yandaarra Aunty Grace Roberts Community Awards now open for nominations

by Freya Lucas

April 10, 2024

Aunty Grace Roberts was known around her Coffs Harbour, New South Wales community for being “a strong-willed and irresistible force.”


She was renowned for supporting others in the First Nations community, and her most loved expression – years before it was adopted by Nike – was “just do it!”


After Aunty Grace passed an awards program was established to honour her by recognising outstanding members of the Aboriginal community. 


The Yandaarra Aunty Grace Roberts Community Awards are run by the City of Coffs Harbour, and while many know about the annual awards, less is known about the woman for whom they are named – something early childhood education and care (ECEC) professional Leanne Roberts is keen to change. 


Ms Roberts, who is the educational leader at Kulai Preschool, is very proud of the achievements of her grandmother Aunty Grace, and of the impact she had on the community. 


“She was a well-known woman, well respected, and a member of the Stolen Generation,” Ms Roberts said. 


“She used to travel up and down the coast and could see the living conditions of her people and that’s why she fought so hard for homes.”


Regularly getting around Coffs Harbour on foot, Aunty Grace was not one to take a backward step. 


“She’d be upfront with them (government agencies) and she had the whole community behind her,” Ms Roberts said. 


In the lead up to the awards Ms Roberts is calling for a strong show of support for the 2024 program, and for nominations from the community to recognise First Nations people, organisations or businesses who are going above and beyond. 


“Aboriginal achievers should be celebrated,” she said. “Aunty Grace always used to say “be strong and just do it!” These are her awards, I’m just here to back her up.” 


Nominations can be put forward by First Nations and non First Nations people, however nominees must be First Nations. 


The awards have seven categories, namely: 


  • The Grace Roberts Memorial Community Development Award, 
  • The Aunty Award, 
  • The Uncle Award, 
  • A Sports Achievement Award, 
  • The Youth of the Year Award, 
  • An Arts & Cultural Achievement Award and;  
  • The Aboriginal Community Organisation/Business of the Year Award. 


The awards are presented by the City of Coffs Harbour and Yandaarra Aboriginal Advisory Committee to showcase Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people on the Coffs Coast and the amazing work they do. 


Nominations opened Wednesday 3 April and will close Friday 3 May. Make a nomination here.


The winners will be announced at an awards ceremony to be held on Monday 8 July at Yarrila Place, River Oak Room.

Download The Sector's new App!

ECEC news, jobs, events and more anytime, anywhere.

Download App on Apple App Store Button Download App on Google Play Store Button