Keelen Mailman is a Bidjara woman. She became the first Aboriginal woman to run a commercial cattle station at age 30 when she took over Mt Tabor, two hours from Augathella on the black soil plains of western Queensland. Mt Tabor is in the heartland of Bidjara Country and is the place where Keelen's ancestors left their marks on caves and rock walls over 10,000 years ago.
Keelen won Barnardos Mother of the Year Award in 2016 and was awarded the Member of the Order of Australia for her contribution to the Indigenous community in Queensland in 2020. Keelen is also a best selling author. Her book, Power of Bones, is an unflinching memoir about childhood poverty, abuse, and racism. Her tale happily becomes an inspiring story of a woman's extraordinary strength through adversity, due to her deep connection to her ancestors, Country, culture, and language.
Melia Benn is a descendent of the Mamu and Gunggandii peoples. Melia was called to the Bar in 2018 and is one of only two First Nation women at the Bar in Queensland.
Following admission to practice as a solicitor in 2014, Melia worked as a property lawyer in private practice before transitioning to the Queensland Government where she was a senior lawyer for the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (QLD), appearing in the District and Supreme Courts. Prior to moving to the Bar, Melia was the Counsel Assisting the Northern Coroner. At the Bar, Melia has a broad practice that includes criminal defence, anti-discrimination, regulatory prosecutions, and class actions.
Master of Ceremonies
Tanya Ha is an award-winning Australian environmental campaigner, author, broadcaster, science journalist, and sustainability researcher. She is also a media commentator on science and environmental issues, a behaviour change researcher, and was a delegate to the Australia 2020 Summit.
A ticket to this event came with a breakfast recipe and demonstration from Elizabeth Chong!
Elizabeth is a prominent Chinese-born Melbourne-based Australian chef, teacher, author, and television presenter. Her Chinese cooking school, in Hawthorn, Melbourne, Victoria, has seen more than 35,000 students pass through its kitchen while across Australia, her face is well known. Elizabeth's book, The Heritage of Chinese Cooking, was awarded the prestigious Prix La Mazille as International Cookbook of the Year in 1994. The multi award winning chef, affectionately known as the Empress of Chinatown in Melbourne, was made a Member of the Order of Australia in 2019 for significant service to the hospitality sector and to the promotion of Chinese cuisine.