Aunty Diane Kerr is a respected Elder of the Wurundjeri Tribe, and a Mother, Grandmother and Aunty to many across several generations. Born in Melbourne in 1954, Aunty Di identifies with the Ganun Willam Balak clan of the Wurundjeri and save for one year where she resided in Canberra has always lived on Wurundjeri country. Gman speaks on 3KND to this well respected Elder. As a young girl she often spent holidays visiting Maroondah Dam and remembers when it was beautiful countryside with flowing creeks and open grassland. Aunty Di is the matriarch of her family and takes pride in being a mother, stepmother, foster mother, aunty and a grandmother. Her family consists of five children - three of which are her own, a foster son and a cultural daughter – but her home and heart are open to many.
Aunty Di has devoted much of her life to her local community as both a mentor and foster carer and has worked in various fields including child care, education, native title, Stolen Generation support, and other community work, her passion, however, lies in the social and emotional wellbeing of Aboriginal communities. Aunty Di has been actively involved with the Royal Women’s Hospital in Melbourne. In 2013 she chaired the hospital’s Community Advisory Committee and was also a member of its Consumer Committee. She helped found research at the University of Melbourne’s Heart Research Centre around mental illness and chronic disease afflicting the Wurundjeri people.
Aunty Di believes that many Aboriginal people’s health problems stem from ‘a type of post-traumatic syndrome disorder’ which seeps into our culture and comes from ‘the stress and distress of being removed off country.’ Since 2014 Aunty Di has been conducting women’s ceremonies for Aboriginal girls – something I had the honour of being a part of. The ceremonies enable the girls to approach womanhood with confidence, having gained a connection to country, knowledge of their identity and a general sense of well-being. Aunty Di is committed to improving the lives of those around her. The responsibility of guiding younger generations is very important to her and she works hard to uphold Aboriginal culture in a modern, urbanised world.