The Koori Mail Online Collection

The story of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australia is a big one, and important for our nation. That it has been able to be told for 20 years and through 500 editions of the Koori Mail is a matter of enormous pride and privilege for my Bundjalung people. The Koori Mail’s first edition was just 24 pages, all black and white (except for the masthead), and read by about 25,000 people. Today, the newspaper averages close to 100 pages, is alive with colour, and reaches more than 100,000 readers right around Australia every fortnight. If it involves our mob, you’ll find it in the pages of the Koori Mail. The highs and the lows, the joy and the despair. From the grassroots of our communities to the big end of town and national affairs. But more than that, we also have a successful business that is owned and controlled by Aboriginal people. I’m proud to say that every cent of profit earned by the Koori Mail goes to Indigenous Australians, either as sponsorships and scholarships or dividends to the owning community organisations*.



The dividends received by the owning organisations help to keep us going – improvements for our properties, sponsoring trips for our kids, ensuring we meet cultural obligations ... the list goes on. To be the chairman of such an organisation is something that’s deeply satisfying. But all this doesn’t just happen. It’s taken dedication and hard work to get where we are today. So I’d like to thank my fellow Board members, past and present, who have so ably represented the owning organisations and overseen the development of the Koori Mail. Equally, my thanks go to the management and staff who continue to produce a newspaper we are proud to call our own. And I’d also like to thank our readers for their ongoing loyalty and support. Without you, none of this would have been possible. Twenty years and 500 editions is a real achievement, and something we’re proud of. But rest assured we won’t be resting on our laurels. There’s challenging times ahead for Indigenous Australia. Have no doubt the Koori Mail will be shining a light on them for another 20 years and beyond. I said at the beginning of this message that the story of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australia was a big and important one. The Koori Mail Board is delighted that, with the help of the Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies (AIATSIS), we are now able to bring that story to life in digital form.
It is our gift to the nation.

Russell Kapeen
Bundjalung man
Chairman, Koori Mail (since 1995)
Chairman, Kurrachee Co-operative


*The Koori Mail – 100 per cent Aboriginal owned and controlled – is situated on Bundjalung country on the far north coast of New South Wales. Its shareholders are five small Aboriginal organisations – the Bundjalung Tribal Society (Lismore), Bunjum Co-operative (Ballina/Cabbage Tree Island), Buyinbin Co-operative (Casino), Kurrachee Co-operative (Coraki) and Nungera Co-operative (Maclean).