Elders Profile – Aunty Iris

Aunty Iris McLeod is a respected elder who continues to make great contributions to the community and South Coast AMS. She played an instrumental part in breaking down the barriers within mainstream and community controlled services, for the improvement of health outcomes for Aboriginal people.

In 1963 Aunty Iris moved to Wreck Bay with her husband, later starting a family of four children. After only 15 months working as a Trainee receptionist, Iris was appointed as an Aboriginal Health Worker – a role which allowed her to grow within the Health System, eventually becoming a coordinator of the Illawarra & South East region.

This career lit a passion for Iris to provide a voice for Aboriginal people on their own health outcomes, programs, projects and services in collaboration with key stakeholders.

Her passion, influence, community engagement and lobbying to government became instrumental to the formation of partnerships within mainstream and Aboriginal Corporations, throughout the South East and South Coast of NSW where she was responsible for implementing regional and state health programs.

5 minutes with Aunty Iris:
What are some of the greatest achievements for the local Aboriginal community?
The Aboriginal Medical Service establishment and better health care in the community

What changes would you like to see happen in the Aboriginal Community?
Encourage access to early intervention programs targeting in particular dementia programs for elders, women and means health – preventing forms of cancer, heart disease and children’s health.

What is your present objective in life?
Live for my family, children and grannies, great grannies and to see them meet their goals in life

What is your favourite place in the Shoalhaven area?
Wreck Bay/Jervis Bay area and where I live today at Erowal Bay