Dedicated youth worker honoured

Headshot of Jakeb Waddell
Jakeb WaddellBroome Advertiser
Veronica McKeon
Camera IconVeronica McKeon Credit: Nevanka McKeon

The legacy of a woman who dedicated her life to helping children in the Kimberley will live on after a revamped building was named in her honour.

Nyul Nyul woman Veronica McKeon died of cancer in April, 2017, after a lifetime of working to improve the lives of young indigenous people across the region, particularly in Broome and the remote community of Beagle Bay, where she grew up.

Her roles included Aboriginal education assistant at Broome Primary School, introducing the Modern Dreamtime Dancers program, and co-ordinator at Broome Youth Support Group, now known as Broome Youth and Families Hub.

Her work did not go unnoticed.

BYFH held a commemorative ceremony at its Drop In Centre hall two weeks ago to officially unveil the refurbished centre, now known as the Veronica McKeon Hall.

The space is used to run activities to engage children at the youth care centre, as well as a number of community events.

BYFH program co-ordinator William Gee said the organisation was honoured to have been able to make the gesture. “We believed it would be great to dedicate the upgraded hall in honour of Veronica McKeon, not only on behalf of us here at the organisation, but also on behalf of the youth and community of Broome,” he said.

“Her name, stories and legacy will forever be associated and known with the BYFH Drop-In Centre.”

Nevanka McKeon, daughter of Veronica, said she was proud the hall was named after her mother, who was extremely passionate about helping young children and families. “Aunty Bono, as she was affectionately called, was a passionate, caring, strong, kind and knowledgeable lady and worked tirelessly with youth of Broome and their families for many years,” she said.

“She soon became a permanent role model and active carer for many youth in Broome, sharing her home, providing guidance and support not just during work hours but endless hours, work hours and on weekends, all this despite having a large family of her own.

“During her time as BYSG co-ordinator, she supported youth in many ways. She also had a deep love and pride for her country — she was a fighter, not afraid to stand up for what she believed in.”

The hall was renovated with funding from the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet and Kimberley Development Commission.

Veronica McKeon’s name and image has been used with permission from family.

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