Pre Conference Activities

Women’s Yarning Circle – Being an Aboriginal Woman in 2019

Monday 23 September 2019 10am – 4pm

Facilitators Dr Miriam Rose Ungunmerr and Miliwanga Wurrben

The use of a yarning circle is an important process within Aboriginal culture and Torres Strait Islander culture. It has been used by Indigenous peoples from around the world for centuries to learn from a collective group, build respectful relationships, and to preserve and pass on cultural knowledge.

IAHA is pleased to offer to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Women attending the 2019 Conference to come and sit in the Circle with Cultural Leaders and Teachers, Dr Miriam Rose Ungunmerr Baumann OAM and Miliwanga Wurrben.

Life as an Aboriginal Woman in the Health Sector can be a demanding role.  This yarning circle will be a safe space for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander woman only to have a place to connect with – Self, each other, culture, country and learning & exploring about the practise of Dadirri.  The Yarning Circle will be a space where one can come and sit with other Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander woman and talk about managing the demands of life as an Aboriginal Health Professional (or student) and to learn ways to heal, connect with others, think about the roles, relationships and the importance of connection to  culture, country, and kinship.

  • This Yarning Circle is for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Women only
  • It will be a culturally safe space for Women
  • All Women will receive a smoking ceremony blessing prior to entering the Yarning Circle space

Learning Objectives:

  • Introduction and experiential learning opportunity to be immersed in a culturally safe and responsive space for Women to come together to talk about issues relevant to the lives of Women in 2019.
  • Dr Miriam Rose will introduce participants to the concept of Dadirri – Inner Deep Listening and Quiet Still Awareness. Exploring how this directly relates to the important of Self Care and impacts the way in which we listen to others.
  • Miliwanga Wurrben will share her cultural perspectives and knowledge on Ngalandakku – Universal Balance and share her experiences regarding traditional healing practises and her work as a cultural consultant in the health and medical industry.


Dr Miriam-Rose Ungunmerr (AO)

Dr Miriam-Rose Ungunmerr (AO) is an Aboriginal Elder from Nauiyu (Daly River), where she served for many years as the principal of the local Catholic primary school. She is a renowned artist, activist, writer and public speaker.

In 1975, Miriam became the Territory’s first fully qualified Aboriginal teacher, holding the position of Art Consultant with the Professional Services Branch of the Northern Territory Department of Education. During this time she visited schools throughout the Territory thus gaining the opportunity to advance her commitment to the inclusion of visual art as a part of every child’s education. In 1993 she became the Principal of St Francis Xavier School in Nauiyu. And in 2004 her abilities saw her appointed as a member of the Federal Government’s advisory body, the National Indigenous Council. Her achievements have been recognised in the awarding of an honorary PhD in Education and being made a Member of the Order of Australia in 1998.

In 1988, as part of the Australian Bicentenary Celebrations, Miriam presented a paper at a conference entitled Dadirri – Inner Deep Listening and Quiet Still Awareness. This beautifully concise explanation of the spiritual dimension of Aboriginal culture has since been utilised by people working in diverse settings and in private meditations all over the globe. Miriam has become a spokesperson for this important aspect of the Aboriginal worldview and is regularly invited to share her knowledge and experience of Dadirri with groups throughout Australia as well as internationally.

In 2013, Miriam established the Miriam Rose Foundation to continue her work advocating for experiences that allow Indigenous youth to learn to ‘walk in two worlds’ – Aboriginal culture and mainstream Western culture. The Foundation is also producing resources to help spread the message of Dadirri and creating opportunities for people to learn about it from community members in Nauiyu. This has led to the establishment of The Dadirri Cultural Connection Tours to Nauiyu – which include school groups, family groups and specialised groups who wish to deepen their knowledge of culture and how to connect from an Aboriginal perspective.

Miriam’s many contributions have greatly benefited both local Aboriginal and broader mainstream society in ways that are seeing true reconciliation worked out at the ground level. Miriam was awarded NT Mother of the Year in 2017 and more recently nominated for NT Australian of the Year.



Miliwanga Wurrben

Miliwanga Wurrben is a traditional Rembarrnga women from the Mirratja clan group, originally from the Central Arnhem region. Miliwanga lives in Katherine, Northern Territory. Her home is also Wugularr, her skin group is Galijan of the Duwa moity. Miliwanga comes from a family line of traditional healers and is an advocate for sharing the importance of traditional Indigenous healing modalities as well as working as a Traditional Cultural Education Consultant.

Miliwanga is a traditional artist, weaver, and healer. She has overcome adversity in her own life, coming from the remote regions of the Northern Territory. She stands now as a leader and Elder in her community and as an advocate for the rights of Indigenous People.

Miliwanga currently works as a Cultural Advisor and language interpreter, facilitating Cultural Awareness workshops with medical students and mainstream health providers, educating about traditional bush medicine and other traditional health therapies. Miliwanga also cofacilitates regular weekly Yarning Circles in Katherine in collaboration with Save the Children.  Miliwanga is the Chairperson for Banatjarl Strongbala Women Association and is on the board of Mimi Arts.

As is a gifted public speaker, Miliwanga is often asked to travel interstate and internationally to speak at diverse forums about the importance of strong cultural identity, spiritual well-being and true reconciliation as found through the core cultural values of Unity, Belongingship, Identity and Connection towards achieving Universal Balance, as said in her Rembarrnga language, Ngalandaku. Miliwanga has facilitated workshops with the Amnesty International and Oxfam Organisation relating to the United Nations Declarations for Indigenous Peoples of the World. Miliwanga often uses her art works to share the depth and wisdom of her ancient culture so as to bring about understanding and support for Indigenous People.

“It’s taken me many years to find the words and ways to give meaning to an intricate, complex culture. To be able to explain so that people understand the depth and uniqueness of Aboriginal Spirituality expressed through culture. So many times we talk about it and people would not really get the grip of what we are saying. I am hoping I may help.”


Mens Yarning Circle – ‘Being’ an Aboriginal man and Wellbeing worker

Monday 23 September 2019 10am – 4pm

The challenges of being an Aboriginal man in today’s world along with the stresses of undertaking complex wellbeing work can take its toll on us.  Sometimes leading us to forget our important responsibilities to self and other.  Guwaa-li (speaking) can assist us to get back on track and to be the best version of ourselves for that we are connected to.

Facilitators Clinton Shultz and Karl Briscoe


Clinton Schultz

Clinton Schultz is a Gamilaraay man and registered psychologist with a keen interest in holistic wellness, particularly the wellness of workers in health and community services. Clinton is in the process of submitting his PhD titled: Winanga-li-gu (Higher order listening), Guwaa-li-gu (higher order speaking), Maruma-li-gu (higher order healing) Factors of holistic wellbeing for members of the Aboriginal health and community workforce.  He is an Assistant Professor with Bond University Medical School, Director of Marumali Consultations and Owner of Sobah beverages.


Karl Briscoe

Karl Briscoe is a proud Kuku Yalanji man from Mossman – Daintree area of Far North Queensland and has worked for over 17 years in the health sector at various levels of government and non-government including local, state and national levels which has enabled him to form a vast strategic network across Australia.

Karl has taken up the position as the Chief Executive Officer of NATSIHWA to progress and represent the invested interests of Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander Health Workers and Health Practitioners.

Previous to NATSIHWA Karl was the Clinical Services Manager at the Galambila Aboriginal Health Service in Coffs Harbour. He has a vast array of experience at Senior Executive levels including previous positions as the Executive Director of Indigenous Health and Outreach Services in Cape York and Torres Strait Hospital and Health Service, which provided the skills and knowledge to coordinate strategic intent to address the health needs of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

Karl commenced his career in health when he completed an Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander Health Worker traineeship with Queensland Health in Mossman Community Health where he progressed to the Senior Health Worker role, Principal Policy along with Partnership Management positions.  He completed the Primary Health Care training up to the Advanced Diploma and then went on to complete a Masters of Public Health, Graduate Certificate in Public Sector Management, Diploma in Practice Management and more recently completed the MURRA Indigenous Business Master Class Program.

Karl’s vision for his people is to see dramatic improvement in the premature mortality rates of our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, not only in communities but the entire nation, ensuring the life expectancy rates of our people are equivalent or better than that of non-Indigenous Australians.

There is no cost to attend these workshops but registration is essential to secure you place, to register please email Amanda Johnstone –

Pre-Conference Workshop – Leading Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Curriculum

Monday 23 September 2019 1pm – 5pm

Cost $150

The Griffith University’s First Peoples Health Unit was established in August 2015.  Since its inception the team has designed, implemented and evaluated numerous First Peoples Health curriculum innovations all aligned with the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Curriculum Framework. These include discrete courses, integrated curriculum, Interprofessional and Simulation-Based Learning modules, E-Learning Innovation and a Massive Online Open Course (MOOC).  This workshop will share findings from the evaluations of these innovations including non-Indigenous student and staff perspectives and Indigenous student perspectives.  It will further share lessons learnt in this four-year journey.

Learning Outcomes

  • Increase knowledge and understanding of the enablers and disablers of designing and implementing The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Curriculum Framework (The Framework) across health professional programs.
  • Develop strategies for program and faculty wide approaches to implementation of The Framework; and
  • Design professional development strategies for Academics implementing The Framework.

Facilitator Professor Roianne West RN, MNurs(MntlHlth), PhD

Title and Current Appointments

  • Director of the First Peoples Health Unit Griffith University, QLD
  • Foundation Professor of First Peoples Health Griffith University, QLD

Prof. Roianne West is a Kalkadoon and Djaku-nde woman born and raised in North West Queensland. Roianne has more than 25 years’ experience in Aboriginal health, education and research where she commenced as an Aboriginal Health Worker.

Professor West’s research aims to the inform the development of culturally safe university health faculties and culturally safe health systems through innovations in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health and cultural safety education and training in accordance with Indigenist Research.

To register and pay for this workshop please email Amanda Johnstone –


Cultural Tour – Pudakul Aboriginal Tours & Spectacular Jumping Crocodile Cruise

Monday 23rd September 2019 – 9am to 4pm

Cost $180 – Limited places

Pick up – 9.00pm – Darwin City

Travel to Pudakul Aboriginal Cultural Tours (Approximately 50-minute drive to Pudakul along the Arnhem Highway) out to the Outer Darwin Wetland Region

Arrive Pudakul 10:15am

Welcome to country (5 minutes) -talk on the dreamtime story and local creation story

Traditional welcome to country (head watering) all participants will be asked if they would like to participate (water will be put on the participant’s head either by the guides mouth – this is traditionally sprayed on or by tapping a small amount of water on the top of their head (Limilngan-Wulna traditional way). (5 minutes). Depending on group size, participants will could be split into (up to three) groups. Groups taken up the bush tucker walk and talk (one after the other) – (5-10 minutes). They will learn about the local plant usage such as medicinal, bush tucker or natural resource. Group one will go to the spear throwing area and group two will go to the basket weaving and dilly bag making hut. There is a 3rd activity arena so depending on group size they will be rotated between them including the didgeridoo and clap stick hut and ochre colour. Groups will be rotated throughout the engagement tour and will spend approximately 25 minutes at each activity and this will allow a minute to stop and rotate the groups.

Billy Tea and Damper – served at 12pm

A selection of hot and cold beverages will be served to guest of which is tea/coffee/orange juice/ apple juice and iced water. Damper (bush bread) will be served with toppings such as Jam, golden syrup, honey, vegemite and marmalade jam. Lavish selection of vegetarian and meat lovers’ rolls will be served along with a selection of mineral and diet drinks.

Depart Pudakul for Jumping Croc Tour – 12.30pm arriving Jumping Croc tour at 1.00pm for a 1-hour boat cruise on the Adelaide River.  Travel approximately 10 Kilometres to Spectacular Jumping Crocodile Cruises to board the vessel to watch crocodiles leaping from the river to get meat and a bird of prey show on the river. Concluding the cruise at 2pm.

Thank you and Farewell

Depart 2.20pm

Arrive Darwin at approximately 4.00pm

We Provide You Bring
Boarding passes Walking shoes
Refreshments Refillable water bottle
Snacks Sunscreen
Transportation Camera
Iced water Hat

There are limited places for this tour, places won’t be secured until payment has been received.  To register and pay for this tour please email Amanda Johnstone –