When Lynette Allen was voted onto the Kokatha Aboriginal Corporation Board as a Director earlier this year she was initially overwhelmed by the responsibility. ‘It was a bit daunting, but I thought, ‘yes, let’s see what I can do for the community during my time as a Director’,’ she says.
In the five months since she was elected, Lynette’s strong commitment to always doing her best for the Kokatha community has helped her settle into the new role, and gain confidence in her decision making. ‘I want to always make the right choices for the community, so sometimes we as the Directors need to consider things really carefully before making a decision,’ says Lynette.
Lynette’s early childhood was spent at Iron Knob, on Eyre Peninsula, before her family moved to Port Augusta when she was five years old. She raised her own children in Port Augusta and is now ‘Nanna’ to 13 grandchildren.
Lynette was a stay-at-home mum while her children were young and then worked as an access worker for what was DCP for eight years. ‘That was very hard, but it really opened my eyes to what a lot of people were going through,’ she says.
Her own childhood also helped ignite her desire to help others. ‘With my growing up I saw the struggles,’ she says. ‘I didn’t grow up in a rich environment.’
Both of Lynette’s parents were Kokatha, and they, along with her aunt, campaigned strongly for the rights of Aboriginal people. ‘They did all the Canberra stuff but at the time I wasn’t really aware of how much they were doing,’ she says. ‘It was only later in life that I realised they were really fighting for their community. I’m very proud to be Kokatha. I’ve always acknowledged myself as a Kokatha woman.’
Lynette says that now that she’s a grandmother, it’s important to her to be able to make a difference for the next generation, without forgetting about the generations that came before. ‘I want to help all our young people find career paths and make sure they get the support they need to really succeed in their lives,’ she says. ‘We also need to look after our Elders because they have a lot of knowledge and it’s important that we don’t lose that knowledge.’