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FPDN Yarning Disability is a podcast by The First Peoples Disability Network (FPDN) hosted by FPDN Advocate Bernard Namok. In each episode, The Yarning Disability podcast showcases the stories of First Nations peoples living with a disability, their families and carers and other disability industry professionals to highlight the lived experiences of First Nations people with a disability in Australia.

Podcast Episodes

Episode 1 of Yarning Disability:
In episode 1 of FPDN’s new podcast ‘Yarning Disability’, FPDN CEO Damian Griffis explains the history of FPDN as an organisation and FPDN Advocate and Yarning Disability host Bernard Namok shares his own disability story.

Episode 2 of Yarning Disability:
In episode 2 of ‘Yarning Disability’, the FPDN Podcast, FPDN Advocate Carly Wallace spoke to First Nations mother Katrina McKechnie about her journey as a single mother of children with disabilities living in Woolgoolga in NSW.

Episode 3 of Yarning Disability:
‘Spicy Brain’ is the way Gomoroi and Tattoo Artist Mat Fink describes his recent diagnosis of adult ADHD and Autism. In this week’s Yarning Disability episode, Mat spoke with FDPN Advocate Carly Wallace about his disability journey spanning from his childhood, to his time in the Australian Defence force while in the navy, and now as a person living with neurodivergent disabilities.

Episode 4 of Yarning Disability:
This week’s episode of Yarning Disability features Renay Barker-Mulholland, is a proud disabled, Biripi / Dungutti woman and mother of children with disabilities dedicated to fighting for disability justice. Renay describes herself as an intersectional feminist, an abolisitionist, and someone defys the colonial boundaries imposed on First Nations people.

Episode 5 of Yarning Disability:
This week’s episode of Yarning Disability features Badu Island man Karim Yorkston seen a need to start up a support service in Cairns for families travelling down from the Torres Strait Islands and the Cape communities for medical reason. UME Support not only answer your questions about NDIS, they also offer Cultural Activities, One on One with youth and Community Access.

Episode 6 of Yarning Disability:
Quaden and Yarraka Bayles are a formidable force. The mother and son duo went viral in 2020 after Yarraka shared a video of Quaden in distress after being bullied at school for having Achondroplasia, a form of dwarfism. This week on Yarning Disability, FPDN caught up with Quaden and his mum Yarraka to see how life is going now for their family.

Episode 7 of Yarning Disability:
This week’s episode FPDN Advocate, Bernard Namok Jnr had a yarn with Founder and CEO of Full Back Group, Kanat Wano. Kanat is a Zenadth Kes man from the eastern island of Mer and is the Founder and CEO of Full Black Group based in Meeanjin, which focus for equity and inclusion and advice around NDIS. Bala Kanat, who is also a gifted motivational speaker took me on a journey of learning and understanding.

Episode 8 of Yarning Disability:
This week’s episode of Yarning Disability, features a proud Yindinji Women and FPDN’s NSW Advocacy Manager, Deb Lee. FPDN Advocate, Bernard Namok Jnr had a yarn with Deb Lee about what inspired her to become an advocate,

Episode 9 of Yarning Disability:

This week’s Yarning Disability guest embodies the philosophy of ‘A culture of inclusion’ for mob with disabilities. Clinton Bennell shares his story of inclusion as a brother to a sibling with an intellectual disability and as a father to child with Noonan syndrome and hearing loss.

Episode 10 of Yarning Disability:
This week’s episode of Yarning Disability, features Deputy CEO of First People’s Disability Network; Aunty June Riemer, a proud Gumbaynggirr and Dunghutti woman from the north coast of New South Wales, has been working in the sector for over 40 years, leading and inspiring her team as they navigate the changes in the national disability sector and was honoured for her life’s work. Dedicated to creating systemic change to improve the lives of first peoples with disability and their families.

Episode 11 of Yarning Disability:
This week’s episode of Yarning Disability is a proud Yanyuwa, Garrawa and Kuku Yalanji man from Borroloola and Cairns in Far North Queensland. Clarence is also a proud wheelchair basketballer and was born with Fibula Limb Deficiency – meaning, since childbirth his right leg wasn’t formed properly and it’s a lot shorter that his left leg, but this hasn’t stopped him from playing wheelchair basketball and made the decision to go to college in the United States.

Episode 12 of Yarning Disability:
FPDN Advocate Carly Wallace discusses the complex and sensitive topic of Psychosocial disabilities with Wiradjuri/Wolgalu, First Nations Aboriginal man Joe Williams. Joe is a man with his own psychosocial disability, living with Biploar Disorder and is a staunch mental health and trauma advocate.

Episode 13 of Yarning Disability:
This week’s episode of Yarning Disability features Sandy Dann, a Nyul Nyul woman from Broome in the Kimberleys. Sandy was diagnosed with congenital glaucoma at a young age. Sandy has been broadcasting for over 30 years and hosts a 2-hour radio show on Goolarri Media.

Episode 14 of Yarning Disability:
This episode of Yarning Disability features Nancy Bates, a barkindji woman from far western New South Wales, a senior advocate for FPDN, and an accomplished singer-songwriter. Nancy balances her advocacy work with the guitar and songwriting, and is involved with a project called Songs Inside, where she works with women inside Adelaide Women’s Prison. Songs Inside is a transformative story of a group of women prisoners in a groundbreaking music program that aims to keep vulnerable women from returning back to the prison system.

To connect with Nancy, visit her website at

Episode 15 of Yarning Disability:

Aboriginal man Brenton Bowen hails from the small Aboriginal community of Hopevale in Far North QLD and fulfilled his dream of becoming a professional sportsman, playing in the NRL for the North QLD Cowboys and the Gold Coast Titans. Brenton is now an ambassador for ‘Deadly Choices’, where he promotes healthy lifestyles for mob and and also an artist.

FPDN Advocate Carly Wallace spoke to Brenton on Yarning Disability about his football career, his artwork and the day his life changed with news about his health with a brain tumour.

Episode 16 of Yarning Disability:
On Saturday 14th of October, Australians will be ask to vote on an Indigenous Voice to Parliament. In this episode of Yarning Disability is the Minister for Indigenous Australians and Proud Wiradjuri Women, Linda Burney and Damien Griffis, CEO of FPDN and Proud Worimi Man. The vote will determine whether the Voice, a body providing advice to Government on issues particularly impacting Indigenous people, will be enshrined in the Constitution.

If you’d like easily accessible and easy to read information on the voice to inform your vote on the referendum, Go to

Episode 17 of Yarning Disability:

Traditional Torres Strait woman, Aunty Abigail Harry hails from Yam Island in the Torres Strait.

For over 40years Aunty Abigail Harry have lived and worked on Noongar, Boodja, Yamatji, Wongi country and now she is back living on Thursday Island and is actively involved in her community of Tamwoy Town when it comes to highlighting community issues.

Isolation, Remoteness and Accessibilities are some of the issues Aunty Abigail yarned with FPDN Advocate Bernard Namok and she strongly believed that there is a greater need for family living across the Torres Strait Islands.

Episode 18 of Yarning Disability:

In this episode of Yarning Disability, you will hear from Jaunita Haynes, a Yamatji woman living in Albany, Western Australia. In 2013, Jaunita was studying to be a nurse when, sadly, the GP administered her with the wrong vaccine dose, which had caused a disability. She yarned with FPDN Rozy Bynder about the reaction it caused, how it changed her life, and her journey to recovery.

Download Episode 17 Transcript

Episode 19 of Yarning Disability:

Stunning landscapes, remote communities and a strong and rich culture, Alice Springs, or known locally as Mparntwe is a remote town in the Northern Territory halfway between Darwin and Adelaide, both is 1500KM away.

In this episode of Yarning Disability, FPDN Advocate Jordan Wishart had a yarn with Joel Walker, who is paraplegic, about his disability and the long journey of emotions and healing to get to where he is today.

Episode 20 of Yarning Disability:

Training and Engagement Officer for Northern Territory, Jordan Wishart is a Bidjara man from central Queensland, but spent most of his life on Arrernte Country in Alice Springs. Jordan struggles with severe Dyslexia and ADHD – but to him, he doesn’t see that as a disability.

This episode of Yarning Disability, FPDN’s Bernard Namok and Jordan Wishart were on location to do community engagement in the remote town of Maningrida, 500ks from Darwin in Arnhem Land at the mouth of the Liverpool River.

Episode 21 of Yarning Disability:

Strong Voices on Yarning Disability. A range of voices and stories from our mob advocating for the human rights of their children with disabilities every day. Systems that create barriers for our mob with disabilities. Shine a light on our FPDN Staff and the importance of inclusion and belonging.
Download Episode 21 Transcript