Jerol Wunungmurra joined us in Geelong at the start of Term 2, 2012. Jerol was from Gapuwiyak (Lake Evella) – a small community about 200 km east of Nhulunbuy. Jerol entered Year 10 at St. Joseph’s College. Jerol loved his footy, and played in the U/16’s and U/18’s at St. Mary’s Football Club. He is strong in traditional culture, being an up-and-coming didgeridoo player and singer of Ceremonial ‘Manikay’ songs. Jerol completed his work experience with David MacDonald Construction, where he impressed the builders with his work ethic, diligence and solid character.
Jerol was a sensible and mature lad and totally immersed himself into the Leadership Program. His spoken English skills improved significantly, as did his confidence. When the boys performed at the Cats’ Supporters Club pre-game function before the round 15 Cats v Pies AFL game, Jerol took the microphone and role of ‘Manikay’ Ceremonial Song singer, whilst Yirrmal played the didgeridoo. It was an impressive debut by Jerol, considering he had never performed with a microphone before, and a sign of great things to come.
Jerol graduated alongside Dion at the end of 2014 which was a fantastic achievement. His father flew down for the occasion and was a very proud parent, as were Cam and Melissa. Jerol decided to return in 2015 to continue his studies. He was enrolled in a Certificate 3 in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Primary Health Care at VACCHO in Melbourne and was also attending Gordon Tafe on a Friday completing a bridging course in English and Maths. Although Jerol was going really well – he was enjoying his course and was renting a house with Yirrmal – he decided that he wanted to return to his community. It was sad to see Jerol go but he had spent a little over 3 years in Geelong and we were very proud of his efforts.
In 2016 Jerol unfortunately was diagnosed with Leukemia. It was a terribly stressful time as he had to spend months in Adelaide, away from his family, undergoing chemotherapy treatment. The Marrma’ Rom Foundation raised over $5000 to help support him during this tough time. Jerol fought hard and we are so pleased that he is healthy again and we hope that his health continues to stay positive.
Jerol is currently working in Yirrkala in the mining industry. He works hard to support his partner and young little boy. He is a fantastic father and we are so proud of him and all that he has overcome and achieved. We wish him well for the future.