Since 2018, the National Torres Strait Islander Catholic Council (NATSICC) has held the Service to Community Awards as a way of recognising the gifts that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people bring to the Australian Catholic Church. Each year NATSICC receives nominations from every Australian State and Territory and this year’s list of recipients includes Victorian elder Susan Collins.

According to NATSICC, Susan was nominated by the Catholic secondary colleges of Geelong – St Joseph’s, Sacred Heart, Clonard, St Ignatius and Iona – for her tireless work in supporting their Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students and families, and has been instrumental in promoting First Nations’ culture.

Susan Collins
Susan Collins Image credit: NATSICC

Susan and her family are part of the Stolen Generation, and her generosity in sharing this story with the local community has helped raise awareness of the pain and trauma experienced by many First Nations’ families.

The schools say it was during a time of acute trauma where Susan’s gifts shone through. ‘It was an incredibly difficult time for our communities and it was Aunty Sue who demonstrated immense strength, love and courage to provide comfort and support,’ the schools noted in their nomination.

Susan is an integral figure in the lives of young Indigenous people and the Geelong school communities said they were so grateful and blessed to have her support.

Visit the NATSICC website to view the full list of 2021 Service to Community Awards recipients and for resources on NAIDOC Week 2021.