Name: Derek Walker
Occupation: Community Manager
Place of Residence: Murray Bridge, SA
Tribe/Language: Ngarrindjeri people
Derek Walker currently resides at Murray Bridge in South Australia, although Raukkan has always been his home. Raukkan is a small Indigenous community situated on the shore of Lake Alexandrina, southeast of Adelaide.
In 1860 the Aborigines Friends’ Association established a mission at Raukkan. Rev. George Taplin selected the site, helped build the school, church and mission station to care for the local Indigenous people and spent 25 years in that service. The mission church has an important place in Australia’s history, particularly for its connection to the Ngarrindjeri people. The Raukkan Church along with well-known Indigenous Australian David Uniapon features on Australia’s $50 note.
“The foundation of Raukkan is one that’s been built on the things of the Lord. We need to acknowledge Rev. George Taplin and his great work. He was a man that knew God. It took a man of great strength to step out into the unknown and be involved in the work in developing Rauukan,”said Derek.
“Raukkan has always been a safe haven for me and for us as a family. My dad was born here. All my siblings have lived here and so we all call it home. Home’s important. I came back was when I was in my 20s to escape from Adelaide as I was getting into a bit of strife. I was in the process of probably going to jail and I came home to escape that. It was in that process that I came to know Christ.”
Derek has worked at Raukkan for a number of years in a variety of roles including community development, building and resource management. “The things that I do are really around providing opportunity for employment and training and development so that people can improve their lot,” he said.
“We live in a really good time as far as Indigenous and non-Indigenous people coming together. There’s a greater understanding of us in this walk together. We’re a really blessed country and there are great opportunities to reflect that blessing into the world. We just need to take hold of the things of the Lord and develop them within us…and anything’s possible.”
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