One of Campbelltown’s treasured Aboriginal elders, Uncle Ivan Wellington, sat down with us to talk about his colourful life.
Born in Kiama in August 1946, Uncle Ivan Wellington is a proud Jerrinja man. As a baby, he and his parents and six brothers and sisters went to live on a mission in Shoalhaven under the rule of the Aboriginal Protection Board.
Displacement from their land and attempts to eradicate their language and culture all led to a great deal of anger inside him which took him on a journey of healing around New South Wales where he put his demons to rest.
Settling in Campbelltown over 30 years ago, Uncle Ivan soon endeared himself to the community by assisting many young people as an Aboriginal mentor for the Juvenile Justice Department and Elder on Campus at UWS.
He has played a leading role in strengthening reconciliation among all multicultural communities especially through the annual Appin Massacre Memorial Ceremony, education programs in schools and inspiring smoking ceremonies.
Many honours have been awarded to Uncle Ivan over the years, including the naming of Uncle Ivan Wellington Lounge at Campbelltown Hospital in 2013. He was the first Aboriginal person to get Campbelltown’s Heritage Medallion in 2014, Citizen of the Year in 2021 and was thrilled to be awarded Campbelltown’s Elder of the Year 2018.