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Merinda Hansen


Merinda has worked as an Aboriginal, Islander Education Officer for the education department for at least 30 years.

Merinda is also a Noongar Language teacher, who was lucky to be taught by some very fluent speakers, Aunty Kathy Yarren (RIP) Aunty Janet Collard (RIP) and Aunty Beryl Harp (RIP). Merinda holds great respect for these Elders and feels honoured to be taught by them.

Merinda enjoys teaching the language and making sure it is getting passed on to the younger generation.


Committee Member since 2004 and Life Member

Dawn Bessarab

Vice Chairperson

Dawn Bessarab is an Aboriginal woman of Bardi (West Kimberley) and Yindjibarndi (Pilbara) descent.  She is a senior social worker who graduated with her PhD in 2007. 

Dawn has extensive experience across the Western Australian public sector, specifically in the area of Child Protection, family violence, alcohol and substance abuse and the criminal justice system.

Dawn lectures regularly on Aboriginal issues and has presented internationally and published on her work. Dawn is a cross cultural trainer and has extensive experience in developing and facilitating the delivery of programs in the area of parenting, governance and cross cultural training.


Committee Member since 2008 and Life Member

Lesley Markey


Committee Member since 2022

Angela Ryder


Angela Ryder is a Wilman/Goreng Noongar woman originally from Katanning and has lived in metropolitan Perth her adult life. Angela is the Senior Manager, Aboriginal Services with Relationships Australia WA.

Angela is a co-founder and the Treasurer of LAA. Angela has extensive experience in the areas of governance, finances, human resource management, project management, research, cultural awareness and more. 

Angela has worked relentlessly in the Aboriginal community for more than 40 years, with particular focus on  empowering Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities through the promotion of cultural, social and  emotional wellbeing. Part of her work has included the delivery of the National Empowerment Project (NEP), Cultural Social and Emotional Wellbeing program, Grief and Loss, Cultural Awareness and women’s leadership initiatives. Angela holds a Bachelor of Commerce in Human Resource Management and Industrial Relations and is a recipient of the John Curtin Medal in 2017 as well as an inductee in the inaugural WA International Women’s Hall of Fame 2011.   


Committee Member 2000 to 2015; since 2017 and Life Member

Anne Oxenham

Committee Member

Anne Oxenham is a Nanda Elder from Kalbarri.

Anne lived in Ajana and went to school at Binnu and Galena. Anne moved to Geraldton for work and came to Perth in 1975. After doing various jobs in and around the city Anne retired in September 2017 and is now working part-time at LAA running the café monthly and helping out in the kitchen when she can.


Committee Member since 2012 and Life Member

Kathryn Ross

Committee Member

I am an Eastern Arrernte woman, born in Alice Springs. I grew up in Darwin and have had a successful career in science working for government and mining companies. For the last 12 years I have lived in Perth and have been a participant in many of LAA’s programs.

Currently I am working with people living with mental illness as an NDIS outreach worker.

I have had the opportunity to work for LAA previously and have been on the Management Committee since 2020.


Committee Member since 2020