Rosemary Wanganeen

Transforming Aboriginal disadvantage into Aboriginal prosperity.

Meet Rosemary Wanganeen

Transforming Aboriginal disadvantage into Aboriginal prosperity.

Director & Founder, Rosemary Wanganeen

Griefologist – Clinical Loss & Grief Counsellor-General Public & EAP provider; Facilitator; Program Designer; Assessor; Public Speaker; Consultant for research projects etc.
Cert IV Training & Assessment (2003)
Canditure: Master of Philosophy – University of Adelaide (2018-2022)

As a Griefologist Rosemary is a specialist.  She is a qualified educator & assessor, program designer and facilitator, loss & grief counsellor, public speaker and a published author.  The foundation to these abilities derives from her lived experiences of grieving through her personal loss and grief from 1987-1992.  During her personal grieving journey she set up the Sacred Site Within Healing Centre in 1993.

Rosemary is a proud South Australian Aboriginal woman with ancestry and ancestral links to Kaurna of the Adelaide Plains and Wirringu from the West Coast. After the Death of their beloved mother, Rosemary and six of her eight siblings became part of the Stolen Generation. It’s a traumatic story, but by reconnecting with her Spiritual Ancestors, Rosemary managed to survive the many years of loss, grief and fear.

Years later, as an intuitive researcher and respected academic trying to make sense of her experience, Rosemary had a life-changing epiphany. She realised her own contemporary loss and unresolved grief was compounding and complicating the broader, systemic cultural losses and unresolved grief that all Aboriginal people have experienced since invasion/colonisation. She saw how all Aboriginal Australians – an entire community – was being funnelled into disadvantage.

Rosemary utilised this intuitive research to develop a new and innovative academic cultural methodology. She reframed the deficit western construct of ‘Aboriginal disadvantage’ and re-classify it under the umbrella of Griefology. The unique and innovative model she personally developed – The Seven Phases to Integrating Loss and Grief© – is the path to Aboriginal prosperity.

Health, Welfare & Social Justice

With nearly 30 years of experience in health, welfare, and social justice for Aboriginal people, Rosemary Wanganeen has been at the forefront of advocating for change.

Her journey began in the 1980s when Rosemary worked as an advocate and full-time research officer in the Committee to Defend Black Rights (CDBR). In the Sydney office, she campaigned vigorously for a Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody. CDBR became instrumental in forcing the Hawke government into calling for the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody (RCIADIC 1988-1991).

As an Aboriginal research officer, she worked in the Adelaide office of the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody (1988-1991), while at the same time, still grieving and healing from her own personal lived experiences. Combining her work, her studies and her personal lived experiences, Rosemary developed the holistic and culturally safe and appropriate framework: The Seven Phases to Integrating Loss and Grief©.

It was an incredible privilege being a part of the SA Voluntary Assisted Dying Implementation Taskforce throughout 2022 ???????? ????????.

Learn More at SA Gov

A Personal Journey to Healing

While working as a research officer at the Royal Commission, Rosemary was simultaneously navigating her own journey of grief and healing. This personal experience deeply influenced her work.

The Seven Phases to Integrating Loss and Grief© model was strengthened by studying with Bereavement Educational Services (SA) in 1994 and with COPE (SA) in Counseling Basics and Counseling Strategies in 1991.

This experience gave Rosemary the realisation that loss and inter-generational suppressed unresolved grief is the basis of so many of the challenges that beset contemporary Aboriginal people as individuals, families, communities and as a race of people. It was also the cause of many of the barriers that contribute to a fear of participation in society and accessing help from mainstream services.

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Awards & Accolades

Rosemary’s dedication and expertise have not gone unnoticed. She has gained recognition from academics and health professionals for her bi-cultural training and Griefology work. Her research and methodologies have been published in reputable articles and papers, featured in specialist journals, and have made her a sought-after public speaker, both nationally and internationally.

NITV: Our Stories Our Way – SBS Documentary (2017)
Outstanding Health Project/Program – Aboriginal Health Council (SA) NAIDOC Health Awards 2016
Australian Ethnic Award Nomination 2012
Recipient of Gladys Elphick Award 2011
Winner: South Australian of the Year 2009 – Community Award
Telstra Businesswoman of the Year – Nomination 2000
ZontaClub of Adelaide – Women of Achievement Award South Australia 2000
ICAM –Living Black. SBS Documentary Indigenous Unit 1999

A Mission for Healing

Rosemary’s work centers on the belief that addressing loss and inter-generational suppressed unresolved grief is essential for healing contemporary Aboriginal individuals, families, and communities. It’s also a crucial step in overcoming barriers to participation in society and accessing mainstream services.

Get Educated. Get Inspired.

Intergenerational loss and grief refers to the transmission of emotional pain and unresolved grief from one generation to the next, particularly within Aboriginal communities.
This phenomenon perpetuates cycles of disadvantage, impacting mental and emotional well-being, cultural identity, and relationships. Our workshops aim to break this cycle by applying Griefology principles, providing participants with tools to prevent the escalation of grief into completed suicides, strengthen resilience, foster cultural safety, and contribute to the overall social and community well-being within Aboriginal communities.

By addressing intergenerational loss and grief, our workshops seek to promote healing, empowerment, and prosperity among participants and their communities. Together, we can empower ourselves and others to create positive change.

Suicide casts a long shadow that extends far beyond the individual within Indigenous communities. The emotional toll on families and friends is immeasurable. Griefology, as understood through the experiences of Indigenous peoples, helps us appreciate the unique cultural and spiritual dimensions of this grief.

Griefology enhances the impact of healthcare and legal professionals by seamlessly incorporating trauma-informed care into their practice. This approach recognises the profound influence of unresolved grief on individuals, families, and communities, offering a deeper understanding of trauma’s roots.

By embracing Griefology, professionals can provide more empathetic, culturally sensitive, and healing-oriented services, ultimately fostering resilience and promoting equitable access to justice and healthcare for all.