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John Graham is a Traditional Custodian of the Gold Coast region, a Kombumerri man, a saltwater man of the Gold Coast part of the wider Yugambeh Language Group. He also has cultural links with the Minjungbal and Wakka Wakka peoples.

As a strong Aboriginal leader, John has instilled his stewardship, expertise, cultural knowledge and protocol in countless organizations, communities, and individuals. John has supported colleagues, researchers, students, and community members to achieve their fullest potential.

John worked at Griffith University for over 20 years, initially for 5 years at the College of Art in the Bachelor of Contemporary Australian Indigenous Art and as the Senior Learning Assistance Officer with the GUMURRII Unit for 16 years. He is a current member of the Griffith University Elders and First Peoples Knowledge Holders Advisory Board. He was appointed as the Bond Elder in January 2022 under the direction of the PVC Indigenous, Keitha Dunstan and works across the University in a diversity of strategic roles.

As a representative of the GC2018 Commonwealth Games Yugambeh Elders Group, John travelled to Auckland to receive the Queen’s Baton from the Maori people. The Baton was brought back to Queensland to commence the Australian leg of the Queen’s Baton Relay. He also received the Baton from the Maori’s at Broadbeach on its return journey back to the 2022 Birmingham Commonwealth Games.


As Chair of the Yugambeh Region Aboriginal Corporation Alliance (YRACA) board, John strongly contributes towards the ongoing development of the organisation. He is a strong advocate for this Traditional Custodian membership based Aboriginal Corporation in this region.


John provides Welcome to Country at a host of significant events across the Yugambeh language region. These include the opening of the Home of the Arts (HOTA), Broadbeach Blues Festival, Destination Gold Coast, Major Events Gold Coast, Village Roadshow, Gold Coast City Council, Logan City Council, National Rugby League, AFL, and Rugby Union events and other significant events and partnerships across the Gold Coast.


John is a respected figure within the Southeast Queensland region and is strongly relied on for his unique skill set including cultural expertise, advocacy, stewardship knowledge of government,education, tourism, and conservation. John continues to be an exemplary leader, role model and advocate for First Peoples of Australia.

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