Susan Moylan-Coombs’ ancestry is from one of the oldest surviving living cultures on this planet. She is a Woolwonga Gurindji woman from the Northern Territory and was taken at birth from her parents, who were also removed as part of the former government policies; these children are today known as the Stolen Generations.
Born Susan Calma she is related to the former Human Rights and Equal Opportunities Commission, Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner and Race Discrimination Commissioner, Dr Tom Calma. At the age of 3 years, Susan was adopted by the eldest son of the iconic Australian public servant Dr H.C. “Nugget” Coombs and raised on Sydney’s Northern Beaches, Gai-mariagal country as Susan Coombs.
Susan has extensive experience working with First Nations communities nationally, with specific expertise in community consultation, empowerment, healing and wellbeing and the facilitation of voice and storytelling. Susan previously held the positions of Producer, Director and later Executive Producer, ABC’s Indigenous Programs Unit and Head of Production, NITV a division of SBS.
In 2015 Susan created The Gaimaragal Group, an organisation established to lead social change and create social impact by bringing together like minds and like spirits. She believes that the philosophies and teachings of Australia’s First Nations Peoples, the way of life that has sustained people for tens of thousands of years is worth sharing, and that in doing so, we can create a new story of connection and wellbeing for all Australians. The aim is to facilitate the voice of the Elders in the contemporary social space, empower the youth to realise their full potential, and provide two-way cultural translation to bring individuals and communities together.
Today, Susan uses her expertise to work with mainstream organisations and communities in the provision of cultural inclusion strategies and immersion session as well as social planning processes. She is one of the founding Board member of the PTSD Australia New Zealand (Fearless Outreach) organisation as well as many community committees in the Northern Sydney Region and Board member of NSW Indigenous Chamber of Commerce.
In 2001 Susan founded the Guringai Festival in Northern Sydney tody known as the Gai-mariagal Festival. It is a celebration of First Peoples culture and heritage, which brings together communities in recognition of the traditional custodians of the land in the spirit of reconciliation.