Honorary Doctorate (October 2023)
Aunty Joyce Bonner was named an Honorary Doctor of the University in Spring 2023 in recognition of significant contributions to UniSC through your exemplary research and teaching in the field of First Nations linguistics.
Aunty Joyce Bonner is a Butchulla Elder and is highly recognised as one of Australia’s most distinguished First Nations linguists, with over 30 years’ experience in reviving language and culture through research and teaching.
Aunty Joyce has worked tirelessly for the Butchulla community throughout her adult life, where she initially assisted in the areas of business, housing and emergency relief for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people living in the Wide Bay area. Her career as a Community Social Worker, gave her deep insights into the issues Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people face across all aspects of their daily lives. Through Aunty Joyce’s work with Elders, young people, families, and custodial and health officers, she saw the need for the intergenerational exchange of culture and language.
Aunty Joyce is a member of the Queensland Indigenous Languages Advisory Committee (QILAC), First Languages Australia, and was recently elected by her peers to attend the International Decade of Indigenous Languages Global event held in Paris in December 2022, hosted by the United Nations Education, Scientific and Cultural Organisation.
Aunty Joyce’s passion and dedication to First Nations language preservation and revitalisation is evidenced through her commitment to teaching language and song to young people and through the publication of multiple books, videos, songs, apps, stories, and dances that support.