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Please join us in welcoming Mununjhali man, Ken Markwell, to the Bangarra Clan as our new Executive Director. 

Ken is a proud Mununjhali man from the Yugambeh Language Region, part of the Bundjalung nation stretching from Logan (QLD) to the Clarence River (NSW). His people are from the Beaudesert area in South East Queensland and he has cultural responsibilities for neighbouring Wangerriburra Country and connections to the Gold Coast and Tweed.

Ken is a respected Goorie leader with extensive experience delivering socio-economic impacts with and for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people across Australia. He was most recently Director of Markwell and Associates - a successful Aboriginal owned and operated professional services consulting business specialising in navigating outcomes in two worlds - First Nations and non-Indigenous.

Ken was Executive General Manager of Indigenous Services at Australian Unity, which was one the largest employers of First Nations people in the aged and disability sector in Australia. To support Indigenous wellbeing and cultural connection, Ken’s team brought together the largest group of Aboriginal Elders in NSW since centenary for their annual Indigenous Services customer gathering. He led the Indigenous Services team and customers through the COVID crisis, providing safe, high quality culturally appropriate care to some of Australia’s most vulnerable people.

Ken is a member of the Aged Care Workforce Remote Accord Leadership Group which was established to improve aged care workforce solutions in remote and very remote areas of Australia.

While at Ernst and Young, Ken co-led the establishment of their national Indigenous Sector Practice delivering a wide range of projects across Australia that supported Indigenous prosperity.

While working in the Commonwealth Government Ken led the establishment of one of the most successful national Indigenous programs – the Working on Country Program. The program has created more than 2,100 jobs in land and sea management nationally, providing meaningful employment, training and career pathways for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians.

He brings a broad rand of skills developed across corporate, public sector and community, and at all levels of government. 

Bangarra Chair, Phillipa McDermott said: "It is an immense privilege to welcome our new Executive Director, Ken Markwell, to the Bangarra family. As the first Indigenous Executive Director in many years, Ken brings a wealth of leadership experience and a deep connection to culture and heritage. Myself and the Bangarra board know that he is the right leader to work alongside Frances Rings to lead the company towards a bright new chapter as we continue to honour and celebrate the stories and culture of Indigenous Australia.”

Image: On Country in Beaudesert, QLD for Wudjang: Not the Past, photo by David Kelly. Ken Markwell, image provided by Ken Markwell.

“Bangarra’s work is centred on culture and community, and draws on more than 65,000 years of stories. Ken shares this deep responsibility, making him the perfect selection to help guide this special company. I am thrilled to welcome Ken to the Bangarra Clan, and look forward to working alongside him to help guide this next phase of Bangarra’s Songline.”

Artistic Director, Frances Rings