Relationships Australia Queensland is proud to share that our very special First Nations Wellness Worker, Aunty McRose Elu, was announced the Queensland Senior Australian of the Year at a ceremony in Brisbane on 10 November 2020.

Aunty Rose, an Elder from Saibai Island in the Torres Strait, has been a tireless advocate for her community with an unwavering vision to bring about change to better the lives of children and families now and into the future.  

Well recognised as an expert on customary adoption practices in the Torres Strait, Aunty Rose was instrumental in negotiations with government to legally recognise the traditional customary adoption practices of Torres Strait Islander families.

In July 2020, the Meriba Omasker Kaziw Kazipa (Torres Strait Islander Traditional Child Rearing Practice) Bill was introduced to the Queensland Parliament – considered a historic, nation-leading step towards recognising traditional child rearing practice in law. 

Aunty Rose is also passionate about highlighting the impacts of climate change – an issue severely affecting her native island in the Torres Strait – taking her advocacy work to a global stage, including to the UN in Paris and New York. 

With a long history of working in the community services sector in cultural advisor roles, Aunty Rose is currently a First Nations Wellbeing Worker for Relationships Australia Queensland. 

“Aunty Rose is a credit and gift to us all at Relationships Australia Queensland – she works with families and communities in the Northern Peninsula of Australia, the islands of the Torres Strait and across Queensland to ensure services meet the needs of First Nation families and to assist community capacity building,” Relationships Australia Queensland CEO Dr Ian Law said.

“Aunty Rose is a role model for and inspiration to all Australians, and for the entire staff at Relationships Australia Queensland. She is a voice for justice, change and hope with a message that transcends culture and nation.

“We are all so proud that Aunty Rose has been recognised at the highest level in our community for the work she’s done throughout her career and continues to do so passionately every day.”

Aunty Rose said she was overwhelmed and overjoyed to receive the award.

“I really didn’t expect them to call my name – it was an unbelievable feeling that’s hard to describe, but I was so proud to have my family with me on that special night,” Aunty Rose said.

“This award has made me feel even more determined to continue my work, to serve my people – First Nations people and all the people in the community who I can help.

“A big part of that is the work I do with Relationships Australia Queensland every day with my colleagues across the state. The support that I get working with colleagues who respect one another gives me the strength to continue – it’s so beautiful for me.”

The winners of the 2021 Australian of the Year Awards will be announced on 25 January 2021.


Media enquiries:

Sonia Uranishi, Manager – Communications

Relationships Australia Queensland

0436 470 301

[email protected]