Welcome to GO-Q17

Welcome to the seventeenth edition of GO-Q! We are thrilled to introduce and welcome our first Indigenous CEO, Charlene Davison. You can get to know Charlene and learn about her story, before meeting her in person at our upcoming Mentoring Days in Sydney and Adelaide, by reading her great yarn below.

Also in this edition of GO-Q, the GO team took up the Quick & Deadly challenge! See how they went and learn fun facts about them in the video below.

If you follow the AFL, you’ll know the annual Marngrook game is coming up in May. However if Marngrook and its deadly links to the AFL are a bit of a mystery to you, we’ve included a few videos and articles that may interest you.

Quick & Deadly – Meet the GO Team


Charlene Davison headshotA Yarn with Charlene Davison, GO CEO

Charlene is a proud Biripi and Gadigal woman who grew up in Taree on the mid-north coast of NSW.

GO: Welcome to the GO Family Charlene. How does it feel to be a part of our deadly team?

CHARLENE: It feels amazing. I have been a long-time supporter of GO and love everything that GO does! I feel privileged to work with such a passionate team here at GO, everyone has made me feel welcome and part of the family. Given we are located in the Sydney Swans offices, the Swans team has also been very welcoming and the GO Foundation values our important partnership.

I have always been passionate about education and working to have impact and make a difference for my mob, particularly our young ones. So, I am incredibly proud and excited to be leading GO through its next phase and the important work we have ahead of us.

GO: Where were you working, and what did you do exactly, before you joined the GO Foundation?

I have come to GO after a 20-year career in NSW Government where I worked in various roles improving outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in education, training, employment and business development.

My most recent role was as Director of Kimberwalli and before then I was Manager of Aboriginal Initiatives at Training Services NSW for almost four years.

GO: Who were your role models growing up? What’s the most important advice they gave you?

Charlene: My biggest role models growing up were my mum and nan, two very strong, brave and proud Aboriginal women. I also had an amazing Aboriginal Education Assistant (AEA) at my high school who I looked up to and had great respect for, and I remember Linda Burney being one of the first Aboriginal woman outside my family and community who I really looked up to for the great work she did in education.

My mum and nan always told me to never forget who I am and where I come from and to always be strong in my culture and identity. My AEA was my rock at school and got me through. I started high school with quite a few other Koori students however I was the only Koori student in our year group to finish year 12, so she always told me to keep working hard and believe in myself.

GO: Did you have a clear idea of what your path would be when you were in high school?

Charlene: I didn’t have a clear path but I knew I wanted to do something that would involve me working with and helping people, in particular my own mob. I didn’t go straight to University; I did a Business Administration Traineeship when I finished high school which I loved. I started doing my teacher training at the Koori Centre, Sydney University however took a different career direction and in 2018, commenced an Executive Master of Public Administration with the Australian and New Zealand School of Government and the University of NSW, fulfilling my dream of gaining a formal qualification.

GO: If you were speaking to a 15-year-old version of yourself, what advice would you offer?

Charlene: Dream big and always back yourself, self-belief is so important. Be proud of who you are and where you come from and take the time to listen to your parents and Elders because they offer so much good support and advice to keep you grounded and strong. Surround yourself with people who will support, nurture and encourage you! Be kind to others, but most importantly, be kind to yourself. And finally, don’t ever be afraid to be brave and bold!

GO: You grew up on Biripi Country, how did you learn the importance of country?

Charlene: My understanding about the importance of Country was there from a young age for me which I feel very fortunate about because of my family’s strong connection with Country. I learnt a lot from my grandfather. He taught all his grandchildren and great-grandchildren about Biripi Country, our people, our Elders and Ancestors who paved the way before us and for us. He taught us about how different parts of our Country would provide food and resources at different seasons. Most importantly he taught us how to care for Country.

GO: How do you share and celebrate Aboriginal culture and traditions with your family?

Charlene: To be honest, just by being and doing! We are a very proud Aboriginal family, strong in culture and identity and connection to Country. We celebrate in so many ways but importantly, we love going to places of significance here in Sydney like Berry Island which allows us time to connect to Country, especially when we are homesick for Biripi Country.

GO: What do you like to do in your free time?

I love spending time with family and friends. I am a proud mum of two children so my time with them and my partner is important and precious. We love the beach, so in summer we spend lots of time swimming at Freshwater beach here in Sydney or any of our beautiful beaches up home, including Saltwater and Wallabi Point.


GO News: Upcoming Mentoring Days in Sydney & Adelaide

Mentoring Days (Covid safe of course) are back! Get ready for a full day of culture, aspiration, and fun!

We’ll kick off in Sydney on Thursday 6th May, followed by Adelaide on Thursday 20th May. Make sure to wear your GO T-shirt. If you don’t have one, we’ll give you one on the day.

No need to bring food; breakfast, lunch, and snacks will be provided. Bring a water bottle if you wish to.

Everyone from the GO office will be there with you on both days, so don’t be shy, come say hi and have a yarn at some point during the day, we love meeting our scholars.

If you feel unwell on the day, please stay home and let us know.

We look forward to seeing your smiling faces soon!

Canberra scholars, we haven’t forgotten about you! We’ll be visiting you too in the coming months, so stay tuned!


First Footprints coverWell done Ava!

GO Scholar and artist Ava, along with her mum, Sherrie, painted a mural called Saltwater Gathering at TransGrid’s head office in Sydney. The circles represent the communities; the dots on the circles represent the people of each community and how they all connect and interact with each other. The blues and greens show how the different communities connect with the salt water. You can learn more about Ava and Sherrie’s art here.

Make sure to check out this amazing creation next time you are near Central Station. TransGrid’s head office is located at 80 Thomas St, Haymarket NSW 2000.


What is Marngrook?

Map of Gunditjmara CountryMarngrook means “game ball” in the Gunditjmara language, but it has different names in different languages. Marngrook was played across Australia, by both men and women, and one game could last up to two days! The rules were the same throughout Australia, but the ball was made with different material.

On Gunditjmara Country, the ball was the size of a grapefruit and was made of possum skin filled with reeds, powdered charcoal or fur.

You can watch footage of a community Marngrook match between Dhudhura and Murrinh-Path (2013) here.

But how is it linked to the AFL?


You can read more about how Marngrook inspired Aussie Rules Football here.

In 2002, the Sydney Swans played Essendon for the first Marngrook trophy. To know more about it, watch this brilliant video from our dear friends at the Swans. Can you spot the first ever GO logo?

This year, Marn Grook at the SCG will see the Sydney Swans face off against Carlton on Sunday May 30 at 3.20pm.  It’s very much GO’s day, and if you have the opportunity to get to the ground, we reckon that cheering on an afternoon game at the SCG is one of the best things to do!


Culture Doco: First Footprints

Narrated by Ernie Dingo, First Footprints, takes you back some 50,000 year ago and tells the untold story of how the first Australians migrated and adapted in dramatically changing environments.

All four episodes are available on Youtube, you can have a look at them here.


715 Health Check

The 715 health check is available, once a year, to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people of all ages. It’s free at Aboriginal Medical Services and bulk billing clinics, and. For more info, head to the Department of Health website.


COVID-19 Vaccine

Important news for 2021 is the roll out of the Covid-19 vaccine. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders are prioritised, according to health and age, and it’s happening in stages. To keep up to date with information for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders about the vaccines and how and when to get yours head to health.gov.au. There’s also a vaccine enquiry page and a hotline to call for more info on 1800 020 080.

GO well GO Family!