Steve Fordham


I am from Gunnedah. I am a Kamilaroi man. When my family were young, we moved to the Muswellbrook area to chase the mines, as most people do - to try and get into the industry.  My Dad was a third-generation coal miner and something we have been proud of, but my parents they split when I was about 5 or 6. 

I think the basis of my business and my whole life, I sort of shaped from that one point. When my parents split, the school said, “You might want to put your son into therapy, he is looking very stressed.” So, they sent me down to see one of the shrinks and she came out and she had a few tears in her eyes, they couldn’t work out why. When I went into see her, I took my little lunchbox in and I had all the bills in there, cause my Dad said I was the man of the house, so it’s my job to pay the bills.

At 18 I had five guys in their 40s working for me, Indigenous fellas. Not only did I provide jobs for them but I brought their families up to the area. I helped try and give them opportunities to progress in life, more than just being an Indigenous person in the community - I wanted to see education, I wanted to see people to step forward in life. 

A couple of the big things I try to do in my businesses is to provide opportunities and progression. I think that is one of the biggest things in our community. There is billions of dollars coming out of this area but it needs to stay in this area. We need to provide opportunity for not only the people of this area and traditional land holders, but everyone, we need an equality in life. That one thing I have always set forward, that was the basis of most of my childhood.

“I wanted to see education I wanted to see people step forward in life.”