OAMs – June 2011

 Gary & Val OAM medals

Gary Morris OAM  (co-founder of Booroongen Djugun Limited)

Gary Morris, a Dunghutti Elder, was born at Kempsey District Hospital in 1954 and grew up on Burnt Bridge Mission. His mother is Aunty Maggie J Morris who was the patron of the Gumbayngirr language and was recognised by the United Nations for her contribution to preserving Gumbayngirr language.

Gary is the co-founder of Booroongen Djugun Limited (BDL) (along with Val March), and is currently the Chairperson/CEO of the Corporation.


From an early age, Gary has been active politically at the grass level in Aboriginal affairs and is a strong advocate for his people.


Gary is an campaigner for social change, this has proven successful in many ways such as:

•    planning and developing services;

•    running support and social action groups;

•    increasing people skills;

•    participating in meetings and forums;

•    being aware and socially and politically active;

•    improving quality of life for Aboriginal people ie housing, legal aid, medical services, aged care, services for children including children with a disability;

•    working for social justice and equity for our mob; and

•    empowering communities and individuals.


Valerie Mary MARCH OAM JP (co-founder, Booroongen Djugun Limited)

I have a background in business development, management, and training. During my business life, I have developed and/or managed seven businesses.


Before coming to Kempsey, I developed in partnership with a colleague, two businesses.  From a concept, we were able to establish the businesses to be very successful financial and sustainable enterprises. In addition, in partnership with my husband, I owned and managed three retail businesses which, under our control and management, showed substantial growth and profitability. We were able to sell all three businesses at an increased profit.


After arriving in Kempsey in 1988, I managed the Kempsey Branch of the Home Care Service of NSW. This position introduced me to Kempsey community based home support services for the aged and people with disabilities. Through this involvement, I recognised that Aboriginal peoples of the Macleay area were not receiving adequate care services to meet their cultural and individual needs.


I have worked at Booroongen Djugun College as an assessor, trainer and marker for18 years. During this time I have taught both Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal students; management and staff of Booroongen Djugun Limited, as well as employees of other organisations in the surrounding areas. I also mark assessments from my classes as well the distance education unit.


A program I developed was selected as a WADU Demonstration Model for Australia. The program was used to train Indigenous school students from Year 9 in accredited training (aged care work). A circular learning plan was developed using state hospitals and/or aged care facilities. The model was Case Studied and promoted across Australia and is still being promoted by the Department of Education Employment and Workplace relations (DEEWR) as a Best Practice Model. TAFE uses the BDC WADU model across NSW for their VET-in-School programs. DEEWR has promoted this model and it is now being used by other Registered Training Organisations (RTOs) across Australia.


In partnership with Gary Morris OAM, planned and coordinated the establishment of Booroongen Djugun Limited:

Catalyst / Driver of projects

Established 60 bed Aged Care Facility

Established 15 Community Based Services ie Home and Community Care; Regional HACC Development and Support Officer; Respite Services; Food services; Aged Independent Housing x 5; Community Aged Care Packages x 35 places; Community Options x 50 places; Conservation and Land Management Community Support Officer (training and Projects); Volunteer Training Program x 50 places.


In the role of Director of Operations, I supervise the:

  • Financial management and sustainability of services
  • Determine the effective allocation of resources
  • Assessment and identification of community needs
  • Ensure efficient training and assessment to each individual student
  • Staff management (recruitment, supervision, support, etc)
  • Record keeping and maintenance and safe keeping of records
  • Staff training and professional development


  • Bachelor of Arts, Social Welfare, Charles Sturt University
  • Graduate Diploma in Tertiary Education, University of New England
  • Diploma of Training and Assessment Systems, Power Business College
  • Diploma of Frontline Management
  • Diploma of Community Services Coordination, Booroongen Djugun College
  • Prepare for Quality Audit; Participate in Quality Audit, SAI Global
  • Management Systems Auditing, SAI Global
  • TAE40110 Certificate IV in Training and Assessment, Response Employment and Training Pty Ltd
  • TAE50111 Diploma of Vocational Education and Training, Healthy Business Training Academy
  • TAE50211 Diploma of Training Design and Development