New scholarship and work shirt pay tribute to Cory James

Wednesday, 18 November

Lismore City Council Acting General Manager Peter Jeuken today unveiled Council’s new Indigenous work shirt in memory of Cory James and announced Malcolm Saunderson as the inaugural recipient of the Cory James Memorial Scholarship.

“Council is honoured to announce Malcolm Saunderson from our parks team as the inaugural recipient of the Cory James Memorial Scholarship,” he said.

“We are also happy to unveil Council’s new work shirts, which are inspired by and based on designs by Cory.”

Cory James was a member of Council’s roads crew who died suddenly in October 2019. He was a proud Bundjalung/Yaegl man and is sorely missed by his family and Council colleagues, who formed a moving guard of honour at this funeral wearing black armbands.

The idea of a shirt with an Indigenous design for Council workers was something Cory had envisioned to recognise Council’s Indigenous staff and to promote Indigenous culture and heritage within the community. Sadly, Cory died before his vision was realised.

In honour of his memory, Council has produced a shirt using Cory’s original artwork.

This artwork is a replica of designs Cory hand-painted on a surfboard that reflects his ancestral dreaming path. It features three circles representing the three islands where his ancestors are from – Ullagundai Island, Cabbage Tree Island and Stradbroke Island – as well as his handprint and signature.

There are also symbols that represent people gathering around a campfire and the connection between groups in his grandfather’s country here in Lismore, while his mother Jenny Smith hand-painted a snake – his family’s ancestral totem – to complete the design.
Mr Jeuken said the new Indigenous work shirt and scholarship were a fitting way for Council to pay tribute to a young man who was known for his hard work and passion for improving opportunities for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

“We hope this scholarship encourages other young Indigenous employees to pursue education to become strong and respected young leaders like Cory,” Mr Jeuken said.

The Cory James Memorial Scholarship provides $5000 annually to an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Council employee who wishes to undertake further study to support their aspiration of developing a leadership role within Council and the community.

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