Mookai Rosie is only as good as the solid people who work here. Our team is made up overwhelmingly of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, so understand the needs of our clients and can provide a safe, friendly, and culturally responsive service.
Mookai Rosie’s professional staff include highly qualified clinicians who can make sure that you have the care and information you need to get healthy, stay healthy and give your baby the best possible start in life.
Our administrative workers, receptionists, great cooks, catering, and maintenance staff will make your visit friendly, comfortable and as stress-free as possible, and our friendly drivers will take you to your medical and other appointments and pick you up afterwards.
Meet our Executive
Chief Executive Officer
Theresa grew up in Cairns, with proud family connections to Cherbourg (Wakka Wakka) and Mount Isa (Kalkadon).
Raised by her strong and compassionate grandmother Bonnie Simpson as an only child, Theresa was consistently around her mother’s younger siblings and was often mistaken for one of them. Grandmother Bonnie was one of the original house mothers that had helped establish Mookai Rosie Bi-Bayan alongside founder Rose Richards. Her upbringing immersed Theresa in positive cultural and family values, shaping her into the family-orientated person she is today.
Theresa has worked at Mookai Rosie Bi-Bayan for nineteen years, continuing in her family’s footsteps with a passion for improving Women’s Health. She has extensive experience in both Government and private sectors, with expertise in business management and administration, human resources, finance, and leadership.
Theresa is determined to sustain and build on the legacy left by the women who built Mookai Rosie before her. This legacy encompasses both professional, evidence-based health care and accommodation services combined guided by strong and respectful cultural governance.
Nichole Dorante is the granddaughter of both Rose Richards and Bonnie Simpson. These remarkable women, together with Nana Esme Hudson, sacrificed their pensions and wages to ensure clients got to their medical appointments.
There were no Government funds in those days so they bought medication and food, and provided transport. Supported by local leaders Grandad Clarrie Grogan and Uncle Mick Miller, the women fought hard to get funding. With this, they created one of the first Aboriginal-community-controlled organisations in far North Queensland.
Nichole says she feels as if the baton, and her grandmother’s fighting spirits, have been passed on to her. Now it’s her responsibility to keep Mookai Rosie heading in the right direction and to teach the younger generation as her Elders taught her.
“My Grandmother Rose would always ask ‘When you going to get on the Board?’. I would always reply ‘No, not me.” But here I am three years sitting on the Board at Mookai Rosie and thoroughly enjoying the experience. I am so proud to be a part of an organisation that I remember so well as a little girl.”
“There’s nothing else like Mookai. Its uniqueness is that it’s run and staffed by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women. When our own mob come here, they have a place to stay where they can feel safe and comfortable, a home away from home. No other service can give these ladies that and no one can do it better than us, ourselves!”
She wants to expand Mookai’s services to work with young men too. “They come as a family unit so we need to help build on their strengths as a family. The families will have goals that they might want to work towards and we can help them achieve those goals”.
Meet our Managers
Health Program Manager
Lavinia Coyle’s passion for working to improve the holistic outcomes for her people came early.
Born to a Wiradjuri mother and a Maori father of the Te Whānau-ā-Apanui tribe, Lavinia is Mookai Rosie’s Health Program Manager. She is responsible for ensuring that the clinic, health and accommodation team are well supported. This way, we can support our clients to achieve the best possible outcomes for their health and wellbeing.
Growing up on the Darling Downs, Lavinia first came to Cairns and to Mookai as a 21-year-old Health Worker. She then left Mookai to work in the legal sector for a Domestic and Family Violence Prevention Legal Service before returning as a Senior Manager.
Lavinia says there are two main reasons why she loves working at Mookai Rosie. She loves the ladies and children we care for, and the environment Mookai creates for its family (clients and staff).
“I love working at Mookai Rosie, mainly because of the ladies and children we help. We provide such a unique and desperately needed service. We provide supported accommodation for people at the most important times of their lives, when they’re needing medical attention or when they are having their bubba. It’s a privilege to be a part of our ladies’ lives and provide care for them in these times.”
She says that the founders of Mookai Rosie, Auntie Rosie Richards herself, Esmae Hudson and Bonnie Simpson are the inspiration for her hard work.
“The fact is that more than 30 years ago these women saw a need in our communities and then made sure that need was addressed. They have done so much for our people through their perseverance and it’s that legacy that motivates me every day.”