Farrah Linden


Know who you are and where you’ve come from so that you know where you’re going in the future.

Farrah was nominated by Tatiana Ah Mat from the Mornington Island Regional Council. She said that Farrah is someone that goes above and beyond everything she does in the community. Her nomination outlined that she is the backbone for her community and always helps with events; including planning NAIDOC Week celebrations, Memorial Day, events to mark Domestic and Family Violence Week as well as Elders Week. She has a reputation for always helping others and has been nominated due to her valuable role in the community.

I was born on Mornington Island where my Mum was a traditional owner. My Grandfather had a background in economics and worked in the cattle industry. He was also a very talented artist, and produced beautiful traditional paintings and crafts.

Although my upbringing was challenging, I can say that I was very lucky to grow up surrounded by strong influential women. But I do remember my early childhood as being difficult, and clearly remember thinking at the age of 6:

I’ll never be an alcoholic and I’ll never find myself in a Domestic & Family Violence situation.

I’m proud to say I’ve stuck to my word, and at the age of 40, have never put myself in that kind of situation. My youngest sister wasn’t as fortunate as she’s been in several tough relationships, so six of her children now live with me and call me “Aunty”, and I’ve raised the three youngest as my own.

When I was eight years old, my Mum took my family from Mornington Island to Mt Isa as stowaways on a barge. We left behind a history of alcoholism and Domestic and Family Violence to seek a better life.

Moving from Mornington Island was difficult, but I ended up doing my Primary school education in Mt Isa. When I was a teenager, my Mum decided that my cousins needed some extra help and moved back to Mornington Island with them. It was at this point I decided to leave Mt Isa and live with friends in Hervey Bay where I ended up graduating High School.

I ended up working for the Queensland Department of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Partnerships in in Townsville. I spent about a decade in this role, and really enjoyed my time there. However after ten years in the job, I felt this calling – like it was time to come home to my community. So I packed my bags and moved back to Mornington Island.

I love being back in my community, and have worked across a range of community services in short term contracts.

While in these roles, I really tried hard to provide professional development to local people in my community so that they had the capacity to continue my work with these organisations when I left.

It was terrific to work with some of these organisations, including working the Work for the Dole RDP scheme, as well as a great start-up through Save the Children. When I started working for Mission Australia, it was only meant to be a 3 months position, but now I’ve been here for over 4 years. It’s very rewarding to work with women across my community and to make a difference.


Did any Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander women inspire you growing up?

Yes most definitely.

I would have to say the most influential women in my life were my Grandmother, Mother, my two Aunties, as well as my cousins.

My Grandmother in particular was a big inspiration for me. She was a supervisor for Women’s Groups, a respected Elder, and taught culture in many schools across our community. Her contributions to her community and family meant that she was a major part of my life.

My Grandmother was very proud of her heritage and taught our culture to us kids. If she asked us questions about our culture, we knew we had better be able to answer them. Outside of my role at Mission Australia, I spend a lot of time working with my community.

I am very involved in NAIDOC Week events across the community and it’s an important time of the year for me. I truly love NAIDOC Week as it’s a chance for us all to celebrate our culture and identity.

I don’t get a lot of spare time as I’m often planning city events, and volunteer in Domestic & Family Violence education. I also get really involved in Seniors week in August.

We have a wonderful community in Mornington Island, and I try my best to meet the needs of our people and help where I can. I remember when I moved back here, I noticed that people in my community would often be stressed during funerals as they wouldn’t know how to plan them properly. It was very said to go to a funeral where there weren’t any booklets for the service, and I could tell that many family members organising these funerals felt upset and overwhelmed.

So now I help families in my community with funerals and wakes. I’ve put together a checklist for people to use so make the process easier, and I also make and print booklets for people to use at these services. This is a small contribution that I can make, but I know that it makes a difference in my community.

What message do you have this NAIDOC Week?

Know who you are and where you’ve come from so that you know where you’re going in the future.

Know who you are and where you’ve come from so that you know where you’re going in the future.