Eloise and Mother CYE

Empowering Through Example

How Eloise's Yunkaporta took inspiration from her mum as she makes a difference in her community of Aurukun.

Eloise Yunkaporta doesn’t have to look far for a good role model. The influence of her mother, Phylis, is strong as Eloise spent her youth watching her mum’s work towards the empowerment of their remote Cape York community of Aurukun.

"Growing up observing my mum speaking in community for community, empowered me to follow in her footsteps,” Eloise said. “I dream to be seen the same way as her, setting an example for others and impacting their lives."

Eloise's career in empowering her community began in April 2023 when she joined her mum at Pama Language Centre as a casual Language Expert through Cape York Employment’s (CYE) Trialling Pathways to Real Jobs (TPRJ) program. Her role involved coordinating workshops for a pilot Wik Mungkan language program at The Rockhampton Grammar School. Wik Mungkan is an ancestral language of Aurukun and Eloise's work aims to preserve and promote the language within the community and beyond.

Eloise Yunkaporta sitting at her desk

Eloise was among 34 people to gain employment through TPRJ. TPRJ was phase one of a National Indigenous Australian Agency (NIAA) initiative to provide real jobs, proper wages, and decent conditions to First Nations people across Australia. In July 2023, CYE transitioned to phase two – Community Projects. All 34 TPRJ participants continued to be supported on Community Projects, with a further 10 jobs created during this new stage.

“These are real community jobs that didn’t exist already,” said CYE General Manager Sonia Minniecon. “They are jobs that locals were interested in doing which also benefited their community.”

After transitioning into Community Projects, Eloise's determination to serve her community only increased. She remained committed to her language work and and even increased her work hours by taking on a new Administration Support role with CYE. Eloise credits the support and encouragement she has received from the CYE staff as key to her fast progression.

“The staff at CYE are very supportive,” she said. “I took every opportunity to learn from them to be confident in doing what I love.”

Eloise at CYE Office

Eloise quickly went on to achieve full-time employment with Cape York Employment as an Office Coordinator in Aurukun. Then in April 2024, only one year after starting her journey with CYE, Eloise was elected as a Councillor for the Auurkun Shire Council – an incredible achievement.

This progression underscores the positive impact Community Projects is having in fostering individual growth and success in remote communities, like Aurukun.

As Eloise continues her journey, she serves as an inspiration to others, just like her mother Phyllis did for her.

"If you have a dream you are working towards, never be afraid to ask questions," she said. "Be open, learn new things along the way to grow confidently."


Scroll to Top