Lois Peeler AM

Former Sapphires singer turned educator, uniting Indigenous values with Western academia

2017 VIC Senior Australian of the Year

A member of the Sapphires, Lois Peeler is also a political activist, passionate educator and principal at Australia’s only Aboriginal girls’ boarding school. Lois has worked in a range of roles in Indigenous affairs and currently chairs the Regional Aboriginal Justice Advisory Committee. At Worawa Aboriginal College in Victoria’s Healesville, Lois welcomes students from some of Australia’s most remote regions, many of whom have been exposed to trauma and dysfunction in their young lives. Lois oversees a holistic approach to education that brings together Aboriginal knowledge, values and pedagogy and Western academic leadership. A powerful role model for her students, staff and community, Lois instils pride and confidence in her students, and helps them gain a deep appreciation of their culture, encouraging the celebration of Aboriginal ways of knowing, doing and being. More than a principal, Lois is also an Elder of the Yorta Yorta people, with the abiding responsibility of nurturing Aboriginal culture, history and identity in an education framework.