Mr Benjamin Phillips
In recent decades Australia’s Indigenous people have been slowly moving into university study. Of particular importance are young Indigenous teachers inspired to work for their communities. Benjamin Phillips comes from the Gumbaingirr and Bundjalung peoples on the mid-North coast of New South Wales. After graduating from John Paul College, Coffs Harbour in 1999, he completed a Diploma in Aboriginal Studies, and worked as an assistant to the Aboriginal Sites Officer at Coffs Harbour, recording sites of cultural significance and liaising with local community and elder groups.
In 2002, he came to Sydney to work with the Koori Kids Homework Centre at Camdenville Public School, later becoming a Teacher’s Aide there, supporting children with learning difficulties and monitoring their attendance, as well as liaising with parents, teachers and students and providing support to students and teachers.
Enrolling in a Bachelor of Education (Primary) degree he became a mentor as part of the Australian Indigenous Mentoring Experience (AIME), as well as the Sydney University Koori Centre student representative. These involved leadership, guidance and support to Indigenous students as well as encouragement and promotion of recruitment to the University.
After completing his degree, Benjamin became a primary school teacher at La Perouse Public School, teaching Kindergarten/Year One. His aim is to ‘utilise my Bachelor of Education and work skills to deliver educational experiences to children, families and the community’.