Indigenous culture and knowledge at Murdoch during 2022

Kulbardi students and alumni posing for a selfie

Representation, recognition and reconciliation have been key to Murdoch’s initiatives throughout 2022 and will continue to be in the future.

Incorporating Indigenous culture and knowledge into everything we do has become a major focus and our researchers, staff and students have taken action to show the importance of everyone’s role in reconciliation.  

From research into motherhood and prenatal care, to representation of Indigenous culture, to NAIDOC activities, our Murdoch community has pulled Indigenous culture and knowledge to the forefront as part of our continuous journey to provide a place of learning and belonging for all. We know there is more to be done, but as the end of the year approaches, we want to highlight the remarkable work and dedication of our researchers, staff and students during 2022. 

Motherhood and prenatal care 


The Ngangk Yira Institute for Change has achieved several significant achievements and continues to pave the way for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander mothers, fathers and professionals towards a more inclusive cultural birthing and parenting experience. 

The major achievements from Ngangk Yira for 2022 include: 

  • Ngangk Yira officially launched from a centre to its own institute at Murdoch University. The aim of the institute is to raise awareness of the health gap that exists between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and the rest of the Australian population. 

  • Worked in the WHO Guideline Development Group to develop new recommendations for care of preterm or low-birth-weight infants, which demonstrate the need to recalibrate Australia’s maternal healthcare system. 

  • Researchers at Ngangk Yira have run pilot testing of the Baby Coming You Ready? program across several clinics in Perth and plan to roll out the program across the state in 2023. 

Representation of Australian Indigenous culture 

We all know that representation matters, because you can’t be what you can’t see. Staff and students across Murdoch University have been implementing projects that increase representation of Indigenous culture and encourage conversation.

Murdoch alumna Sasha Ihms, winning Kulbardi team at UniSports States competition, Dr Rebecca Bennett and Dr Bep Uink

The team at the Kulbardi Aboriginal Centre have been champions in this space for many years and have been inspiring other groups around the University to become allies and advocates for change. 

There have been many achievements but here are just a select few from this year alone: 

  • Kulbardi celebrated over 500 graduates since its creation in 1988.  

  • For the first time in UniSport games history, 12 Murdoch Kulbardi students won the Indigenous Games state shield. 

  • Two Indigenous researchers from Murdoch University took home prizes from the Western Australian Institute of Education Research Awards

  • Powerful film depictions of Western Australia’s First Nations history premiered in June and profile on director and producer Dr Glen Stasiuk was shared during NAIDOC week. 

  • Two Murdoch researchers are leading the way in testing a North American model to determine if racism prevention is transferable to Australian Aboriginal youth. 

  • Murdoch University welcomed 24 young Aboriginal people from across Western Australia to campus to explore opportunities in business and commerce at the National Indigenous Business Summer School WA

  • Kulbardi organised the end of year Birak Festival as a way to wind down as the summer months approach. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander market stalls, performances, free activities and food options awaited attendees on Bush Court and Kulbardi encouraged everyone to #BuyBLAK for Christmas! 

  • Kulbardi have held Deadly Dreaming workshops with year seven to 12's throughout the year, supporting our youth all the way to high school graduation.

  • Murdoch students have created an online student study hub for psychology students on the Learning Management System (LMS) with the aim to encourage effective study techniques, people to study with, resources to support study and well-being services, all in the one hub conceptualised as Moorditj Boya Student Community. The team of students utilised the Nyungar (Noongar) Trilogy Theory and began with an Indigenous perspective.  Now, every Murdoch psychology student has Moorditj Boya on their dashboard as a student community, with future opportunities to implement the online resource across multiple disciplines. 

NAIDOC and National Reconciliation Week activities

NAIDOC and National Reconciliation Week (NRW) are important times of year, not just for Murdoch University but Australia as a whole. Murdoch University stakeholders who were involved in the project lined up for a photo in front of the mural with Jarni McGuire.

During NRW, we were reminded to continue making change in every aspect of our work to recognise, support and become a stronger ally to our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander colleagues, students and wider community. While NAIDOC is a time of reflection and celebration of the incredible work of our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander staff and students. 

This year we’ve made it part of our mission to keep educating about the history of Australia and encourage our Murdoch community to make their own steps towards positive change.

During 2022, we had several highlights including:

  • Collaboration between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander staff, students and allies across Murdoch University created an opportunity to invite acclaimed Noongar artist Jarni McGuire to paint a large-scale wall mural to represent Murdoch’s rich Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture, heritage and history.   

  • Dr Bep Uink, Murdoch Research Fellow at Kulbardi Aboriginal Centre, was awarded the runner-up prize for the 2022 NAIDOC Theme Award at the Perth ceremony. 

  • Staff across the University made it their mission to complete Aboriginal and Cultural Awareness Training during NAIDOC week to show their commitment to reconciliation. More than 130 certificates were issued during NAIDOC. 

  • Kulbardi held a Family Fun Day during NAIDOC to celebrate Indigenous achievements and have some fun. Olman Walley performed a Welcome to Country and then attendees filled the space, buying products from stallholders, listening to music and playing games. Kids had fun with the variety of activities, including Jenga, darts, and scavenger hunts. 

These remarkable activities and actions taken by take staff and students show the importance of incorporating Indigenous culture and knowledge into everything that we do. Next year we’ll be hitting the headlines with more fantastic research and initiatives! 

Posted on:

15 Dec 2022

Share this article:

Show your support

Clap to show your support for the article