Territory Stories

The Centralian advocate Fri 11 May 2018



The Centralian advocate Fri 11 May 2018


Centralian Advocate; NewspaperNT




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Community newspapers -- Northern Territory -- Alice Springs; Tennant Creek (N.T.) -- Newspapers; Alice Springs (N.T.) -- Newspapers.; Australia, Central -- Newspapers

Publisher name

Nationwide News Pty. Limited

Place of publication

Alice Springs

File type



Copyright. Made available by the publisher under licence.

Copyright owner

Nationwide News Pty. Limited



Parent handle


Citation address


Page content

FRIDAY MAY 11 2018 NEWS 11 V1 - CAVE01Z01MA CENTRAL Australia is mourning the loss of a remarkable woman Telka Williams MBE who, among her many other community activities, pioneered the establishment of services to enable children and adults with a disability to live successfully within the general community of Central Australia. Horrified at the suggestion that her newborn child, Bronwyn, should be sent away to live her life in a large impersonal interstate institution, as was the practice when she was born in 1962, Telka absolutely refused to allow it. Nor did she intend to hide her baby away from public view. Instead, she took Bronwyn home and proudly included her in all the usual Williams family activities. Despite initial misgivings, gradually the community came to realise that Bronwyn (and others) could fit in. Telkas philosophy was need to do so must do. Way ahead of the times in her thinking, it was Telkas firm belief that her daughter should enjoy the same experiences as others in the community. But she would need extra support to do so and there were no community services in Alice Vale Telka Williams MBE Springs to support people with a disability. This drove Telka to establish first, the Alice Spring Special School and later, Bindi, when Bronwyn and her peers were nearing the end of their school years. Alice Springs Special School was first established in a disused building in the now historic Hartley Street precinct, with Bronwyn and five other children with disabilities as its pupils. They called it The Sunny Centre. Years later, it moved to its current site adjacent to the Sadadeen Primary School and became Acacia Hill School. Telka was the president of the local branch of Red Cross at the time she founded the Handicapped Persons Service Centre in a disused demountable building on the grounds of Alice Springs Hospital. Established in May 1978 under the aegis of Red Cross, Telka, with the support of her son, Bryn, who had just completed a degree in psychology and two gifted and dedicated former Mental Retardation Nurses (as they were then called) Carmen Grech and Miranda Parkes all working on a voluntary basis, set about developing useful and meaningful activities to enable the teenage participants to continue to learn and grow. Bronwyn was one of the three initial trainees who soon decided that the Centre needed a new name. They called it Bindi named after the bindii burrs they got in their shoes when they came to the Centre each day. Soon after Bindi was established, people from other parts of the Northern Territory heard about it and wanted to attend the Centre. At that time, Darwin was still recovering from the devastation of Cyclone Tracy and had few services for people with a disability. So, Bindi established CASA, the first supported accommodation service in Alice Springs for young adults with a disability. CASA later became the separate organisation now known as casa NT Inc. Bindi Inc. was firmly founded on human rights principles and the belief that each person with a disability must be treated with respect and dignity as a valued member of their community. Hence Bindis motto: valuing difference. It became a place of supported employment and continuing development for people with disabilities. The cascading effects of Telkas early work has meant that more than 300 people with significant disabilities have been able to live very different lives than would otherwise have been their lot. Many have gone on to live and work independently in the community. Others have enjoyed far richer experiences and community inclusion. In a very different, ever-evolving world where disability is now better understood and people better valued, the work of Bindi, casa and Acacia Hill continues a tribute to the vision, foresight and sheer determination of Telka and those who followed. Part of Telkas story is to be told in the book about to be published by Lifestyle Solutions (Aust) Ltd with whom Bindi Inc. merged in 2012 to celebrate Bindis 40th birthday later this year. Central Australia has been truly blessed by the life of Telka Williams. She will be sadly missed. The Board and staff of Lifestyle Solutions and all past and present members of the Bindi Mob offer our sincere condolences to Telkas family and our heartfelt gratitude for her lifes work and the legacy she leaves. Vale Telka Williams. A truly inspirational Territorian, your memory lives on in us. 94 year old Telka Williams holds her fathers war medals. Joyce Bowden HYUNDAI SALE! RUNNING OUT THE DOOR! P: 08 8952 2333 E: info@centralianmotors.com.au 520072648 KONA ACTIVE AUTOMATIC, LOW KLM DEMO, BALANCE OF 5 YEAR WARRANTY $25900 DRIVE AWAY SAVE OVER $1800 5520069784 I30 SR TURBO AUTOMATIC, LOW KLM DEMO, BALANCE OF 5 YEAR WARRANTY $29900 DRIVE AWAY SAVE OVER $4000 5520070775 I30 PREMIUM TURBO DIESEL AUTOMATIC, BALANCE OF NEW CAR WARRANTY $33900 DRIVE AWAY SAVE OVER $5500 NEW THINKING, NEW POSSIBILITIES