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Stanton, Mimbingal Violet (Vai) McGinness (1929 - 1995)

Darwin?, Northern Teritory, Australia
May 1995
Aboriginal welfare worker


Mimbingal Violet (Vai) McGinness Stanton, of Kungarakany and Gurindji descent, attended primary schools in Darwin and Katherine. Following the bombing of Darwin in 1942, she was evacuated to South Australia, where she completed her primary education. At the end of the war, she returned to the Northern Territory, became a wardsmaid at the Katherine hospital and completed a correspondence certificate course in English.

In 1964 Stanton was appointed as an instructor in home management at the Bagot reserve by the Aboriginal welfare branch of the Northern Territory administration. In 1969 she was awarded a scholarship to the South Pacific Commission community education training centre in Fiji, and then became a welfare officer in the Northern Territory administration's social development branch. She became involved with a women's group, Djuani, and the Aboriginal Development Foundation, and through these two organisations helped to improve housing, women's arts and crafts and occupational training for young people.

In 1973 she became a founding member of the Aboriginal Arts Board of the Australia Council. She helped establish the Foundation of Rehabilitation with Aboriginal Alcohol Related Difficulties (FORWAARD) in 1976 and later became its coordinator. She was also one of the central figures in the 1983 Maranunggu land claim.

Sources used to compile this entry: Horton, David (ed.). The Encyclopaedia of Aboriginal Australia, Vol. 2, Aboriginal Studies Press, Canberra, 1994, pp. 1027-8. Email Correspondence with Lorraine West, archivist at Whitlam Prime Ministerial Library at University of Western Sydney.

Leonarda Kovacic and Barbara Lemon

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