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An introduction to your First Nations Telegraph


First Nations Telegraph Pty Ltd (ACN 162 893 7720) is a family owned and operated business of Rhonda and Stephen Hagan from Toowoomba in southeast Queensland.

Rhonda and Stephen saw an opportunity to start their online business venture after working in the media industry and from listening to family, friends and associates complain about the difficulty they had accessing breaking news specific to their mob. Although Facebook and Twitter have whet the appetite of those close to them when it came to having a good yarn about topics of interest – whether real or imaginary - there remained for them that insatiable thirst for the immediacy of news coverage that they could access through their respective managed multiple social media accounts.

As a family owned and operated business Rhonda and Stephen are not constrained by management interfering in editorial processes or of management inflexibilty to media innovations driven by First Nations' readers and their supporters.

First Nations Telegraph is Australia's first free online national First Nation specific e-newspaper covering everything from news, editorial, opinions, features, community stories, sport and much more - as they break - on a daily basis. It is a media site by, for and about First Nations people that can be accessed through a range of creative and busy sites:



PROFILE - Rhonda and Stephen

Rhonda is a Mandubarra woman from the Mamu nation near Innisfail in far north Queensland. The backdrop image to First Nations Telegraph website is Liverpool Creek that flows into Bombeeta Creek south of Innisfail. Bombeeta Creek is named in honour of Rhonda's maternal great grandmother, Bombeeta, a Mandubarra Mamu traditional owner.

She is a qualified journalist with a Bachelor of Arts degree majoring in journalism, media production and public relations (USQ, 2000) and has a Graduate Certificate in Tertiary Teaching and Learning (USQ 2008). Rhonda has worked as an academic (Arts Faculty, USQ), journalist (Indigenous media), health worker in community health (Mamu, Innisfail and Wuchopperan, Cairns) as well as an administrator in the public sector (Health, Cairns) and private sector (Hospitality and Media - Gold Coast, Cairns and Toowoomba). She is also a multi-award winning documentary director (I'm a Nurse, 2004; and Nigger Lovers, 2007 - winner of Enhance TV Atom Award for Best Short Documentary, Melbourne, September 2007; Inside Film Award for Best Short Documentary, Gold Coast, November 2007; and International Indigenous Best Short Documentary, Maori Film Festival, Wairoa NZ, May 2008).


Stephen is a Kullilli traditional owner from far southwest Queensland with connections to the Mardigani, Gungarri and Kooma peoples of southwest Queensland. Stephen lived in a fringe camp on the outskirts of Cunnamulla as an infant and was educated at Cunnamulla State Primary and Secondary School to Year 10 and then completed his matriculation at Marist Brothers College, Ashgrove. His father Jim was the first Indigenous Australian to speak at the United Nations in Geneva in 1980 when he was the Chairman of the National Aboriginal Conference. Stephen was successful in his appeal against the Australian government and domestic courts over the removal of the offending word 'Nigger', from a public sign E. S. 'Nigger' Brown Stand on a Queensland grandstand, to the CERD at the United Nations in 2003 after a decade-long civil court case.

He has a BA (Uni of Canberra 1986), MBA (USQ, 2002) and will submit his PhD this year. Stephen is a former diplomat (Attache, Colombo), senior public servant (ADC, DFA, PM&C, DAA, ATSIC, DEET) business entrepreneur (Arts, Culture and Media), award winning author (The N Word: One Man Stand - Magabala 2005, winner of Deadlys Award for Outstanding Achievement in Literature, Opera House, Sydney 2005; Australia's Blackest Sporting Moments: The Top 100 - Ngalga Warralu, March 2006; Melly and the Bilby - Ngalga Warralu, Sept 2006; and Ngalga Mathematics - Oxford Press 2011) and multi-award winning documentary writer and producer (Nigger Lovers, 2007 - winner of Enhance TV Atom Award for Best Short Documentary, Melbourne, September 2007; Inside Film Award for Best Short Documentary, Gold Coast, November 2007; and International Indigenous Best Short Documentary Maori Film Festival, Wairoa NZ, May 2008). Stephen is currently writing two books: a teenage mystical fiction and adult action legal thriller. He hopes to turn them both into movies. He plans to publish his PhD Critiquing the nexus between ambiguous race-based judicial determinations and community xenophobia in 2014.

Rhonda and Stephen have two children who both attend University: 4th year Law and 1st year Mining Engineering. They have strong family values and immense pride in their cultural heritage.


To Stephen and Rhonda 

My congratulations on the first edition of FirstNationsTelegraph! It is a superb read showing balance, thoughtfulness and sophistication and the stories are absolutely fantastic. Well done guys and I look forward to reading the next edition. These are the things that bring out community pride and I congratulate everyone involved.
Best regards,

Aden Ridgeway

Just wanted to say thanks brother Stephen, you have truly shown your committment to your people & lands. Thank-you for your generosity & assistance from you & your family. Hope you are up to doing Guest Speaker programs as we would love to have you share your story...
Much love & blessings

Yours in the Cause

Karen Coghill

Hi Stephan & Rhonda,

Congratulations to both of you my brother and sister.  What a beautiful but dynamic couple you are.  Both deadly talented and I must admit from Queensland (mind you). Rhonda and Stephen you never cease to amaze me with your ingenious, your brilliance, your determination and your commitment to continue to make the world take note of Aboriginal Australia. 

I wish you both every success.

Ann P Weldon

Go hard Stephen ... First Nations Telegraph is a great daily read ... a very necessary addition to the media landscape!

Derek Tipper

The new site looks great. The electronic media is the way to go.

It is a pleasure to be able to contribute to what looks like a good resource/vehicle for communicating and letting the people have their say.

Anthony Dillon


Congratulations to you and your lovely wife, what’s the old saying “behind every man is a good woman”!  You are a dynamic duo.  I wish you every success with your new venture.  It is great to receive up to date news about what’s happening around the country.

Pat Conlon

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