Education Officer
Noongar Boodjar Language Cultural Aboriginal Corporation

Noongar Language Centre

Charmaine is the daughter of Glen and Phyllis Bennell (nee Wallam) and was born in Pingelly, Western Australia. Her family moved to Bunbury when she was a toddler. While working at Manguri school (Sister Kate’s) in Perth, she started the Languages Other than English program so that she could teach the Noongar language. Charmaine then moved back to her home town.

Charmaine was a Noongar language teacher at Djidi Djidi Aboriginal School Bunbury. Charmaine has been involved in teaching Adult classes for last 4 years for the local community of Bunbury. She is now currently studying for a Bachelor of Arts of Indigenous Languages and Linguistics. Her aspirations are to encourage her community to embrace and continue to revive and maintain Noongar Language for future generations.



Kristi is of Kitja descent and born in Kalgoorlie. She enjoys working with graphite, oils and watercolors.

Living and working in the foothills of Perth, Kristi completed a BA in Psychology at Murdoch University. She runs art journal workshops for young adults and women centered journal/art workshops. Kristi is also active in the natural Learning and homeschooling community of WA. Kristi has a passion for education, art and a keen interest in local ecology and story telling.



Ian William Hill is a Wardandi Noongar man from the south-west town of Busselton.

Since he started painting a number of years ago, he has won two NAIDOC poster competitions and numerous other awards. ‘My art is a reflection of me. It is my way of expressing my spiritual beliefs as well as the beliefs of my ancestors. My art reflects the way I see my environment and everything within it.



Biara is 20 years old and the youngest child to Greg and Cheryl Martin. She grew up mostly in the Fremantle area, moving back to my Grandparents traditional land at Baldivis a few years ago.

After graduating from Clontarf Aboriginal College she wanted to continue studying art. She developed her passion for drawing and painting while watching her mother and grandmother’s, Theresa Walley and Joan Martin, paint while she was a young girl. Biara created the Milky-way paintings for Theresa Walley’s story.



Theresa Walley, was born in Kellerberrin on the 6th of November 1937. She was one of nine children born to Mary Theresa Indich and Luis Winmar. At the tender age of seven, she with several of her family were placed in the care of the Carrolup Mission. Mary and her children absconded and Theresa ended up in St Joseph’s orphanage at New Norcia. Here she received a very restricted upbringing so was totally unprepared for life when she was put outside the doors with a suitcase. She found a job as a domestic at the Quairading hospital. Eventually she met and married Leslie Robert Walley. The children to this marriage are Trevor, Robert, Doreen, Cheryl, Rosemary, Charmaine and Christopher (deceased).

Now a great grandmother, Theresa’s life has been one of survival, bringing up children, working and constantly researching the background of her culture.

Rather than retire, now with the duties of “Elder” she is constantly on call and in great demand. Her love of her fellow indigenous peoples, especially the young, is very evident in the many projects in which she is involved, including tourism where she guest speaks, does educational bushwalks and demonstrates the values of bush-tucker.

Theresa has authored and illustrated several books about Noongar culture and traditional stories. In this book Theresa invited her daughter Cheryl and granddaughter Biara to do the paintings for two of the stories.



Karen Winmar is a Noongar woman from the wheat-belt area in the south-west of Western Australia. Karen feels that through her artwork she is able to express her Noongar spirituality. She has been an artist for over ten years and has a strong interest in Noongar language.

Karen is a mother of three and grandmother of two. She grew up in Bunbury and moved to Perth in her early twenties.