WAITOC Board

Tania (Tahn) Donovan - Chairperson

(Experience Perth)

Tahn is a Wardandi Yok from Busselton and has a deep understanding of the Western Australian bio diversity values and the wide variety of landscapes, people and experiences.

She started work in the hospitality industry at the age of 12, helping at CWA wedding catering events in Busselton. Diversity is a key characteristic of Tahn’s career path, which is paved with a wide range of skills and experiences in the farming, transport, environmental, disability employment, and hospitality/tourism industries.

Project and management roles in employment and training have nurtured Tahn’s interest in developing future leaders. She is currently involved in Leadership and Governance training to the Noongar community in the development and delivery of programs. "The young people I meet continually inspire me to do more and to do it better and more effectively".

Tahn is also the creator of Max's Black Sauce an Australian bush herb infused sauce that captures the flavours of Australia and established the label Deadly Divas Clothing. She says “Deadly Divas Clothing is seeking to make change in how Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women are respected. It captures the beauty and grace of our culture and community through the garments we create, and the way in which we demonstrate respect and professionalism through our business”.

“Tourism offers Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples the opportunity to tell our stories, care for our country and culture and build economic independence for our families and communities”.


 


Dale Tilbrook - Vice Chairperson

(Western Australia) 

Dale is a descendant of the Wardandi Bibbulmun people from the South West of Western Australia.

Her tourism journey started in 1996 with a small company making returning boomerangs. In 1998 she opened her first Aboriginal gallery and gift shop in the Swan Valley, moving to larger premises in 2004.

Education is an important part of Dale's cultural journey and she has worked extensively with students of all ages through school excursions and incursions, Kings Park education programmes and corporate groups.

Dale is passionate about bush food and has established a bush tucker garden, gives talks on bush food, stocks a huge range of bush food products and creates fusion recipes using ingredients from the bush.

Her previous background is in buying, merchandising and marketing in department store groups in the UK and Australia, along with experience in accommodation, functions and catering.

Boards: Swan Chamber of Commerce, Bushfood Association of Western Australia.


Doc Reynolds - Treasurer

(Australia's Golden Outback)

Doc has had a long distinguished association with Aboriginal Affairs spanning over 30 years, at local, regional and national levels. Seeking a career change, he along with his sister, Gail and both their respective partners, Robyne and Mark, decided to form ‘Kepa Kurl Enterprises Pty Ltd’. Doc has a strong connection to the country, and is recognised as a traditional owner in the Esperance region. Kepa Kurl has been running for 10 years.

Doc is the first Aboriginal person to be elected onto the Esperance Shire Council and has the portfolio of Regional Development for Tourism, Environment and Coastal Management, Recreation and Culture and Social Community Development. He has been on the Local Council for over 6 years.

Doc has sat on 4 ministerial councils and has chaired the Aboriginal Lands Trust, which is the largest land holder in Western Australia.

He also sits on the shire representative for Esperance Tourism Board.

In his spare time Doc enjoys fishing, camping, painting, hiking and researching local history both Aboriginal and mainstream.


Pat Channing

(Western Australia)

Petronella (Pat) Channing was born and raised in Broome and is of Bardi and Kija descendent through her mother. Her mother is Aboriginal and her father is Malaysian. Pat & David have three children and five grandchildren who live in Broome. Both Pat and her husband (David) own and operate Mercedes Cove Exclusive Coastal Retreat on the Dampier Peninsula north of Broome. This small and unique tourism venture is now in its sixth year of operation.

Pat and David have extensive experience in Hospitality, holding a publican license and operating a Hotel in Lithgow NSW for three years. Pat previously worked for a Government Department as an Aboriginal Liaison Officer and also with Ansett Airlines as a Reservation Officer. Pat is compassionate about her country and shares her knowledge and history with her guests. 

Pat sees a future in Aboriginal Tourism on the Dampier Peninsula with great expectation and enthusiasm. As a Board Director of WAITOC, Pat welcomes the ideas and knowledge of the other Board Directors and would love to see Aboriginal Tourism fully supported by Government and private bodies to its full extent.


Clinton Walker

(Australia’s North West)

For the past five years, Clinton has been working full time as the Managing Director for the award winning company Gurrgura Pty Ltd, specialising in the delivery of Ngarluma cultural awareness training for various companies within the City of Karratha. He also oversees the daily management of Ngurrangga Tours as Manager/Tour Operator within the coastal and inland tribal areas of the Ngarluma and Yindjibarndi people.

Ngurrangga Tours is an Aboriginal cultural tourism operator delivering guided tours around the coastal and inland areas near Roebourne and Karratha but more specifically, within the Ngarluma and Yindjibarndi tribal boundaries. Founded just over 3 years ago, Ngurrangga Tours has been going from strength to strength, gaining high acknowledgement and praise from customers and travel industry for its professional excellence. A special point of difference are the tours to the Burrup Art sites, the world’s largest collection of petroglyphs (over 10.000 sites) which date back to the ice age. Clinton’s tour guests visit some of the most spectacular sites, where they are treated to exclusive interpretation of the cultural stories that bring the artwork to life. In 2016 Ngurrangga tours entered the Western Australian Tourism Awards for the first time and soared straight through to gold! Ngurrangga Tours is a subsidiary of Gurrgura Pty Ltd and is fully owned and operated by Aboriginal people of the Pilbara region.


Josh Whiteland

(Australia’s South West)

Josh (Koomal) Whiteland is a Wardandi / Noongar man who has been intricately involved in tourism and education in the Margaret River Cape to Cape region for over ten years.  With a close connection to traditional lands and a strong relationship with local people, Josh is an excellent guide with a warm and friendly nature.  Passionate, learned and spiritually aware, Josh has a personal commitment to sharing his knowledge of his culture and lore with visitors. It is for this reason he created ‘Koomal Dreaming’ so that he could communicate at least part of his connection with his land and his people with guests from around Australia and the world.

Based in Dunsborough, ‘Koomal Dreaming’ provides an opportunity for visitors to experience Wardandi and Bibbulman country through the eyes of the traditional owners. Josh provides guests with the opportunity to taste native foods, learn about bush medicine, experience traditional fire lighting, hear the sounds of the didgeridoo and stories of the Dreaming spirits that connect them to this traditional area. 

As a cultural custodian Josh works in a variety of roles in the community. One of these roles is Education through schools, leadership programs and cultural awareness. Josh works with primary and secondary children teaching them about local cultural, language and traditional values. Through Koomal Dreaming Josh is able to provide leadership programs for aboriginal youth at risk and disengaged students. Josh believes that prevention is better than cure and through education you can make a difference.


Darren Capewell

(Australia’s Coral Coast)

Darren Capewell, or ‘Capes’ as he is known is a Yamaji Man from Shark Bay (Gutharraguda pronounced Goo-thar-da-goo-doo), the traditional name for Shark Bay, meaning “Two Waters”.

Capes has been directly and indirectly involved in the tourism industry for the past twelve years.

Capes, is the owner/ operator of Wula Guda Nyinda Eco Adventures in the magnificent Shark Bay World Heritage Area in the Coral Coast Tourism Region. Wula Guda Nyinda means ‘You come this way’.

Wula Guda Nyinda Eco Adventures offers: kayak and wildlife adventures, four wheel drive tours, bushwalk and hiking tours, overnight and extended camping and are designed to give visitors an Aboriginal perspective on the local area. Visitors are encouraged to develop an understanding on what Gutharraguda means to local Aboriginal people and to develop an insight into local Aboriginal Culture and Heritage.

As the business grows, additional products will be added and include Stand Up Paddleboards (SUP) and tours across to Wirruwana (Dirk Hartog Island).


Neville Poelina

(Western Australia)

Neville is a Nyikina man from the Kimberley. He is presently a member of the Tourism WA board of commissioners. Neville was born in Derby WA and is the proud father of five children. He has lived in the Kimberley all his life and holds a wealth of knowledge of the region. He has traditional ties right throughout the Kimberley and Aboriginal culture and society is his life. Starting off selling bait and fishing trips to Broome’s visitors at 6 years of age, Neville has been involved in tourism all of his life. He has been operating his own business Uptuyu Adventures since 2002.

Neville was called back to his traditional lands to establish the Oongkalkada Wilderness Camp and Indigenous Training Centre where he now bases his business operations. Neville is passionate about sharing cultural insights in the spectacular ever changing Kimberley.

His diverse employment background is based around positions of responsibility in the areas of pearling, diving and training and more recently as a tourism and Indigenous culture consultant.

His latest endeavour is to see WAITOC champion a national Indigenous tourism representative body and an international Indigenous tourism alliance.


Glen Mesch

State Manager – WA – Perpetual Private 

Glen started his career with Westpac in 1978 and has been involved in financial services for 30 years. He lived and worked in Broome for 15 years and founded a financial services business in 1990 which focussed on insurance and financial planning in Broome and the Kimberley area. Glen has also lived and worked in Kojonup during his early career.

Glen has a passion for sports and the role that it can play in developing community engagement. He has witnessed this first hand having coached predominantly Aboriginal teams including coaching the Kimberley and Pilbara representative football team in 1995 and 1996.

 


Marie Redman

Business Development – Integrated Futures – Curtin University

Marie is honoured to be one of the first non-Aboriginal Directors on the board of WAITOC. Having started in the industry as an 18 year old with TAA (1981) and progressing through a variety of career changes including agriculture, travel and events consultancy, Marie has worked with many “not for profit” boards. Marie will bring a diverse range of skills, knowledge and networks to the organisation through her established relationships with various industry sector organisations and associations. She strongly believes that a high priority needs to be place at a grassroots level to ensure better communication at all levels from the top down.

Marie looks forward to being part of the amazing journey of expanding our Indigenous Tourism sector in our wonderful state of WA and is keen to learn and be part of a board that will go through many wins and challenges. WAITOC will be instrumental as a vehicle for major economic development and assisting small to medium enterprises in Western Australia.