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Patrick Farrant Snr

Resilience, leadership and a profound commitment to cultural advocacy. 


An exceptional leader, offering invaluable guidance to Aboriginal youth. 

Uncle Patrick Farrant Snr is a proud Wemba-Wemba/Wati-Wati/Muthi-Muthi man born in Balranald, New South Wales. He has dedicated over 40 years of his life to serving and empowering the Victorian Aboriginal community through his work in legal services, health, social and emotional well-being and involvement in sports. His remarkable journey is characterised by resilience, leadership and his profound commitment to cultural advocacy.   

Uncle Pat was employed at a car dealership in Deniliquin as a 14-year-old and had subsequent jobs as a fruit picker, farmhand and labourer in southern New South Wales and the Murray River regions of Victoria.  He eventually moved to Melbourne. Education was important to him, and he completed Australia’s first Applied Social Science diploma for Aboriginal students, attesting to his determination and commitment to personal growth.  

During the course, he completed placements with the Aboriginal Advancement League.  

Uncle Pat worked at the Victorian Department of Health and assisted with organising a state-wide diabetes education camp.  He soon moved to Shepparton where he operated a family group home at Rumbalara. He later established a sobering up centre and night patrol in response to the findings from the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody in 1991. During a 10-year period in Shepparton, Uncle Pat was closely involved with the Rumbalara Football Netball Club and the development of community liaison relationships with Corrections Victoria and Victoria Police. He passionately fought for better outcomes for the Aboriginal community in these roles.  

Uncle Pat's pivotal role in establishing innovative programs like the night patrols, police liaison and other outreach services in Shepparton highlights his foresight and dedication to community well-being. His involvement in the Victorian Aboriginal Justice forums and the subsequent development of the Victorian Regional Aboriginal Justice Advisory Committees (RAJAC) underscores his enduring commitment to justice and community representation.  

Uncle Pat was invited to work with the Victorian Aboriginal Legal Service (VALS) and moved back to Melbourne to work as a Client Services Officer. He then took on a Mental Health Coordinator role with the Dandenong and District Aborigines Co-operative Ltd, where he stayed for 10 years, developing the role and supporting many new workers to find their feet within the Aboriginal community-controlled health sector.   

In the health, justice and welfare sectors, Uncle Pat's contributions are extensive. His work with VALS, the Department of Social Services and the Victorian Aboriginal Child Care Agency showcases his versatility and dedication to social and emotional wellbeing for the Aboriginal community. He played a pivotal role in the establishment of the Bunjilwarra Aboriginal Youth Drug and Alcohol Healing Service. This service assists young Aboriginal people aged between 16 and 25 years. Uncle Pat currently serves as Cultural Lead and Co-manager at Bunjilwarra, reflecting his ongoing dedication to the recovery journey of young Aboriginal Victorians. Since 2014, Uncle Pat has continued to focus on his work at Bunjilwarra supporting Aboriginal young people and their families.  

Uncle Pat is part of the Coralie Ober Honour Roll, Southern Metro RAJAC committee and the newly established Public Intoxication Reforms Aboriginal Advisory Group.  

Over the years, Uncle Pat has represented Bunjilwarra and the Victorian Aboriginal Health Service at state-wide and national conferences and forums. He has provided support and cultural awareness training for Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal health workers in both Koori and mainstream Victorian services. He contributed to the Healing Foundation Knowledge Circle and has presented at the 2018 National Indigenous Drug and Alcohol Conference and the 2019 Australasian Professional Society on Alcohol and other Drugs conference held in Hobart, Tasmania. More recently, he has been an active member of the Koori Youth Justice Taskforce and a contributor to the Our Youth, Our Way report tabled in the Victorian Parliament in 2021.  

Uncle Pat’s advocacy for the prevention of Aboriginal youth incarceration and his role in the Our Youth, Our Way report underscore his commitment to systemic change.  

He was recently recognised for his extensive leadership with the Elder Award at the 2021 Southern Metropolitan RAJAC Aboriginal Community Justice Awards. His dedication to cultural integrity at Bunjilwarra, ensuring adherence to cultural protocols and providing the best Aboriginal cultural strengthening programs, is a testament to his commitment to preserving and promoting Indigenous heritage.  

Uncle Pat's impact is reflected in the testimonials from colleagues and community members. Described as kind, generous, humble and a source of wisdom, Uncle Pat's mentorship has had a tremendous impact on those fortunate enough to work alongside him.  

An exceptional leader, Uncle Pat continues to share invaluable guidance with Aboriginal youth at Bunjilwarra. 

‘You can't change what happened yesterday, but you can make a change today, and tomorrow will be better’.