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Aunty Lyn celebrates her time in Bundaberg

IWC NDIS LAC Lyn Wishnewski featured in the Bundaberg NewsMail's 'Seniors Guide to Living'. Photo: Mike Knott

HELPING others is second nature to Lyn Wishnewski, who has given herself over to community work as she approaches retirement.

In June 2017, at the age of 62, the Traditional Owner and Elder joined Aboriginal community-controlled IWC, the only Indigenous organisation in Australia to win a Local Area Coordinator (LAC) contract for the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS).

In her role as an LAC, Aunty Lyn works closely with people living with a disability to ensure that they are heard and appropriately supported by the NDIS.

“The good thing about holding a position like this is it keeps you focused on something positive. If you don’t have something to focus on, you can spend a lot of time doing nothing,” she said.

Despite her considerable workload, Aunty Lyn keeps a positive frame of mind and shares her happy disposition with those who need it most – prisoners.

Aunty Lyn visits Maryborough Correctional Centre every week to deliver pastoral care to the prisoners, as a Chaplain.

“They call me Aunty – they call me Mum. This service is vital for their recovery. If someone is there, listening to them, they can change their way of thinking,” she said.

“Because I’m not there as paid staff, they know I’m there because I want to be there.

“It’s physically exhausting, emotionally draining, but extremely rewarding.”

Working with the disadvantaged is something Aunty Lyn considers a privilege, and her conversations offer an opportunity for people to heal.

“To me it’s a position of privilege to be able to hear their stories. Quite often, when they relate to me their stories, in actual fact they’re healing themselves,” she said.

When not working or volunteering, Aunty Lyn spends her time with family and friends here in the Bundaberg region, enjoying the peace that God gives her.

“With the family, friends, great shops, beautiful beaches and friendly lifestyle, Bundaberg definitely ticks a few boxes for me,” she said.

Having spent all of her life in the region, Aunty Lyn has seen many changes.

“Being an older woman, I have seen so many interesting changes to the region; I remember when Wyper Bros used to be in the main street; Fatseas Chicken Bar used to be just past the Moncrieff Theatre; and the butter factory was just off the old bridge.

 “New Year's Eve was always a spectacle. All eyes were on the post office and the 'in crowd' used to sit on the steps of the post office and watch all the hotted up cars strut their stuff down Bourbong Street.”

Whilst Aunty Lyn has seen many changes, there is one thing that never changes; the value of people. 

"I am fortunate to be part of a great team at IWC. Between us all, we get the job done," she said.

About the author

IWC's major focus is to improve and support Indigenous and non-Indigenous people, and the vulnerable and disadvantaged people across the Bundaberg and Wide Bay / Burnett.

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