Last month, the community of Gapuwiyak came out in dance and song to farewell their CDP coordinator Michael Coughlin. Michael was a well-loved and respected community services worker and we wish him all the best.


We caught up recently with him to hear more about his story: 


Michael Coughlin was born near the traditional land of the Peramangk peoples of the Adelaide hills, and the Ngarrindjeri peoples of the Coorong Lakes area, although he spent many years in the Northern Territory from the age of 11.

Peramangk and Ngarrindjeri are Aboriginal nations. Michael’s dreaming is the Crow, and his mothers are the Emu, He was adopted into the Wanambi Family here in the NT. The man who adopted him, Ivan Wanambi has the same dreaming.

Michael used to ride on the Greyhound bus on his own as a kid and would come up to Tennant Creek to visit his extended adopted family. The journey from Adelaide would take him more than two days. Later, he came back to Tennant Creek as a teenager and started a job in the meatworks. Later in his 30s he was employed in the mines and helped get local Aboriginal People jobs, and he built positive relationships.

Michael says, if he were ever asked to come back to ALPA he would happily say Yes! Sadly, he is leaving to help support his son who has health issues. Michael thinks the future for ALPA will hold new opportunities such as Business Incubations, Economic Developments, A way to imparting business knowledge, and advancing skills. He will be keeping an eye out for future vacancies and is keen on ALPA’s New Directions.

He worked in the Community Development arm as a CDP coordinator at Gapuwiyak. He enjoys his job because he got to work out in the community, with the community members and has also been able to support positive change.

He has even represented our people at the United Nations in Geneva in 2018.

Michael Coughlin started working for ALPA in late 2019. CDP coordinator at Gapuwiyak. He says he enjoys his job because he got to work out in the community, with locals. He has also able to support positive change, basically the essence of community development.

“As Aboriginal man, I found it naturally calling to help Aboriginal communities”.

“The biggest highlight for me was my send-off in the community. It was very special for me and will remember it well, it made me feel like I have done the best I could.”