Tuesday, April 23, 2019  
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Naomi Mayers


Film Australia in association with Macumba Media Enterprises produced a film about Naomi Mayers as part of its Everyday Brave series in 2001. Written and directed by Catriona McKenzie. Produced by Rod Freeman .
This is the synoposis provided by Film Australia.

We recommend you also read the production story using the Behind the scenes link.


Naomi Mayers is an expert in Aboriginal health services and a political activist. She joined the Aboriginal Medical Service (AMS) in Sydney’s Redfern in 1972, soon after it was formed. Starting out as secretary, she has been its Chief Executive Officer for many years.


The AMS began as a small shopfront service run mainly by volunteers and developed into a nationwide network of kindred services. It is recognised internationally as a model for community-based health services and Naomi’s office in Redfern is visited by people from all over the world who come to learn from her experience.


Highly respected in Australia and overseas for her dedication to improving Aboriginal health, Naomi’s contributions were officially recognised with an Order of Australia Medal in 1984.


She has been the driving force behind many inner-city community development projects, including the establishment of the Murawina preschool program in 1973 and the Aboriginal Housing Company in 1976. She's also an active member of the Royal Flying Doctor Service, the World Health Organisation and the National Aboriginal Health Organisation.


Naomi’s political focus and spiritual strength come from her roots on the old Cummeragunja mission, near Shepparton on the NSW-Victorian border. Six generations of Naomi’s matriarchs are buried here. Cummeragunja is where she returns to refresh her spirit and renew her ties with the land.


In this program, we travel with Naomi and some of her family back to Cummeragunja, to the East Shepparton School reunion and then to boarding schools she attended in Bendigo and Melbourne. These are places charged with emotional memories. Never afraid of standing up for herself, Naomi’s strength of character emerges from her stories of fighting racism and harsh discipline.


The film gives us insight into Naomi's packed professional life, her involvement in Aboriginal politics, her more focused efforts to set up the AMS and how she overcame difficult early years to achieve what she has today.


The closeness of Naomi’s family has clearly sustained her in the years of struggle to develop adequate health standards for Aboriginal people. As Naomi says, ‘it’s a constant fight.’ Her determination over decades of work has earned Naomi the respect of her professional colleagues worldwide and the deep appreciation of her own community.

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