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All of us at Ampe-kenhe Ahelhe (Children’s Ground) are proud to celebrate our Chair William Tilmouth, who was awarded Male Elder of the Year on Saturday night at the 2023 National NAIDOC Awards. 

William is a recognised and respected leader in the Northern Territory and throughout Australia. He has dedicated his life to his people to prevent the trauma of previous generations. 

Since 2011, William has been the founding Chair of Children’s Ground. 

Children’s Ground comes from our Elders, it comes from our people, our culture, and our law. It is our solution for our people. William Tilmouth

Children’s Ground is designed to disrupt the status quo and create transformational change for future generations so that they can enjoy justice, opportunity and agency over their lives.  

“I believe there’s many others who could be standing in my stead. I’m not one for accolades, and I’m not one for these types of awards,” William said. “I’ll accept it on behalf of all those Elders who have gone before me who were never nominated, and never had this opportunity to have their voices heard. Those who hold our law, songs, ceremony and knowledge. Theirs are the voices we need to listen to.” 

As a member of the Stolen Generations, William has overcome poverty, incarceration, injustice and inequality and has survived trauma to become a respected leader and role model for Arrernte and all First Nations people.  

Over the past 30 years, he has held executive and Chair positions in Aboriginal housing, health and legal services as well as the Alice Springs ATSIC regional council. He has dedicated his life to uplifting the vision and voice of the people living in community who face the greatest injustices. 

Although he has won such a prestigious award, he said those who he has looked up to and inspired him have been his old uncles and grandfathers who welcomed him home with open arms.

Coming back from being a part of the Stolen Generation they embraced me, and they said you're one of us, you belong here. That was better than anything that I could have ever done. At last, I was home. I knew it. William Tilmouth

Children’s Ground CEO, Jane Vadiveloo, who has worked with William for over 20 years, said that William is a true leader. 

“He never promotes himself. He has a deep respect for others, He reveres his Elders and empowers those whose voices are rarely heard. He sees his responsibility to his culture, law and people – Elders, young people and children.  

“William is always using his voice to challenge the status quo. He is humble, powerful, brilliant and unrelenting in his fight for freedom for his people and the basic dignity of all.” 

Director of Strategy and Development at Children’s Ground, Stacey Campton, said the win was more than well deserved. 

“William embodies the role of a Chair of an organisation. He leads with humility, collective wisdom and never forgets where he has come from and what community is,” she said. 

“He is a gracious and caring human. He has worked tirelessly and selflessly for us, First Nations people. William can see a better way to be sovereign people. He has championed for First Nations to have a voice in self-determination by co-founding and driving the agenda of Children’s Ground.” 

Media Enquiries

Madeline Hayman-Reber 
0404 935 157 

About Children's Ground

Children’s Ground is an Aboriginal organisation with an approach that places First Nations culture and language and history at the heart of a 25-year strategy for reform. We focus on prevention, early intervention and empowerment rather than crisis and deficit. We are implementing a system that recognises and privileges First Nations governance, solutions and systems of knowledge. We complement this with western and global practice. We address the key economic, social and cultural determinants needed for lasting change. We invest in prevention and the future of our children.  Our children, families, and communities are the experts. Our voices and talent will create change.