Regional Visit Spotlight – Port Lincoln 2024

Late last month Principal Aboriginal Advocate, Shaylem Wilson, and Senior Advocate Hamish Mckenzie, had the great privilege of travelling to Port Lincoln. During the visit, they met with young people in their residential care houses, as well as local NGO workers.

From the outset, one of Shona’s key priorities has been visiting regional areas. Her experience growing up in the mid-north of South Australia makes the regional experience close to her heart – even if she cannot be present for all the regional trips that happen! Advocates visiting Port Lincoln provided invaluable opportunities to meet with young people in residential care, to listen to what matters to them, their concerns and, perhaps most importantly, celebrate in their achievements.

While in Port Lincoln, Shaylem and Hamish had the honour of meeting some of the young people who live in residential care, and speak to them about how they are going; things that are working well, but also things that are concerning them. Time and time again, young people’s personality and positivity is incredible, and Port Lincoln was no different. Some young people spoke of their excitement for what the future holds and their cherished family connections. Others told us about adventures they have at their residential care house, whether that be fishing, crabbing, surfing, and sandboarding – or broadening their culinary horizons through kangaroo steaks and, the local delicacy, oysters!

Meeting the young people, and hearing about their excitement, their hopes, and their aspirations, provides our team with important motivation and insight when advocating for their needs. As Hamish and Shaylem told us:

“You can’t help but feel re-energised after meeting these young people, even after being beaten at netball, and basketball… and cricket, dodgeball, chasey, football, hide-and-seek, and bike races.
– Hamish

“It’s a privilege to spend time with young people, listening to them and allowing them space to share with us is the most important part of our roles. I admire their bravery in speaking with us and letting us amplify their voices, not only for themselves, but all children and young people in care”.
– Shaylem

Regional visits are also an opportunity to meet local service providers – and the team at Aboriginal Family Support Services were kind enough to extend Shaylem and Hamish some of their valuable time. It is always inspiring to see the level of work and care that takes place behind the scenes to support carers, with the end goal of ensuring the young people are being looked after in the best way possible. The team spoke about both their success and struggles, however what was clear was the knowledge they held, their passion for their work, and importance they placed on community.

Time and time again on regional visits, the vital role of community is highlighted. Through working with the community, through being part of the community, locally appropriate solutions can be developed. Regional communities provide such rich evidence of the positive outcomes this has for young people and their families.

The young people on regional visits continue to inspire, and hopefully next time we meet we can also sample some of those delightful local delicacies with them!

We are currently planning more regional visits throughout the next 12 months, and look forward to sharing these visits and engagements in our future blogs. 

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We acknowledge and respect Aboriginal People as the traditional owners
and custodians of the land we live and work on, their living culture and their unique role in the life of South Australia.