Tiwi Land Council

 

Gibson Farmer Illortaminni - Chairman

Born 23 June 1958 at Milikapiti on Melville Island, Mr. Illortaminni was educated at schools in Darwin and McKay in Queensland returning to the Islands to take up apprentice forester employment with the Commonwealth, and later Territory Governments` then developing plantations on Melville Island during the 1970`s.

Gibson is a senior elder of the Mantiyupwi people and was an early supporter of the formation of the Tiwi Land Council in 1978. He has represented their interests on the Land Council for the past decade. During that time Mr. Illortaminni has been a strong advocate for education and training, and the creation and security of Tiwi jobs for work on the Tiwi Islands. It is no coincidence that the Tiwi College, now with 82 students enrolled, occupies 400 ha of land owned by Gibson`s family. More recently Mr. Illortaminni has successfully represented the interests of his people in land claims over the Vernon Islands.

During the period of community local government Gibson was three times re-elected as President of the Milikapiti Community Local Government Council. He was also a strong foundation member of the Tiwi Health Board. The suicide of his brother in the late 1990`s affected him deeply. Mr. Illortaminni`s passionate dedication to discuss these deeply personal issues and to seek research and programs that could better assist his people, arose from these years. His national profile as an advocate for families affected by suicide has provided him a network of friendships and connections throughout Australia.

Gibson joined Great Southern Plantations Limited in 2005 as a forestry worker and quickly became a respected Manager and Liaison Officer for that Company developing programs to assist entry of Tiwi forestry workers into the workforce. With the collapse of Great Southern in 2009, Mr. Illortaminni has led the determination of Tiwi landowners to establish their own Tiwi Plantations Corporation in 2010 tasked with managing and bringing these plantations to harvest.

Gibson Farmer Illortaminni has recently celebrated his 28th wedding anniversary with his wife Linda. They have two children and eleven grandchildren.