Nicole shares her story about her family, her heritage and her 13-year career with Aurizon
Meet Nicole Pallis. Nicole is Co-Chair of Aurizon’s Indigenous Reference Group and Training Project Lead for one of our company’s key technology projects.
I commenced my career with Aurizon in 2007, fulfilling a temporary Administration position at the company’s Callemondah Operations depot in Gladstone, Queensland. Over this time, I’ve had many opportunities which have allowed me to transition my career from an Administration Officer, to a Training Specialist with Safety, Health, Environment and Training through to my current role as Training Project Lead for one of Aurizon’s key technology projects.
Alongside my personal motivation and dedication to succeed with my career choices, my managers and colleagues have always provided support and guidance, along with encouragement for development, but most of all have allowed me to thoroughly enjoy what I do and who I work with. It is a great feeling to be proud of being a part of the Aurizon team – so much so I couldn’t see myself wearing another uniform.
I’m a proud Aboriginal woman that descends from Yuggera (Traditional Owners of territories from Moreton Bay to the base of the Toowoomba ranges including Brisbane and Ipswich) and Wulli Wulli (Traditional tribal lands ranging over the headwaters of the Auburn River and Redbank Creek, northwards as far as Walloon and Camboon, and on the ranges east of the Dawson River, with the eastern border in the vicinity of Eidsvold) nations and a direct descendant of King Billy Turner, known to be the last King of the Lockyer Valley.
My Great Grandfather, Charlie Thompson, Lance Corporal who served in World War II in Unit 1 Australian Garrison Battalion and a three times Queensland lightweight boxing champion was born at Deebing Creek (Yuggera). My Great Grandmother, Esther Quinn (nee Blair) was born at Camboon (Wulli Wulli). Great Granny Esther was part of the Stolen Generation who worked as a housekeeper at Cherbourg Aboriginal Reserve, before being transferred to Purga Aboriginal Reserve. She had eight children, one of who was my Great Uncle Harold who went on to become the first Aboriginal Opera Tenor travelling the world sharing his voice.
My Grandmother June Thompson was born on Yuggera Country at Boonah and become a Nursing Sister for the Australian Defence Force, where she met my Grandfather Peter Schurmann (Non-Indigenous) who was a Flight Crew Assistant for the Australian Airforce based at Amberley.
My Mother Gail Schurmann met my Father Paul Brown (Non-Indigenous) in Gladstone where we reside now. Mum and Dad have always shared many stories of my Indigenous family to encourage our learning and to ensure we embrace our cultural heritage as we grow. Many times, Mum and Dad would say “we must learn from the past to prevent history repeating, or everything that has happened, would have happened for no reason”. I hold this quote close and now with my own family I’m passionate to ensure my culture heritage does not fade throughout the generations and we continue to embrace our rich and vibrant Indigenous ways.
When I had the opportunity to become a member of Aurizon’s Indigenous Reference Group (IRG) in 2018, I was honoured to join a team of colleagues who are committed to developing a workplace that encourages and values shared understanding and respect for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander history, cultures and customs. As we continue working towards our commitments documented in our 2018 -2021 Stretch Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP), my key focus is to achieve our outlined deliverables, whilst ensuring our approach is respectful, unforceful, collaborative and a method that creates positive engagement with ongoing inspiring conversations.
A key deliverable for me is to continue engaging with our local communities to raise awareness of our RAP and to encourage our Traditional Owners of the land where we operate to join us in our journey.
We have so much opportunity to learn and grow as we continue our reconciliation journey.