In Memory of Beloved Lilla Traditional Owner Kumanjayi Williams

21 July 2024

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander readers are advised that the following article contains images and the name of a person who has died.  On Thursday the 4th of July, Traditional Owner and beloved friend of the Watarrka Foundation Vera Williams passed away peacefully in her sleep. She passed on her Country at Lilla, surrounded by her family, friends and her two dogs. Out of respect, we will refer to Vera as Kumanjayi Williams. Kumanjayi is a cultural word which is used in place of the name of those who have passed...

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Learning Made Fun: The 2024 Lilla Sports & Storytelling Festival

25 June 2024

From the 12th to the 14th of June, students from remote schools surrounding the Watarrka Region came together at Lilla, an outstation in the Watarrka National Park, for the 2024 Lilla Sports & Storytelling Festival. This years’ festival was filled with exciting activities for the students, with plenty of sports, drama, art, and cultural activities.Other fun activities included:A cooking class led by the Chef at Kings Canyon Resort;A visit to the Kings Canyon Resort Light-Towers display; A tour with Karrke Aboriginal Cultural Tours;Cultural walk at Lilla and Kings Canyon;A star talk...

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EOFY, Reconciliation Week & More!

26 May 2024

There's lots happening in the coming weeks! End of financial year is fast approaching, the Watarrka Foundation is gearing up for the 2024 Sports & Storytelling Festival, which will be held at Lilla from the 12th to the 14th of June, and National Reconciliation Week kicks off on the 27th of May; the theme this year is Now More Than Ever.  End of Financial Year and the 2024 Sports & Storytelling FestivalThis end of financial year, consider making a donation to the Watarrka Foundation. We are a registered Deductible Gift...

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Books to Read this Autumn by Aboriginal Authors

23 April 2024

One of the easiest ways all Australians can support Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, communities and cultures is to engage with First Nation's art. This can include purchasing Indigenous fine art and craft wares, enjoying music by Indigenous musicians, and reading Indigenous-authored books.In this spirit of support, we would like to acknowledge a long-time friend of the Watarrka Foundation, the Alpitye Art Studio, located in Alice Springs. We extended our gratitude to the studio for their ongoing support of the Foundation's fundraising initiatives, so thank you Alpitye Art studio!...

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#Inspire Inclusion: Celebrating International Women's Day

25 March 2024

On the 8th of March, the world celebrated International Women's Day, a holiday which recognises women's achievements and spotlights gender equality. The theme for this year's celebration was #inspireinclusion, with a focus on promoting diversity in leadership and decision-making positions. Women, especially those belonging to underrepresented groups, continue to face barriers when seeking leadership roles. By championing inclusion, organizations and communities can harness the full potential of diverse perspectives, leading to better decision-making and innovation. - International Women's DayIn light of this year's theme, the Watarrka Foundation would like to acknowledge some...

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On Caring for Country with Watarrka Ranger Doug Taylor

26 February 2024

 This month, the Watarrka Foundation had a chat with our friend Doug Taylor on the importance of caring for Country and life as a Ranger in the Watarrka National Park. The Watarrka National Park encompasses roughly 1000 square kilometres of protected land about 4 hours drive South West from Alice Springs. It includes the western end of the Georges Gill Range and is home to a diverse range of plants and wildlife due to its varied, scenic landscape, made up of rugged sandstone ranges, moist gorges and rock holes. The Traditional Owners...

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In Review: 2023 at the Watarrka Foundation

9 January 2024

With 2023 officially behind us, the Watarrka Foundation would like to take a moment to reflect on the year past and to extend our gratitude to all our subscribers, donors, partners and broader community for your continued support.In 2023, the Watarrka Foundation facilitated projects which made real, tangible differences to the lives of communities in the Watarrka Region. The roll-out of satellite internet for the outstations of the region through the Starlink project brought connectivity to Watarrka, and the return of the much-anticipated Sports & Storytelling Festival brought joy and...

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Reflecting on the 2023 Lilla Sports & Storytelling Festival

26 November 2023

Like most city-dwellers, I spend an awful lot of time sitting at my computer. So, when I found myself on a bus surrounded by the red sandy expanse of Central Australia headed to Lilla for the 2023 Sports & Storytelling Festival, I felt a little out of my depth. I had no idea what to expect.My name is Aimee and I write for the Watarrka Foundation. I was lucky enough to get the opportunity to go out to Lilla, an outstation in the Watarrka National Park, for the annual Sports...

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The 2023 Lilla Sports & Storytelling Festival: A great success!

23 October 2023

We just got home from the 2023 Lilla Sports & Storytelling Festival and it was a tremendous success! On Wednesday 11 October, 40 students arrived at Lilla from Papunya and Areyonga School for the 3-day jam-packed festival.We played plenty of soccer, danced and giggled our way through drama activities with Poetry in Action, learnt some new footy skills with NT AFL, went on a very special cultural walk around Lilla, and made some lifelong friends along the way; all the while learning that 'It's cool to go to school!'Children and...

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What is the Indigenous School Attendance Gap and why does it matter?

25 September 2023

Raising school attendance rates for students in the Watarrka Region is a key goal of the Watarrka Foundation. Many of our projects target this goal by either providing the resources to help children attend school, like our Starlink Project, which enables students at remote outstations to access remote learning through School of Air, or by creating initiatives which help children get excited about attending school, like our upcoming Sports & Storytelling Festival. In light of Indigenous Literacy Day which was on September 6, and the upcoming World Teacher's Day on...

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The 2023 Upcoming Lilla Sports & Storytelling Festival

21 August 2023

This October, the Watarrka Foundation is hosting the 8th iteration of the annual Lilla Sports and Storytelling Festival. It will be the first since the start of the Covid pandemic, and we are so excited to renew the Festival in 2023 for the children of the Watarrka Region!The Lilla Sports and Storytelling Festival brings together Aboriginal primary school aged students from throughout the Watarrka region near Kings Canyon in Central Australia for a three-day immersive educational, physical, and above all, fun experience. We have hosted the Lilla Festival since 2013 with...

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For Our Elders: Reflecting on NAIDOC 2023

23 July 2023

NAIDOC Week celebrations are held across Australia every year in the first week of July to celebrate and recognise the history, culture and achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. NAIDOC stands for 'National Aboriginal and Islanders Day Observance Committee', and has its roots in Aboriginal rights groups formed in the 1920s who protested against the oppressive treatment of Indigenous Australians each year on January 26. It was originally a Day of Mourning, which then became a week-long celebration of Indigenous culture in 1975. Each year, NAIDOC Week is centred around...

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Call Out for Donations this EOFY

20 June 2023

Help us raise the much needed funds to bring internet access to the remote communities of the Watarrka region! This end of financial year, we are calling for donations to support our Starlink satellite internet project. The Watarrka Foundation is a registered charity, so all donations are tax deductible and we will provide you with a full tax receipt. The Watarrka Foundation considers good internet connectivity a basic right, that's why we are working to bring fast, secure and accessible internet to all communities in the Watarrka region by installing Starlink...

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Be a Voice for Generations: National Reconciliation Week 2023

24 May 2023

National Reconciliation Week is the annual commemoration of two significant milestones in First Nations reconciliation history. Occuring between 27 May and 3 June, it marks the 1976 Referendum and the High Court Mabo decision respectively. The national event, which first began in 1993, is an opportunity for Australians to learn how they can help build stronger communities that value First Nations peoples, histories, cultures and futures. National Sorry DayPreceding National Reconciliation Week is National Sorry Day, which has been recognised annually on May 26 since 1998, a year after the first...

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Book Review: Sand Talk by Tyson Yunkaporta

24 April 2023

This April, as the weather cooled and the days grew shorter, the Watarrka Foundation settled in with the critically acclaimed book Sand Talk: How Indigenous Thinking Can Save the World by Tyson Yunkaporta, published in 2019 by Text Publishing in Melbourne. There are a wealth of First Nations’ writers who are publishing books that span fiction, non-fiction, poetry, and everything in between. Reading the work of these authors and engaging with their ideas is one of the ways that we can listen to and support First Nations’ voices and communities. Yunkaporta is...

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Connecting Country: Rotary Club of Moorabbin Funds Internet for Lilla

26 March 2023

We are excited to announce that earlier this month, a satellite-based internet connection called Starlink was installed at the Lilla outstation in the Watarrka National Park thanks to the fundraising efforts of the Rotary Club of Moorabbin, long-time friends and donors of the Watarrka Foundation. What is Starlink?Starlink is a satellite internet service operated by SpaceX, an American spacecraft and satellite communications corporation founded by the world's second richest man, Elon Musk. Starlink consists of a constellation of low-orbiting, small satellites which communicate with ground transceivers to transmit an internet connection to...

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Understanding the Indigenous Voice to Parliament

19 February 2023

  When Anthony Albanese first spoke to the Australian public after winning the 2022 federal election, he said:  On behalf of the Australian Labor Party, I commit to the Uluru Statement from the Heart in full. The Uluru Statement is a 2017 petition by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander leaders which calls for “legal and structural reforms to reshape the relationship between First Nations Peoples and the Australian population.” The Statement proposes several reforms, the first of those being a First Nations Voice to Parliament. For the Voice to Parliament to be...

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The School Funding Model Failing First Nations Students in the NT

17 December 2022

The Northern Territory’s school system faces the most challenging geographical and socio-economic circumstances in Australia. At current, almost 70% of the Territory’s schools are locate in remote or very remote regions, with 27% of those having fewer than 50 students enrolled. In addition to the physical and socio-economic challenges, the current ‘Effective Enrolment’ funding model has placed undue pressure on remote schools already at risk, significantly impacting the educational outcomes of First Nations students.What is the Effective Enrolment model?The Effective Enrolment model allocates funding based primarily on attendance rather than...

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Alpitye Art Studio: Illuminating Cultural Traditions, Personal Stories and Connections to Country

29 October 2022

This month the Watarrka Foundation are placing a spotlight on one of our oldest and dearest donors, Alpitye Art Studio. They are an independent working studio located in Alice Springs that specialises in dealing with both traditional and contemporary Aboriginal Artworks from the central, eastern and western desert regions of Central Australia. The Watarrka Foundation has had the privilege of gaining ongoing support from the studio’s co-owners Jenny and Phillipa over the past 10 years. This month we interviewed Phillipa about the studio’s humble beginnings, their ongoing work with community...

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Get Up! Stand Up! Show Up!

7 July 2022

This week the Watarrka Foundation recognises and celebrates NAIDOC Week 2022. NAIDOC, which stands for National Aborigines and Islanders Day Observance Committee, is held in the first week of July every year. The week honours and acknowledges the history, culture and achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. It also provides an opportunity for all Australians to learn about First Nations cultures and histories and participate in celebrations of the oldest, continuous living cultures on earth.Get Up! Stand Up! Show Up!This year’s theme ‘Get Up! Stand Up! Show Up!’...

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Be Brave. Make Change.

2 June 2022

National Reconciliation Week – recognised from 27 May to 3 June – is a time for all Australians to learn about our shared histories, cultures, and achievements, and to explore how each of us can contribute to achieving reconciliation in Australia. The dates for NRW remain the same each year; 27 May to 3 June. These dates commemorate two significant milestones in the reconciliation journey— the successful 1967 referendum, and the High Court Mabo decision respectively.Be Brave. Make Change.The National Reconciliation Week 2022 theme, “Be Brave. Make Change.” is a...

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Call Out For Teachers At Papunya School

25 May 2022

Papunya School, located in the red centre of Northern Territory, is urgently seeking new teaching staff. The call out comes at a critical time in Australia’s education history, with teacher shortages reported across the nation. Christine Munro, Papunya Schools’ recently appointed principal, placed the call out for teachers looking to make a difference in remote Indigenous education. Located in one of the most culturally rich regions of Australia, Papunya School offers prospective teaching staff a plethora of opportunities for career growth and development. The Watarrka Foundation’s support of Papunya School stems...

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Country: A Sense of Place

22 May 2022

The term ‘Country’ in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures is distinctly different to non-Indigenous perceptions of the word. ‘Country’ is often used by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to describe family origins and associations with particular parts of Australia. More specifically, it refers to cultural connections with the land, including its people, culture and nature. These cultures believe that these components of life are indisputably linked and differ from individual to individual, depending on associations passed down through family and community. Furthermore, ‘Country’ embraces the stories of ancestors...

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Book Your Next School Experience with Remote Tours NT

30 April 2022

Remote Tours NT is an educationally based, culturally aware tour company with a strong emphasis on interaction with Aboriginal people and culture. Founder and Director Richard “Reg” Ramsden established the company with the aim of providing interactive cultural experiences for school groups in Australia. These authentic and immersive tours are ultimately designed to close the gap that exists between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians. This is a result of Reg’s observation that many students in our country have a mistaken perception of Aboriginal people, often perpetuated by inexperience and the media....

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Our Thriving Neighbouring Community of Areyonga

21 March 2022

Areyonga (pronounced arr-ee-yon-ga) is a small town located 132 km east of Watarrka National Park. Also referred to as Utju, this town is home to a thriving community of 235 people, with almost 90% of this population identifying as Indigenous. Residents of Areyonga predominantly speak Pitjantjatjara, having originally come from the Petermann Ranges in the 1920s. Areyonga is also home to some Arrernte and Walpiri families.History of the Areyonga CommunityLocated in a picturesque valley of a magnificent gorge, this town is famed for its abundant flora and fauna and flourishing...

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Watarrka Primary School Temporary Closure Update

7 February 2022

The Watarrka Foundation Board has very recently been informed that the Northern Territory Department of Education has, with effect from the start of the 2022 academic year, temporarily closed the Watarrka Primary School at Lilla for a period of 12 months.The Foundation understands that this temporary closure is part of a number of temporary closures of rural and remote schools in the NT in response to the consequences of Covid, a shortage of teachers and the general movement of local communities and their children from remote areas to urban areas,...

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Protect Your Mob and Stop the Spread

11 January 2022

Over the past few weeks, the Northern Territory has experienced a significant rise in COVID-19 case numbers. Driven by the recent lifting of restrictions and opening of the border to vaccinated travelers, the Northern Territory now finds itself in a precarious position moving forward. Despite travellers being banned from entering remote communities, the opening of the borders and movement of people has significantly increased the risk of the virus entering remote Indigenous communities including Watarrka.As case numbers continue to rise, the Watarrka Foundation felt it important to revisit some simple...

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5 Christmas Gift Ideas That Support Indigenous Australians

7 December 2021

With Christmas just weeks away, the Watarrka team would this year like to encourage our followers and community to purchase gifts from organisations which support Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and communities. Through the power of technology and social media, never has there been an easier time to support these businesses who now operate in all areas from hospitality to arts, trades, education, fashion and tourism. Through purchases and donations made, not only will you invest in the future of First Nations Communities, you wil also help to drive...

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Children’s Book Author Generously Donates to the Watarrka Foundation

9 November 2021

The Watarrka Foundation is honoured and grateful for a generous donation pledge by Norway based children’s book author and journalist, Jan Lillefjære. Jan is kindly donating all proceeds from the sale of a series of five children’s books and related merchandise. The series of books have also been dedicated to the children of Watarrka. The first book was published this month by Emsa Publishing and is titled Åse and the Honeybees.Jan’s generosity extends from his deep desire to support causes that he admires and believes in. Building links between the...

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Building Forward Together

14 October 2021

Yesterday the Watarrka Foundation recognised the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty. This year’s theme “Building Forward Together: Ending Persistent Poverty, Respecting all People and our Planet" focuses on the impacts COVID-19 has had on poorer communities across the globe. The theme reflects the needs of our time, with the events of the past few months highlighting the importance of cohesion, communication and working together towards a common cause.As stated by the UN: The impact of COVID-19 has been the hardest on the people who – for generations –...

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Songlines - A Living Narrative

14 September 2021

Sometimes referred to as a ‘dreaming track’, a songline describes a non-linear path across the land or sky marking a route followed closely by ancestors or creator-beings in the Dreaming. Songlines trace astronomical and geographical elements in ancient stories as a means of charting Country. As such, a person can navigate the land by repeating a song, which describes the location of landmarks, waterholes, and other natural phenomena. Australia’s landscape contains an extensive system of songlines, sometimes traversing hundreds of kilometers. Although the name implies that songlines are purely musical...

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The Importance of the COVID-19 Vaccine for First Nation Peoples

9 August 2021

With the impacts of COVID-19 being felt across the country, the Watarrka Foundation are this month highlighting the importance of the COVID-19 vaccine for protecting our First Nations communities. As currently experienced by those who call Sydney home, the new Delta variant poses a serious threat to the health and wellbeing of the community. This threat is of particular concern to First Nations people in the Sydney metropolitan area, as well as regional Indigenous communities due to virus overflow from city regions. As stated by NSW Health: “Aboriginal and Torres...

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NAIDOC Week: Heal Country

5 July 2021

NAIDOC Week is a time to reflect and celebrate the history, culture and achievements of our First Nation Peoples, recognising them as the Traditional Custodians of this land. NAIDOC is celebrated not only in Indigenous communities, but by Australians from all walks of life. Celebrated from Sunday 4 July to Sunday 11 July, the theme for NAIDOC 2021 is Heal Country! As stated by the National NAIDOC Week Committee: “Heal Country! calls for us all to continue to seek greater protections for our lands, our waters, our sacred sites and...

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Healthy House For The Local Community

22 June 2021

Located in Lila close to the Watarrka school are four large homes which often house multiple families, giving their children easy access to education and the adults easy access to the local amenities.  One of these houses is the Williams house, owned by Vera Williams a Traditional Owner of the land. Vera generously donated her house to be accommodation for local families who needed a living space in a central location. Consistent Maintenance For Healthy Living Conditions The Foundation originally organised for these family homes to be cleaned and painted...

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Reconciliation Week 2021 - How We're Taking Action

27 May 2021

This week is National Reconciliation Week, an opportunity for all Australian’s to become familiar with our shared histories and to contribute to Reconciliation amongst all Australian cultures. 2021 marks 20 years since the creation of Reconciliation Australia, and this year’s theme is “More than a word, Reconciliation takes action.” Reconciliation week is held between the 27th of May and the 3rd of June each year, which marks two big milestones in the progress of Reconciliation within Australia; the successful referendum of 1967, and the high court Mabo decision of 1992....

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Educating Our Children On Aboriginal Language, Culture And History

21 April 2021

With a focus on young people, the Watarrka Foundation dedicates it’s time to developing programs and community events that educate the next generation about many facets of life, including the study of Aboriginal culture. The work we do in this arena stems from a deep passion for the community of the Watarrka region and a desire to see their legacy last. One of our many missions is helping children build a sense of pride for their heritage and understand their rich history in a way that is engaging and authentic....

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Study Hard and Have Fun!” – An Interview with Watarrka Student, Vivian

25 March 2021

This month we’ve interviewed one of the students at the Watarrka School to understand firsthand their experience with education and the projects the Watarrka Foundation has brought to life.  Vivian is 14, and has been at Lilla since she was a baby. She has been raised by her Grandparents Vera and Bruce, and attends the Watarrka School with her friends and family members.  Vivian is one of our students who has had a direct benefit from the opening of the second classroom, which has allowed her to continue her education...

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Acknowledgment and Welcome To Country - Their Meanings, Traditions and Importance

11 February 2021

To ‘acknowledge’ means to recognise the importance or quality of something. This concept and its application in Australia has been imperative to the slow repair of disparities that exists between First Nations People and non-Indigenous Australians. By acknowledging Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and in turn, giving them the opportunity to welcome us to Country, we promote an awareness of the history and culture of Indigenous people, as well as contribute to mending a long history of dispossession and colonisation. Further to this, by incorporating welcoming and acknowledgment into...

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Winners of the NT Sports In Community Award

25 January 2021

On the 16th of December 2020, the Watarrka Foundation was honoured to accept the Sports in Community Award at the first annual NT Community Achievement awards ceremony, held in Darwin. The awards which launched in the Northern Territory in 2020 aim to recognise individuals and organisations who are making a difference within the Territory’s Community. Their goal is to provide a public opportunity to recognise all the efforts and impacts made by these individuals and organisations, and to raise awareness of the great work they are doing.  The Sports in...

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Thank you for your support through 2020

11 December 2020

2020 has been a year marked by unpredictability and change. Despite the unusual circumstances in which we all found ourselves, the Watarrka Foundation continued to deliver important programs and initiatives for our community. We wouldn’t have been able to achieve such a fantastic outcome without the ongoing support of our partners, donors and community of volunteers, so thank you to everyone who has helped us this year. 2020 Projects Completed: Feed the Watarrka Community  As the threat of the pandemic spread throughout Australia in February, the Northern Territory tourism industry...

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Always Was, Always Will Be

8 November 2020

NAIDOC Week is a celebration of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and an acknowledgment of their history, culture and achievements. Historically celebrated in July from the 5th - 12th, this year the weeklong celebrations were postponed to the 8th - 15th of November. This decision was made in the interest of safety for communities due to the COVID 19 pandemic of 2020.   NAIDOC Week 2020 This year’s theme ‘Always Was, Always Will Be’ acknowledges the hundreds of nations and cultures that covered this land. It recognises and celebrates...

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The Role of Family & Kinship in Aboriginal Culture

13 October 2020

The notion of family in Aboriginal culture is closely tied to themes of connectedness and kinship. In this setting, family structures are pivotal to identity formation, understanding one’s own spiritual and cultural belonging, and assists in establishing strong links with community. Ultimately, family and kinship are a cohesive forced that bind Aboriginal people together. With over 500 Indigenous nations across Australia, there exists a vast array of Aboriginal communities. These nations are often made up of clan groups, and within these clan groups are family groups that often share a...

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Immersive Education in Watarrka

29 September 2020

We believe the most powerful tool for change is education. For the Indigenous youth who call Watarrka home, education provides equal opportunities, an understanding of how to lead a healthy lifestyle and skills in independence. For non Indigenous Australians, education can foster deeper respect for Indigenous cultures and a better understanding of the challenges faced by these communities everyday.  Inspired by the power of education, our Founder and Director Richard “Reg” Ramsden established Remote Educational Tours. Remote Tours is an educationally based, culturally aware tour company that has a strong...

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Understanding the new Closing the Gap Agreement

20 August 2020

Last month a new National Agreement on Closing the Gap was released. This came after a historic shift towards joint decision making between the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Community and the Australian Government. Developed through direct involvement and negotiation with the Indigenous community, the Agreement aims to substantially improve the life outcomes of our First Nations people. This move follows years of failure to meet many of the targets set out by Closing the Gap report of 2008. As stated by the Minister for Indigenous Australians, the Hon Ken...

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Reflecting on the International Day of the World's Indigenous People

10 August 2020

The International Day of the World’s Indigenous People aims to increase awareness about the protection and promotion of the rights of all Indigenous peoples. The date marks the first meeting of the UN Working Group on Indigenous Populations in 1982. On 23rd December 1994, it was decided that the International Day of the World’s Indigenous People would be observed on 9th August every year. According to UNESCO, Indigenous people live in all regions of the world and own, occupy or use some 22% of the global land area. Numbering to...

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Thank you to our donor: CareerTrackers

28 July 2020

With ‘Students at the Core’ as their underpinning philosophy, CareerTrackers have made wonderful contributions to the tertiary education outcomes of Australia’s young Indigenous adults. In their work supporting students through their university studies and correlating professional development, this decade old non-profit has built a strong community of CareerTrackers interns and Alumni. CareerTrackers was established in 2009 with the goal of creating pathways and support systems for young Indigenous adults to attend and graduate from university with high marks and valuable industry experience through paid, multi-year internships. This goal has been...

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Indigenous Stories with Indigenous Voices

6 July 2020

Storytelling has always been an essential part of Indigenous culture. It is a powerful means of passing on knowledge, history and philosophies to new generations. It invites conversation, questioning and moral inquiry. It challenges our perception of the world and its many complexities, helps us heal from the traumas of the past and weaves a deep connection with community. Ultimately, it influences how we care for others and for country. In recent months, storytelling has taken centre stage as the world turned its attention to  the injustice’s experiences by people...

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The Tradition of Aboriginal Music

25 June 2020

Indigenous music refers to music owned, composed and/or performed by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. It includes musical styles originating before European settlement, and musical styles which have been taken up by Indigenous musicians since. Music plays an important social and spiritual role in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and is closely linked with dance, ceremony and storytelling. In this article we will be focusing on a broader understanding of traditional Aboriginal music which, like the 250 or more languages of their culture, varies in different parts of...

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Thank you to our donor: The Source Bulk Foods

22 June 2020

Founded on the principles of strong community connections, good health and sustainability, The Source Bulk Foods has made a meaningful impact on community wellbeing and environmental awareness in Australia and abroad. Established in 2012 in the quiet town of Mullumbimby, the zero-waste supermarket has since grown into a highly successful organisation whose stores can now be found in NZ, UK, Ireland, Singapore and Canada. Their success is a shared one as they generously invest many of their resources back into local communities, educational initiatives and philanthropic organisations. Most notably, The...

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27 May 2020

Celebrated from May 27th to June 3rd, National Reconciliation Week is a time for Australians to come together and learn about our shared histories, cultures and achievements. During this week, Australians of all ages, cultures and beliefs are encouraged to reflect on how they can contribute to achieving reconciliation. The concept of reconciliation in Australia was formed on five critical dimensions; race relations, equality and equity, unity, institutional integrity and historical acceptance. As stated by Reconciliation Australia: "Reconciliation is a journey for all Australians – as individuals, families, communities, organisations...

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Update: COVID-19 and Feed the Watarrka Community

13 May 2020

Through nation-wide social distancing measures and the implementation of strict biosecurity areas in remote regions, Australia has successfully flattened the curve in its fight against Coronavirus. The Watarrka Foundation is pleased to report that the Watarrka region has had no confirmed cases of COVID-19. We believe that the Feed the Watarrka Community Program played a significant role in this pleasing result. The program removed the need for locals to travel for supplies, which significantly reduced the risk of locals unknowingly bringing the virus back from town. Despite this positive outcome,...

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In Conversation: Justin Burrill from Feed the Watarrka Community

29 April 2020

Implementing the ‘Feed the Watarrka Community Program’ has been our way of taking action to prevent COVID-19 from reaching the vulnerable communities of Watarrka. The program, which supports approximately 60 adults and children from the Wanmarra, Lilla and Ulpanyali communities, would not have been possible without the generosity and support of those in the community. The Feed the Watarrka Community program is particularly grateful to local tour guide Justin Burrill. After being released from a canceled tour, when travel restrictions were imposed on the Northern Territory, Justin was quick to...

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The Importance of Protecting our Community from COVID-19

17 April 2020

With the impacts of COVID-19 being felt across the country, the Watarrka Foundation has taken significant steps to stop the spread of the virus to our community. It is known that everyone is at risk of contracting the virus, however Indigenous communities are at greater risk due to a variety of health and lifestyle factors. These include higher rates of pre-existing health issues including diabetes and heart disease, limited access to health care services, a requirement to travel for supplies and a reliance on outreach services. Our mission to protect...

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Our Emergency Response to Preventing COVID-19 in the Watarrka Community

25 March 2020

As the threat of the pandemic spreads throughout Australia, the Northern Territory tourism industry has come to a standstill. Travel restrictions to and from remote communities have been imposed in the Northern Territory, South Australia and WA, and the Torres Strait Islands have ceased issuing new permits for visitors. While practising adequate hygiene and social distancing is important, isolating vulnerable communities is a necessary preventative measure to avoid the spread of COVID-19. Research suggests that up to 50 per cent of the Indigenous population are living with at least one...

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Aboriginal Fire Management: What is Cool Burning?

16 March 2020

For thousands of years Aboriginals have been using fire to hunt animals, maintain ecosystems and manage the land. In a practice called Cool Burning, often referred to as Cultural Burning, small blazes are set alight to clear the underbrush. This process generates patchy habitats preferred by small animals and prevents lightning and wildfires from consuming the land. Unfortunately, with centuries of Euro-Australian suppression of Aboriginal people, the practice of Cool Burning has diminished. Early settlers viewed fire as a threat and were unable to perceive of Cool Burning as a...

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Generous support from Andy Fell at #whatwinnersdo

24 February 2020

For many years the Watarrka Foundation has had the privilege of gaining ongoing support from motivational speaker, coach and educator Andy Fell. Andy generously donates 20% of net profits from his #whatwinnersdo personal development events to the Watarrka Foundation. His generosity is exemplary of the invaluable community support that surrounds the Foundation and assists us in delivering key projects to the Watarrka Community. Who is Andy Fell? Andy Fell is an inspirational and dynamic speaker, executive leadership coach and facilitator whose purpose is to help people strive to reach their...

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12th Anniversary of the national apology

12 February 2020

This year marks the 12th anniversary of the national apology to the Stolen Generations made on the 13th of February 2008, by our then Prime Minister Kevin Rudd. A formal apology was made regarding past wrongdoings, on behalf of the Government, to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples which demonstrated a new commitment to Indigenous affairs. The apology was a historical landmark for Australia’s First Nations Peoples, particularly to  those of the Stolen Generation, whose lives were devastated by government policies of forced child removal and Aboriginal assimilation. The apology...

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Dark Emu Book Review

30 January 2020

Dark Emu, first published in 2014, examines journal entries written by early colonial settlers in Australia to explore different engineering, agriculture and building practices that were employed by the Indigenous Australian population. The book highlights the existence of community structures and innovation which challenge traditional notions of the hunter-gather lifestyle that most Australians would associate with First Nation Peoples. Dark Emu has won a plethora of awards including two NSW Premier's Literary Awards (Book of the Year and the Indigenous Writers' Prize) and has inspired various projects in art and...

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Uluru - A Sacred Aboriginal Site

15 January 2020

As one of the world's largest rock formations, Uluru has gained attention from tourists globally who travel far and wide to see this amazing landmark in Australia's red centre. Scientists believe Uluru has been around for 500 million years, making it one of the oldest rock formations in the world. As a comparison, the Himalayas are believed to be 30 million years old and the Grand Canyon 70 million years old. Uluru is a place of great cultural and spiritual significance for Indigenous Australians. Located in the southwest region of...

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Thanks For A Big Year Of Support!

18 December 2019

2019 has been another big year for the Watarrka Foundation, with a range of projects being completed in the community and the new school classroom officially opened! We wouldn’t have been able to achieve such fantastic results without the ongoing support of our donors and community of volunteers, so thank you to everyone who has helped us throughout the year.  2019 Projects Completed: Official opening of the second school classroom: After months of fundraising and organisation, we were excited to celebrate the opening of the secondary classroom at Watarrka Primary...

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2019 Melbourne Trip!

17 December 2019

In November 2019, 5 older students from the Watarrka School had their first excursion to Melbourne on a two week tour. For these 5 children, it was the first time they’d been on a plane and the first time they’d left the Northern Territory. The students, as well as Watarrka School Teachers Christine Munro and Rayleen Limbiari were generously hosted by Mentone Grammar and Braemar College during their time in Melbourne. These two schools have been ongoing supporters of the Foundation and regularly complete trips with their own students up to...

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What A Difference A Little Cool Air Makes!

9 December 2019

Temperatures in the Northern Territory are among the highest in Australia, especially in summer. This can pose a few challenges when considering attendance rates and education plans for young children in a hot and dry climate. After completing our second classroom build last year, making classrooms at the Watarrka School comfortable and functional has been a big focus for the Foundation, and staff members at the school. The air con project has been on the cards for a while now, and thanks to the help of a few generous donors...

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Celebrating World Children's Day!

20 November 2019

Now in it’s 65th year, World Children’s Day, organised by the United Nations is a day to raise awareness on children’s welfare around the world, and promote international togetherness. At the Watarrka Foundation, this celebration is very close to our hearts and aligns directly with the objectives of the Foundation, and how we approach supporting the children of Watarrka. The History of World Children's Day First established in 1954, this annual celebration was started as a way to ensure children of all countries have access to basic human rights, including...

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The New Watarrka School Basketball Court!

23 October 2019

We’re excited to announce that after the hard work and organisation of a range of dedicated individuals, the Watarrka School now has a newly paved basketball court which the children are enjoying on a daily basis. Basketball Court Upgrade The original Watarrka School basketball court consisted of a small uneven paved area, surrounded by dirt between the two hoops, which made it hard for the children to play due to the uneven surface. Christine Munro, Teacher at the Watarrka School saw the children playing on the court and how often...

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International Day of Rural Women 2019

15 October 2019

Today we celebrate the International Day of Rural Women, and recognise the amazing impact and contribution women in rural areas and Indigenous communities make. This celebration, organised by the United Nations aims to eradicate the common poverty faced by women and girls in regional communities, and recognise the large contribution they make in feeding, supporting and nurturing these communities. It is also a day to celebrate the amazing impact these women have on the lives of children, elders, and other community members.  "The crucial role that women and girls play...

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Support from Berwick College, Melbourne

27 September 2019

As a long term supporter of the Watarrka Foundation, Berwick College in Victoria have recently held their annual “Watarrka Week”, raising close to $2,000 for the Foundation across a range of student-led events. The relationship began in 2015, when members of the Berwick College Flynn Learning Team heard about the Watarrka Foundation through Remote Tours (a NT based tour guide company led by Watarrka Foundation Founder, Reg Ramsden). Since then, the Flynn Learning Team as well as the O’Donoghue Learning Team have both adopted the Watarrka Foundation as their team...

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Support from Ascham School, Sydney

24 September 2019

In recent years, the Watarrka Foundation has had the privilege of gaining support from a range of schools, students, and parents located in Sydney’s Eastern Suburbs. One of our school supporters in Sydney is Ascham School located in Edgecliff, NSW. Every two years, students and teachers from Ascham School visit the Watarrka community as part of a school tour to meet the locals and provide any support they can. "Education is important and a right for all children. The Watarrka Foundation does wonderful work in supporting indigenous students, and we...

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Watarrka Community Fresh Foods Project

28 August 2019

In 2014, the Watarrka Foundation engaged the skills and expertise of Slow Food Hunter Valley to assist in bringing the Watarrka school vegetable garden back to life. Five years on, the veggie garden and fruit orchard have been fully set up and are thriving. Without the assistance and organisation of Slow Food Hunter Valley (SFHV) , this project would not have been successful. A huge thank you to the SFHV team, in particular Andrew Dempster who completed many visits to the Watarrka Primary School over the past few years to...

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2019 Sports & Storytelling Festival Comes To A Close

12 August 2019

That’s a wrap! The annual Sports & Storytelling Festival 2019 has come to a close this week as our volunteers and sponsoring organisations return home, and the Watarrka community is left with great memories and a new passion for education. The festival ran from Wednesday 31st of July to Friday 2nd of August and included sports, drama, dancing, music, cooking and night time activities. This marks the 9th annual festival and has become a milestone for children within the region who look forward to the event all year. This year,...

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Meet Our Chairman - Paul Jensen

17 July 2019

In 2014, Paul Jensen was attending a play called Black Diggers at the Opera House. The play was based on stories from Indigenous Australians who fought in World War I. During the play, Paul ran into an old friend Campbell Hudson – one of the Founding Directors of the Watarrka Foundation. A conversation was sparked about their common interest in the Australian Indigenous community, and Paul was invited to become a part of the Watarrka Foundation.  In the 5 years that followed, Paul has played an integral part within the...

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NAIDOC week 2019!

8 July 2019

This week is NAIDOC week! NAIDOC week runs from the 7th to the 14th of July and celebrates the culture, achievements and history of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities and peoples within Australia. The history of NAIDOC week NAIDOC has been an initiative in the works from as early as the 1920’s, where Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander groups were protesting against the 26th of January being recognised as Australia Day. Over the decades, groups and committees were formed and the Sunday prior to Australia Day became a...

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The Aboriginal Dreamtime

20 June 2019

Aboriginal tribes have been residing in Australia for more than 40,000 years. And with this long history, comes a long line of storytelling and spirituality that has been passed down from generation to generation, and is commonly known as the dreamtime. To Aboriginal Australians, the dreamtime provides an explanation on how the land, people and animals were created by their ancestors in the beginning of time. It also provides a spiritual connection to the land, and a wealth of stories that relay the morals and beliefs linked to Aboriginal culture....

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Make a Tax Deductible Donation Before EOFY!

17 June 2019

Help us raise much needed funding for our projects within the Watarrka community before the end of financial year! All donations over $2 are tax deductible, and the Watarrka Foundation will provide you with full tax receipt. Thank you to all of our generous donors for their ongoing support. Thanks to you we’ve been able to launch projects that have improved education, health care and overall quality of life for the Aboriginal community within the Watarrka region. We’re asking for any final donations before the end of financial year to...

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National Reconciliation Week

27 May 2019

This week is National Reconciliation Week! National Reconciliation week occurs every year from the 27th of May through to the 3rd of June. These dates represent two milestones in Australian Aboriginal history; the successful referendum of 1967 and the High Court Mabo decision. The tradition began in 1993, when a week of prayer for reconciliation occurred from the 27th of May to the 3rd of June, and was supported by major faith communities within Australia. By 1996, National Reconciliation Week was formally launched by the Council for Aboriginal Reconciliation. Reconciliation...

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Growing Fresh Produce To Support The Local Community

13 May 2019

The Watarrka Primary School fruit and veggie project has been a driving force in increasing awareness within the community on how to grow, maintain and cook healthy foods. The project is led by Christine Munro, teacher at the Watarrka Primary School, who began work on the veggie garden almost 5 years ago. How the project began The school previously had a greenhouse structure which was in disrepair and needed some serious work to be functional and fruitful. Christine, along with the help of the students began by clearing out this...

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2019 Is The Year Of Indigenous Languages

23 April 2019

The United Nations have declared 2019 the “International Year of Indigenous Languages”. This came after a shocking finding in 2016, that around 40 per cent of the worlds languages are in danger of disappearing. At this time, there were an estimated 6,700 languages spoken globally, and around 2,680 of these languages, which are mainly Indigenous, are no longer commonly used, and may be forgotten with the passing of elder generations. Indigenous languages across the globe play a hugely important role in tradition, and identity for many individuals. By losing Indigenous...

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The Tradition Of Aboriginal Dance

9 April 2019

Traditional and ceremonial Aboriginal Dance has been a part of the Aboriginal culture for thousands of years. Dances played an important role in the spirituality of Indigenous Australian tribes, and each group had different customs when it came to performing and orchestrating these dances. Storytelling through dance One of the major purposes of traditional Aboriginal dancing was to tell stories, which were passed down through generations. These stories would be about the land, animals, dreamtime, and Aboriginal people. It is quite common for Aboriginal dance to incorporate imitations of certain...

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Join Us In Supporting National Close The Gap Day!

21 March 2019

National Close The Gap Day, or NCTGD was started in 2007, launched by Olympic Sprinter Cathy Freeman and Olympic Swimmer Ian Thorpe. The day is an important reminder of the gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous life expectancy and health standards within Australia. Now in it’s 12th year, NCTGD aims to raise awareness and close the gap on Australian Indigenous health statistics. Why is it important: The average life expectancy of Indigenous Australians is between 10-17 years less than non-Indigenous Australians. NCTGD is an important reminder of this shocking statistic, and...

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The Second Classroom Is Now Open!

15 March 2019

We’re proud to announce that as of the 9th of March 2019, the second school classroom at Watarrka Primary School has officially been opened! A group of our Foundation Directors, major donors, builders, school staff and the Watarrka community were present for the opening ceremony held at the school.  Opening of the new Classroom: The opening ceremony consisted of a walk through of the classroom itself, which has been recently completed and is ready for the students to use. The new classroom block contains a large modern kitchen, a big...

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Opening of the second classroom at Watarrka Primary School

5 March 2019

We’re very excited to announce that after months of fundraising and organisation, we will be celebrating the opening of the secondary classroom at the Watarrka Primary School on the 9th of March. This classroom will provide a vital opportunity for the local children to continue their schooling on country, living with their families up until year 10.  Paul Jensen, Chairman of the Watarrka Foundation stated: "The right to access an education in your home environment is an accepted basic human right, and we are proud to have contributed towards providing...

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A History of Aboriginal Art

13 February 2019

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Welcome to our newest board member - Josie Gardiner!

28 January 2019

We’re very excited to welcome our newest Watarrka Foundation Board Member, Josie Gardiner to the team. Josie has a wide range of skills and experience that she will be bringing to the team, and will be a driving force in implementing our planned projects for 2019. A bit about Josie: Josie grew up in Sydney Australia, but has spent considerable time living abroad while studying and working, as well as volunteering with overseas NGO’s which focus on improving the lives of children within their countries.  Josie is a solicitor, based...

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Traditional Aboriginal Foods

14 January 2019

For thousands of years, Aboriginal Australians have been surviving on “bush tucker” and foods provided by the outback. Aboriginals were hunters and gatherers, hunting wildlife to provide meat and gathering fruits, seeds and insects for their daily meals. Each season, weather conditions and geographic location would impact the types of food available, making their diet varied and well balanced. In central Australia where the Watarrka region is located, water was scarce, so to survive the Aboriginal tribes would find water in tree hollows and roots, soakages and permanent water holes...

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2018 Wrap Up!

18 December 2018

2018 has been a big year at the Watarrka Foundation, with many projects successfully completed and notable improvements throughout the Watarrka Community. We’d like to take this time to say a huge thank you to all of our donors and volunteers for their support throughout the year. Without your contribution, these projects would not have been possible. Projects completed in 2018 One of our major initiatives in 2018 was starting construction on the new school classroom at the Watarrka Primary School. After months of planning, fundraising and support from our...

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Sports & Storytelling 2018 Festival Closes

26 November 2018

Another year has passed with another successful Sports & Storytelling festival coming to a close. The annual festival brings together children from three remote areas (Lila, Areyonga and Finke) to play sports and engage in poetry and storytelling activities, encouraging excitement around education and attending school. Sports & Storytelling Festival 2018 In 2018 there were 30 Aboriginal children in attendance at the festival, with volunteers from Dentons, Westpac Bank, Maxima Recruiting, Avant Mutual, AFLNT, Poetry In Action, Geelong College Melbourne and Mentone Grammar Melbourne. The festival ran for 3 days,...

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Encouraging Healthy Lifestyles Through Sports & Nutrition

23 November 2018

One of the most important aspects of the Watarrka Foundation’s work within remote NT communities is to encourage and improve the overall health of the community. Since the Foundation’s involvement in the Watarrka and Lilla region, we have implemented a range of projects that aim to improve attitudes towards a healthy and happy lifestyle.  Improving health through sport In 2017, the Watarrka Foundation organised and assembled 20 FAT bikes that were sent via shipping container to the children of Watarrka Primary School. These bikes are now used as an incentive...

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Watarrka Region - History and Landmarks

23 October 2018

Aboriginal Australians have been living in the Watarrka region for over 20,000 years, enjoying it’s beautiful landscapes, animals and plants. The Traditional Owners of the land are the Luritja and Multitjarra people, who contributed to the large number of Aboriginal art sites positioned within the Watarrka National Park. Watarrka National Park The Watarrka National Park consists of over 1,000 kilometres squared of natural Australian bushland and canyons. The park contains over 750 different species of plants, with at least 60 of these species being rare and unique to the region....

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Founder Profile: Reg Ramsden

17 October 2018

Richard “Reg” Ramsden is the Founder and Director of the Watarrka Foundation. Reg started the Foundation in 2011 after experiencing first-hand the challenges faced by remote Aboriginal communities in the Northern Territory. Reg has lived and worked in central Australia for the past 30 years, and has always put a high importance on giving back to the local community and Traditional Owners in any way he could.  A bit about Reg  Reg grew up in Sydney and attended St Andrews Cathedral School in the city’s CBD. After graduating, Reg spent...

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Advisory Board Member - Manny Bell

25 September 2018

Manny Bell is an Advisory Board Member of the Watarrka Foundation, and a proud descendant of the Wakka Wakka people from Queensland. Manny has worked hard throughout his life to put education at the forefront of everything he does, which has led him to corporate success, becoming a Solicitor at the prestigious Dentons law firm in Sydney. Manny offers a unique and valuable perspective to the Watarrka Foundation board, by drawing from experiences gained growing up as an Aboriginal man. When visiting the Watarrka community Manny uses his experiences to...

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Construction has begun on the new classroom!

13 September 2018

  The Watarrka Foundation is proud to announce that construction on the new school classroom has begun! After months of fundraising drives and hard work from our internal team, as well as the fantastic support from all of our donors, we have been able to move ahead with the construction of the new classroom at the Watarrka Primary School in Lilla.    A bit about the classroom   Building this new classroom provides a much needed facility which will allow the local children in the Watarrka region to stay at...

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Sports and Storytelling Festival 2018

27 August 2018

  The Watarrka Foundation is proud to be a part of the upcoming annual Sports and Storytelling Festival. Running from the 29th to the 31st of August, the festival is expected to be the biggest to date involving approximately 40 children from remote communities as well their teachers, community elders and volunteers from various sponsoring organisations.   The main organisations powering this year’s event are Dentons, Westpac, Poetry in Action, The Watarrka Foundation, Remote Tours and NT AFL.   What’s on the Agenda?   The Sports and Storytelling Festival will...

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10x10 Charity Event

18 August 2018

  The Watarrka Foundation is excited to be a part of the upcoming 10x10 charity fundraising event on the 23rd of August, 2018. The event will be held at Dentons Sydney office in the CBD, Jess Miller will be the MC or “Dragon” for the night, and tickets are available to be purchased at    So, how does it all work?   Each 10x10 event is organised by 10 volunteer committee members who work together to find a venue and sponsoring corporation to host the night. Each committee member...

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